Only Killers And Thieves by Paul Howarth – Review.

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About the Book

One scorching day in Australia deserted outback, Tommy McBride and his brother Billy return home to discover that their parents have been brutally murdered.

Distraught and desperate for revenge, the young men set out in search of the killers. But the year is 1885, and the only man who can help them is the cunning and ruthless John Sullivan wealthy landowner and their father’s former employer.

Rallying a posse of men, Sullivan defers to the deadly Inspector Noone and his Queensland Native Police an infamous arm of colonial power whose sole purpose is the dispersal of Indigenous Australians in protection of settler rights. The retribution that follows will leave a lasting scar on the colony and the country it later becomes. It will also haunt Tommy for the rest of his life.

Set against Australia s stunningly harsh landscapes, Only Killers and Thieves is a compelling, devastating novel about cruelty and survival, injustice and honour and about two brothers united in grief, then forever torn apart.

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received.I read a lot of historical fiction but this is the first that I have read that is set in Australia and also the one with the biggest impact. It is set in Queensland in 1885 at a troubling time with the white settlers determined to remove the Indigenous Australians from the land that they want for their own. I had heard of the horrific events that had happened but I had never heard of the role that the Native Police played.
It is a fascinating book to read, often upsetting, often sickening but it’s also humbling and shows the different ways of coping with grief. Both Tommy and Billy cope in different ways,Billy is determined to be just like the men they are with, and he wants to prove himself and Tommy is determined not to be.
There is some violence, you couldn’t really expect anything else with a book like this, but it’s almost like being in the background. It does happen, sometimes with graphic descriptions, but most of the novel focuses on the increasing differences between the two brothers and the volatile situation in the group. There are more horrible people than nice ones, some could show compassion and understanding but then they would show their true colours in other ways. The second part of the novel which is only short shows that attitudes don’t really change but there was a chance to make amends.
It is an important piece of fiction, brilliantly written with plenty of compassion and understanding. Highly recommended and I’m sure it will be one of my top books for 2018.

Resurrection Bay by Emma Viskic – Review.

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About the Book

CALEB ZELIC IS ON THE HUNT FOR HIS FRIEND’S KILLER

His childhood friend has been brutally murdered – fingers broken, throat slit – at his home in Melbourne. Tortured by guilt, Caleb vows to track down the killer. But he’s profoundly deaf; missed words and misread lips can lead to confusion, and trouble.

HE NEVER FORGETS A FACE

Fortunately, Caleb knows how to read people; a sideways glance, an unconvincing smile, speaks volumes. When his friend Frankie, a former cop, offers to help, they soon discover the killer is on their tail

IT MIGHT JUST SAVE HIS LIFE

Sensing that his ex-wife may also be in danger, Caleb insists they return to their hometown of Resurrection Bay. But here he learns that everyone – including his murdered friend – is hiding something. And the deeper he digs, the darker the secrets…

My Review

One of the reasons I love Australia is because the people are so refreshing, open and honest. And their fiction is exactly the same. Resurrection Bay had been on my kindle about eighteen months when I became aware that it was due to be released in paperback, ready for book two following in hardback. After reading this book, that release can’t come quickly enough.
It takes place in Melbourne, somewhere I am familiar with so I enjoyed revisiting areas I knew and learning about the communities that I hadn’t seen. But whether you know them or not it doesn’t matter, this book is mainly about people and the way they are with each other.
As I said at the beginning of my review, Australian fiction is refreshing. One of the reasons why is because it so frank, where people say what they want to without causing any offence. Where people accept that nobody is perfect.
The main characters are Caleb and Frankie. Caleb has been deaf since he was a child after suffering from meningitis. I felt his frustration at missing fragments of conversation and how easy it was to misunderstand somebody. Especially if they weren’t looking at him whilst they were speaking. And the way he didn’t help himself by explaining to a stranger why he struggled. He is loyal, devastated over a friend’s death and determined to find out why he died .Frankie is an ex detective. She struggles with alcoholism like many in other books but because of her age, her wackiness, and her determination it all feels new. But there are more characters than Caleb and Frankie who stand out. Even those who only say a few words are so well drawn you can almost be stood next to them. They feel that real. I don’t think I’ve ever read a book where that has happened.

For much of the novel I felt tense, hoping that everybody would be ok and with a hope that there would be a reconciliation but the ending was one that shocked and upset me. I had no inkling that the storyline would go the way that it did. I really need to know what happens next.