Anne Bonny #BookReview Only Killers And Thieves by @paulhowarth_ 4* #NewRelease #Western #Australia #HistoricalFiction #HistFic @PushkinPress

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Only Killers And Thieves by Paul Howarth
Review Copy

Synopsis ~

A story of two brothers on a trail of revenge

Queensland, 1885. It is a scorching day in Australia’s deserted outback when Tommy McBride and his brother, Billy, return home to discover a devastating tragedy.

Distraught and eager for revenge, the young men set out in search of the perpetrators. They are soon forced to seek help from their ruthless neighbour John Sullivan, and the Queensland Native Police an armed militia infamous for hunting down Indigenous Australians. The retribution that follows will embroil the brothers in a heart-breaking injustice, uniting them in a battle for survival, and forever tearing them apart.

My Review ~

Only Killers And Thieves is set in 1885 Queensland, Australia. I will confess that I don’t read many westerns despite being a big fan of historical fiction. So, I most definitely found this title to be very unique in its themes and characters.
I never thought I’d enjoy a western!

The title opens with the McBride brother’s Tommy (14yrs) and Billy (16yrs) hunting in a drought. The boys trespass on John Sullivan’s land leading to a dressing down from the native mounted police, Inspector Edmund Noone. Where they also witness two mutilated and burned bodies Noone has hung from a tree. The two victims are black men and this causes tension when the boys relay the story to their father…

‘Using black to hunt other blacks. It’s disgraceful’

We become aware of the racial tensions that exist in the historical era. The brother’s entitlement to their land, despite being of Scottish/English/Irish descent.
Their father is disgusted at the crimes, which causes Joseph to leave his employment and seek to move on. However, he fears a war developing with John Sullivan. So, he is willing to over look the murders to keep the peace.
That is until he receives a note from Sullivan…

‘I’m waiting Ned’

The McBride brothers return one day, to find their father dead. Their mother assaulted and killed and their sister barely killing to life. The brothers instantly blame Joseph, who recently left their employment, as they rush to pin the blame on someone. The brother’s seek help from John Sullivan, with Billy embellishing their story stating he saw Joseph present at the scene. But can the boys trust John Sullivan?
Why are they so quick to turn their backs on Joseph?

‘Being a wage slave ain’t much better than being a black fella’

The racial prejudices of John Sullivan and the era in general may shock the reader. But they are historically accurate for the colonial history. Sometimes I think the harsh reality of this era, has almost been completely whitewashed from history.

With Billy swept up in the horrors of violent racism. Has he sold his soul to the devil?
The brother’s pick different sides, will this be their downfall?

Prejudice, anger, violence and revenge. 4*

PH
Paul Howarth
Website
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Anne Bonny #BookReview Into The River by @mb_randi 4* #PsychologicalThriller #LiteraryFiction #Noir #Mystery #Australia @Legend_Press

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Into The River by Mark Brandi
Review Copy

Synopsis ~

WINNER OF THE CRIME WRITERS’ ASSOCIATION DEBUT DAGGER
WINNER OF THE 2018 INDIE DEBUT FICTION AWARD
SHORTLISTED FOR LITERARY FICTION BOOK OF THE YEAR, ABIA AWARDS 2018
SHORTLISTED FOR THE MATT RICHELL AWARD FOR NEW WRITER OF THE YEAR, ABIA AWARDS 2018
SHORTLISTED FOR THE NED KELLY AWARD FOR BEST FIRST FICTION 2018

Growing up in a small country town, Ben and Fab spend their days playing cricket, wanting a pair of Nike Air Maxes and not talking about how Fab’s dad hits him, or how the sudden death of Ben’s next-door neighbour unsettled him. Almost teenagers, they already know some things are better left unsaid.

Then a newcomer arrived. Fab reckoned he was a secret agent and he and Ben staked him out. He looked strong. Maybe even stronger than Fab’s dad. Neither realised the shadow this man would cast over both their lives.

Twenty years later, Fab is going nowhere but hoping for somewhere better. Then a body is found in the river, and Fab can’t ignore the past any more.

My Review ~

Into The water tells the story of childhood friends Ben and Fab. It is a small town story, featuring small town characters but it packs one hell of a punch to the feels.

The novel jumps between the past and the present as Fab tries to come to terms with his story as he relays it to his friend Lucy.
‘He knew he couldn’t tell her everything though. There were some things that were without a doubt, better left unsaid’

Ben’s neighbour Daisy (14yrs) commits suicide via hanging in her backyard. Her family quickly move away and in moves Ronnie to the neighbourhood. Ben is intrigued by Daisy’s suicide and what drove her to take her own life. He is also suspicious of his new neighbour Ronnie.

The novel’s location is rural Australia and depicts a 1980s childhood. As the readers you witness the boy’s exposure to racial harassment and domestic abuse. Which only tightens their bond. Then Ronnie begins to confide in Ben about what really happened to Daisy. A story that will become all too relevant to Ben soon.

‘It wasn’t until years later that he would realise that the cold, twisting feeling in his guts that day was something like grief’

This is a victim centred crime drama. My heart really went out to Ben and Fab, their childhood choices and futures. 4*

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Mark Brandi
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