|The Dry by Jane Harper
I enjoy a good thriller but don’t read them very often. This is a fantastic thriller by a debut Australian author. Famous thriller authors highly recommend it. I really liked it.
Federal police investigator Aaron Falk returns to his hometown twenty years after he left in a hurry. He’s come to attend the funeral of his childhood friend Luke who it is believed killed his wife and child before himself.
It’s hot, there has been a drought for two years. Farmers are suffering, everyone is on a short fuse.
Just before Aaron left 20 years ago a friend was found drowned, the circumstances have never been resolved. Some people suspect Aaron had a hand in her death, especially her Uncle and cousin.
Luke’s parents and the local cop are looking for answers. They ask Aaron for help in investigating Luke’s family’s deaths.
Twists and turn all the way through. Great edge of your seat ending.
|Shtum by Jem Lester
shtum.: /ʃtʊm/. adjective. Silent; non-communicative.
Ben and Emma’s son Jonah is severely autistic and silent. Life evolves around Johan’s care which is constant and messy and hard. The family is at breaking point. The local Council won’t fund the residential care that Johan desperately needs.
In the hope of swinging the odds in an appeal of Council’s decision, Ben and Johan move in with Ben’s elderly Dad. Single parents get better support, especially if you aren’t coping.
Ben’s Dad is great with Johan while Ben is falling apart. Emma isn’t faring much better.
The Lie Tree by Francis Hardinge
The family arrive off the boat on a stormy night to an isolated island community. Father is a noted scientist trying to outrun something that happened before they left home. Her mother is trying to keep up appearances and her little brother needs attention.
She suspects that her father is up to something so does some spying. He seems unbalanced and she is worried. She is smart in a world that doesn’t admire smart girls.
Tragic events unfold but Faith is smart and she stays strong. The social commentary is telling as the women of the family try to salvage a life for themselves.
Waiting for Doggo by Mark Mills
Dan’s live in girlfriend Clara abruptly leaves him without a trace after four years. She leaves her dog, named Doggo, that she rescued from the shelter. Dan is pretty distressed. Doggo is an extremely ugly dog. Dan tries to return the dog the shelter but changes his mind and takes him back home.
Dan is between jobs but his reputation is good and he gets a great offer. He will only accept if he is allowed to bring Doggo to work with him. The boss makes the unpopular decision to allow this as long as Doggo behaves.
Dan is happy in his new job. Doggo seems happy too.
This is a light, funny read with dastardly co-workers, a dog that seems smarter than he looks and enough of a story to satisfy.
This House Is Haunted by John Boyne
Set in 1860’s England. After her fathers death Eliza is left alone in London. She sees and advertisement for a governess position in a large estate in the country and applies. She receives a prompt offer of the position without knowing how many children or what ages. Despite some misgivings she decides she needs a change and accepts.
She arrives at the gothic mansion in the evening and is met by two unusual children Isabella (12) and Eustace (7) but no adults. Over time she discovers why the children’s parents aren’t around.
The locals she meets become circumspect when they find out where she is living. She comes to believe the house is haunted and her life may be in danger. With little help from the locals she is isolated in the home.
This well developed mystery kept me guessing. John Boyne, author of favorites of mine The Boy in Stripped Pyjamas and The House of Special Purpose, has weaved a story of suspense with interesting historical and social commentary of the time.
Flora and Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures by Kate DiCamillo
Absolutely great kid literature. Funny, adventurous and a bit farcical. For independent boys or girls age 8+ or a terrific read aloud.
I listened to the audio version, would be fun for a family car trip.
The Dressmaker by Rosalie Ham
I loved this dark comedy. I don’t know how I missed it for so long.
Tilly returns to her small Australian home town 20 years after she was banished. A town full of characters, many with dark ulterior motives, full of jealousy, secrets and lies.
The town isn’t ready to accept Tilly back and her mother has become a recluse in a run down, unkept house. While Tilly was away she became a seamstress and although the residents resent Tilly’s return they can’t resist her custom made dresses.
Tilly is romanced by the town’s football hero. Circumstances change and once again she is shunned, but Tilly has plans of her own.
Great character development gives life to the unusual residents, not many who you will sympathise with. Superior ending will leave you satisfied.
I just watched the movie. If I hadn’t read the book I would have liked it more. Too many people, bits and scenes got left out to fit it on the big screen.