Review: Detention by Tristan Bancks

9780143791799.jpgA thrilling, heartfelt page-turner enriched by probing social commentary, Detention is essential for opening and fuelling dialogue about the asylum seeker and refugee situation in Australia.

It is 5:28am when Detention begins, and young Afghani girl Sima and her family are pressed to the ground, among a sea of fifty other refugees,  behind the wire fence of the Immigration Transit Accommodation Centre in Midgenba. On the other side of the fence, a protestor is cutting through the fence, wire by wire, determined to free the detainees before they’re forced to return to the homelands they escaped from. Tristan Bancks — author of Two Wolves and The Fall (among others) — infuses these passing seconds with incredible heart-pounding tension, as guards patrol nearby, and her father’s final words to her before they began their breakout reverberate in her mind: “No matter what, you run.”

Finally, the fence is pried open, just enough for the human chain to squeeze through, one by one, perilously slowly, methodically and silently. Then disaster. An alarm starts blaring. Panic erupts. Guards howl. Guns are yanked from holsters. It’s absolute chaos. Sima loses her family, runs for the trees, finds herself on the grounds of a school, hiding in a toilet block as the school goes into lockdown, armed Border Force agents determinedly checking every classroom.  Which is when she is discovered by local Midgenba boy Dan, who needs to decide, quickly, whether to help Sima get away, or thrust her back into the hands of the agents hunting her.

Detention tackles big, important issues without lecturing or talking down to reader. In a world filled with toxic ideologies and divisions, Tristan Bancks shows young people have the courage to rise up and demand equality for all; to fight for human rights and ignore the banal politicising. And its breakneck pace means it’s almost impossible to put down.

ISBN: 9780143791799
Format: Paperback / softback
Pages: 288
Imprint: Puffin
Publisher: Penguin Books Australia
Publish Date: 2-Jul-2019
Country of Publication: Australia

The Best Books of 2017 – So Far!

Best Books of 2017 - so Far!

A graphic novel, a brilliant retelling of a Shakespeare play, a standout second novel from the 2015 Miles Franklin winner Sofie Laguna, a couple of mile-a-minute page-turners, and a brilliant debut literary crime novel from a fresh Australian voice; these, and more, are my picks for the books that have already made 2017 a stellar year for reading. And we’re only halfway through it!

Continue reading “The Best Books of 2017 – So Far!”

Review: The Fall by Tristan Bancks

Fall Tristan Bancks.jpgThe Fall is the kind of thriller I would’ve loved as a child and absolutely adored as an adult. It’s a sharp, contemporary crime novel with classic genre elements, and nail-biting suspense that will keep readers on the edge of their seat. It’s a page-turning masterpiece for readers young and old.

As is the case with all great crime novels, the set-up is simple. In the middle of the night, Sam — son of irascible crime reporter Harry — is woken by angry voices from the apartment above. He edges to the window, to check the scene above, and sees a body fall from the sixth-floor balcony. When Sam goes to wake his father, he discovers Harry is gone. And when Sam gets downstairs, the body has vanished.  But Sam knows what he saw — and worse for him, somebody else knows what he witnessed. Someone who wants Sam silenced at any cost.

The Fall is a pulse-pounding thriller with the heart and soul so often missing from its contemporaries. The strained relationship between Sam and Harry — and indeed Sam and his mother — is truly evocative, and adds a powerful emotional layer to proceedings; but never at the expense of the plot’s raw pace, which rips along phenomenally.

Tristan Bancks has concocted a thriller that has everything you could ask for – a twisty plot, memorable characters, and plenty of action. If there’s a child in your life who has been glancing at the line of Michael Connelly novels on your shelf, or skimming through your Raymond Chandler collection, put a copy of The Fall in their hands.

ISBN: 9780143783053
Format: Paperback
Pages: 288
Imprint: Random House Australia Children’s Books
Publisher: Random House Australia
Publish Date: 29-May-2017
Country of Publication: Australia