Emily Maguire’s An Isolated Incident is about victims. It ignores the archetypal murder mystery template and focuses on the impact of the crime rather than its investigation. It is nuanced, respectful and impactful as it shines a necessary spotlight on male violence against women. That said, it is far more than a fictionalised dissertation on the endemic violence plaguing society; it’s a gripping, compelling narrative brimming with true-to-life characters.
When Bella Michaels is murdered in the small Australian town of Strathdee, her older sister Chris is thrust into the centre of a media storm as she struggles to cope with impossible cruelty and meaningless of the crime. Desperate for answers, for some kind of explanation, Chris’s own life comes under scrutiny by journalists desperate for fresh angles on the story – and while she’s never been ashamed by some of the choices she’s made, certain revelations are painted in a harsh light. As time goes on, the media’s reporting becomes less about determining the perpetrator and more about using Bella’s murder as a soapbox for various, until eventually, enough time passes when the public interest fades, and Chris is left to stew in her own pot of anger, grief and suspicion.
Elegantly crafted, thought-provoking and impactful, An Isolated Incident brilliantly intertwines the traditional intrigue of the whodunit with searing insight into a crime’s impact on a personal level, and a societal one. This is why we read fiction.
Format: Paperback (233mm x 154mm x mm)
Imprint: Picador Australia
Publisher: Pan Macmillan Australia
Publish Date: 22-Mar-2016
Country of Publication: Australia