#MiniReview #Sirens #JosephKnox

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Sirens by Joseph Knox
Synopsis:

It starts with the girl. How it ends is up to DC Aidan Waits.

Isabelle Rossiter has run away again.

When Aidan Waits, a troubled junior detective, is summoned to her father’s penthouse home – he finds a manipulative man, with powerful friends.

But retracing Isabelle’s steps through a dark, nocturnal world, Waits finds something else. An intelligent seventeen-year-old girl who’s scared to death of something. As he investigates her story, and the unsolved disappearance of a young woman just like her, he realizes Isabelle was right to run away.

Soon Waits is cut loose by his superiors, stalked by an unseen killer and dangerously attracted to the wrong woman. He’s out of his depth and out of time.

How can he save the girl, when he can’t even save himself?

My review:

Isabelle Rossiter has run away again!

The novel opens with the complex case of a missing teenager and the detective trying to hold himself together to effectively investigate.

Detective Constable Aidan Waits is summoned to Beetham Tower. An era the boasts the Hilton hotel and some prestigious penthouse suites. The Tower block reminds him of a previous case where an ‘underage sex worker’ from the Czech Republic fell to her death. After being sold into sex trafficking my her father at just 14 years old and having experienced a life of sexual degradation, it was ruled a suicide. Wait’s however, never believed this to be so. This sets the pace and intensity for the novel straight from the go. There is a wealth of unsavoury characters, especially those whom prey upon the vulnerability in others.

Wait’s is met by Detective Sargent Conway and Detective Kernick.
Kernick taking an instant dislike to Wait’s presence at the penthouse. I gathered there was more to this back story and was dying to discover what secrets lurk in Wait’s past.

The penthouse belongs to David Rossiter Tory MP and Secretary of state. Also a barrister by trade, he is concerned about the month long disappearance of his 17 years old daughter Isabelle but wary of bad press. He calls on Waits to ‘off the books’ and discreetly look into Zain Carver a local drug dealer. Who is a known acquaintance of Isabelle’s recently.

There is a wealth of criminal characters and the drug underworld is fully explained. I found this truly eye-opening and I read hundreds of novels every year! There is also a reflection back to a cold case, the Greenlaw appeal is due any moment. An appeal of information into the disappearance of Joanna Greenlaw, who vanished and has never been seen again. Are the two cases related? If so how? Leading to a classic quote from Wait’s “I don’t make assumptions, I only know what I see”

This is an edgy novel that fully explores the effects of urban decay, power and corruption in city life!
3.5*

#Review #TheDry #JaneHarper

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The Dry by Jane Harper

Synopsis:

WHO REALLY KILLED THE HADLER FAMILY?

I just can’t understand how someone like him could do something like that.

Amid the worst drought to ravage Australia in a century, it hasn’t rained in small country town Kiewarra for two years. Tensions in the community become unbearable when three members of the Hadler family are brutally murdered. Everyone thinks Luke Hadler, who committed suicide after slaughtering his wife and six-year-old son, is guilty.

Policeman Aaron Falk returns to the town of his youth for the funeral of his childhood best friend, and is unwillingly drawn into the investigation. As questions mount and suspicion spreads through the town, Falk is forced to confront the community that rejected him twenty years earlier. Because Falk and Luke Hadler shared a secret, one which Luke’s death threatens to unearth. And as Falk probes deeper into the killings, secrets from his past and why he left home bubble to the surface as he questions the truth of his friend’s crime.

My review:

A debut novel that promises secrets, childhood memories and murder! What’s not to like? Set during a severe drought, in the outback Australia this novel has at atmospheric feel to it. There are running parallels between city life and country existence.

The protagonist Aaron Falk is summoned to his small hometown of Kiewarra by his childhood best friend’s father via way of a note stating
“Luke lied, you lide, be at the funeral”.
Falk’s childhood best friends Luke Hadler is the main suspect in his family annihilation case, leaving dead his young wife Karen and son Billy. But is the case what it seems? Did Luke really kill his family and turn the shotgun on himself?

There is a wealth of characters from the past and the present, that fully add to the plot. But this is a small town with not only it’s secrets, but a small town mentality and some would rather no questions were asked. When Falk teams up with Sgt Raco to investigate further ‘off the books’. We begin to understand why some in the town hate Falk so much and his family were run out of town years ago.

There is an elusive character from the past, who’s death caused tense emotions and mistrust in the town. How did Ellie Deacon die and what does Falk have to hide? With no outside forensics found at the sight and the lone survivor the infant daughter Charlotte, this is a complex mystery. We learn of the family members and their various roles in the community. The failing farm and the economics that led to a financial struggle etc. There is confusing suspects and conflicting evidence throughout.

The investigation continues at a rather slow pace and I found this to be not in fitting with the opening of the novel. But the ending did not disappoint, it is moving and emotionally charged. 3.5*