Reviews of Australian Books #50

Colleen Mondor reviews Kittyhawk Down by Garry Disher in the Spring 2007 edition of "Eclectica Magazine" (about half-way down the page). The reviewer calls it a "classic police procedural" which "works very well": "Kittyhawk is a relatively dark tale with more than one murder and even a missing child worked into the breakneck plot. Along the way author Garry Disher reveals much about each of the cops, including who is having a family crisis, who is having a personal financial crisis and who is having questions about his manhood and morality. Pile on all of that Challis and his own romantic issues and you might wonder how Disher holds together so many different characters with so many different problems. Fear not, though -- he's just doing something that very few mystery authors do; he's giving the reader a team approach for the good guys as they face a slew of seemingly unrelated crimes perpetrated by an unknown number of bad guys."

Two Australian sf novels are reviewed by Sue Bursztynski, Prisoner of Quentaris by Anna Ciddor, and Hal Spacejock #3: Just Desserts by Simon Haynes. Both are books in continuing series, with the only difference being that the Quentaris novels are written by a number of different authors. Of Ciddor's novel, Bursztynski says: "The entire series is great fun and the book covers feature gorgeous art by Australia's top cover artists. It introduces children to fantasy without patronising them. Best of all, the books are stand-alone and don't have to be read in any particular order...This is a delightful addition to the series. Children love series fiction and there are, so far, nearly two dozen in this one. They are not only a good introduction to fantasy, but a good introduction to the authors, if the young readers haven't discovered them yet." Hal Spacejock is, as you might expect, a comic sf series in a mildly "Red Dwarf" vein, peopled by space truckers, robots, and human baddies: "The universe of this series features no super-villains in breath-masks, no Dark Lords trying to take over the universe or Imperial Storm Troopers, only multimillionaires trying to become even wealthier and the thugs they employ to help them in their plans to rip off everyone. People are still people and just as likely to be fooled. All Hal wants, in this book, is a cup of coffee and a sweet snack, but it's not to be."

In "The Guardian", Peter Conrad reviews Richard Flanagan's latest, The Unknown Terrorist, and finds that, while it doesn't change the landscape of the novel like the author's Gould's Book of Fish, it "is an exercise in genre fiction - a thriller that, I am glad to say, happens to be genuinely thrilling."

Tom Keneally's The Widow and Her Hero is rated below his best by Ed Lake in "The Telegraph": "Keneally can be a bit of a hack, and his work here bears marks of haste...Even so, the novel comes off. It evokes something of the magnificence of heroism, and more of its awfulness. For that, it deserves a salute."

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on April 11, 2007 8:42 AM.

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