Review: Ripper by Shelley Burr

This outstanding sophomore novel from Shelley Burr proves the Wake author is no one-hit wonder. Ripper reads like a storytelling fusion of Jane Harper and Candice Fox — Harper's rich characterizations; Fox's scorching narrative momentum. Burr effortlessly conjures the personalities of a small town haunted by its tragic past. Seventeen years ago the Rainier Ripper's … Continue reading Review: Ripper by Shelley Burr

Review: The Rush by Michelle Prak

The Rush is a first-rate outback thriller, and its excellence is all down to Michelle Prak's meticulous storytelling choreography.  Books of this type require rapid assemblage. You've got to set up all the pieces quickly but organically. And when the shit hits the fan—which is what we paid the price of admission for—characters can't feel like they're being controlled by invisible manipulation. Nothing … Continue reading Review: The Rush by Michelle Prak

Review: Drowning by T.J. Newman

You've barely turned the first page of T.J. Newman's Drowning before it kicks into high gear — and then it remains relentless. Forget the tried-and-tested routine of steadily building tension: Drowning is all suspense, all the time. Like the best disaster movies, the plot here is simple: Flight 1421 has crashed into the Pacific Ocean a mere six minutes after take … Continue reading Review: Drowning by T.J. Newman

Review: Zero Days by Ruth Ware

This is a surprisingly conventional thriller from Ruth Ware. Her slick storytelling sensibilities are on full display, but I missed the careful construction and precision of her mysteries. This one reads just a little too familiarly for it to stand out.  In Zero Days we're introduced to husband and wife team Jacintha Cross and Gabe Medway. They manage Crossways Security, … Continue reading Review: Zero Days by Ruth Ware

Review: Crushing by Genevieve Novak

This is not a story about a woman falling in love, but about a woman ultimately learning to love herself. It still operates within the broad confines of a romantic comedy, and is replete with witty and epigrammatic dialogue and narration — but like the best contemporary purveyors of the genre, Genevieve Novak subverts the archaic hollywoodization of stories … Continue reading Review: Crushing by Genevieve Novak

Review: Southern Aurora by Mark Brandi

I love Mark Brandi's fiction. Southern Aurora is no exception. Brandi is the master of narrative constraint. He writes stories that flow like water, always superbly considered and controlled. His latest consists of small unostentatious scenes that combine to form something major. Its subtlety accents the tragedy, suffuses the whole thing in an ominous foreboding, and only … Continue reading Review: Southern Aurora by Mark Brandi

Review: The Prometheus Deception by Robert Ludlum

I was 13-years-old when I first read Robert Ludlum's The Prometheus Deception, and I distinctly remember lugging its 500-page bulk from class-to-class for a week. I loved it. The book rockets from one action scene to the next with reckless abandon, and the plot is absolutely blockbuster. Twenty-three years have passed, and when I was … Continue reading Review: The Prometheus Deception by Robert Ludlum

Review: Romantic Comedy by Curtis Sittenfeld

As I joyfully imbibed Romantic Comedy, I kept waiting for the penny to drop: for some subversive element to creep into the narrative and twist everything—or at least something—on its head. But actually, Curtis Sittenfeld’s latest is unabashedly what its title claims it to be: a light-hearted romantic comedy about a late-night comedy writer and … Continue reading Review: Romantic Comedy by Curtis Sittenfeld

Review: Killer Traitor Spy by Tim Ayliffe

Tim Ayliffe goes full throttle in Killer Traitor Spy, which sees journalist John Bailey and CIA officer Ronnie Johnson facing up against a deadly cabal, and a conspiracy with global implications. It begins with the attempted murder of a Russian millionaire in Sydney, then bolts from scene to scene, catapulting between the perspectives of Bailey and Johnson, … Continue reading Review: Killer Traitor Spy by Tim Ayliffe