Say what you will about 2020, but it’s been packed with some phenomenal crime fiction and thrillers, and it was so difficult culling my list of favourites to a measly ten. In any other year, Peter Swanson’s “Rules For Perfect Murder” would feature; so too the new Rankin (“A Song for the Dark Times”), at least one of Connelly’s (“The Law of Innocence” and “Fair Warning”), and Silva’s “The Order.” But when I sat back and reflected on my year of reading, these were the ones that resonated.Continue reading
With his second novel, Benjamin Stevenson once again demonstrates his mastery of the genre and proves himself to be page-turning royalty. In Either Side of Midnight he employs the same skill set that made Greenlight such a noteworthy debut: masterfully paced plotting pockmarked with explosive revelations strung together like fireworks that create an escalating and exhilarating sense of urgency that’ll keep even the most fatigued crime reader white-knuckled throughout its duration.
In this direct sequel to Greenlight — which can be satisfactorily read as a standalone (but why would you; you’ve got until September, and we’re in lockdown) — disgraced television producer Jack Quick is hired by Harry Midford to investigate the murder of his brother. Only, Jack — and the rest of the world — are adamant it was suicide. Because they saw it. Everyone saw it, on live television: Sam Midford put a gun to his head and pulled the trigger. Case closed. But Jack needs the money. So he digs deeper into Sam’s past. And he discovers something dark, something twisted. Something that might get him killed. What seems at the start to be a straightforward investigation seamlessly transforms into a crafty tale of murder and deception
Stevenson is Australia’s Harlan Coben. Using an unconventional detective, he keeps his plot boiling, piling on plot twists, false leads, and adds depth and edge to traditional genre characters. The writing is assured, the pace is whip-fast. Stevenson is the hottest ticket in town.
Number Of Pages: 336
Available: 1st September 2020
Edition Number: 1
Enjoy my definitive — wholly subjective — list of the 10 books published in 2018 that I enjoyed most.
With a plot that blasts along faster than a speeding bullet, and more hairpin turns than an alpine highway, Greenlight is one hell of a debut, and one of the year’s best thrillers. Seriously, this one will leave you breathless.
There’s a book coming out later this month by Chris Hammer called Scrublands. You might’ve heard of it. Not just from me — although you might recall I declared it an early contender for Book of the Year — but from various other bloggers, bookshops and media outlets. It’s being touted as the Next Big Thing in Australian Crime Fiction; primed to explode like Jane Harper’s The Dry. As it should. It’s brilliant.
But when the dust is settling in September — once you’ve had the chance to read and adore Chris Hammer’s debut — another book is going to drop, which deserves the same kind of pre-publication buzz; that should be talked about amongst booksellers in the build-up to is release. Another debut, by another Australian writer, who clearly knows his stuff, given his occupation at Curtis Brown Australia.
The author’s name is Benjamin Stevenson. His book is called Greenlight. And it’s a whirlwind of suspense, intrigue and excitement.
Jack Quick is the producer of a true-crime documentary interested in unravelling the murder of Eliza Dacey, in what was originally considered a slam-dunk case despite the circumstantial evidence that convicted Curtis Wade, who was already a pariah in the small town of Birravale, which is famed for its wineries. Jack’s series has turned the tide on the public’s perception of Wade — he is the victim of a biased police force, they scream — but just as Jack’s set to wrap on the finale, he uncovers a piece of evidence that points to Wade’s guilt, the broadcasting of which would ruin his show.
Understanding the potential repercussions of whatever he decides, Jack disposes of the evidence, thus delivering the final episode of his show proposing that Curtis is innocent. That, he thinks, will be the end of that. But when Curtis is released from prison, and soon after, a new victim is found bearing similarities to Eliza’s murder, Jack is forced to deal with the consequences head-on: his actions might’ve helped free a killer. And so, Jack makes it his personal mission to expose the truth.
Australian crime fiction is currently rife with small-town-murder plots, but Greenlight feels particularly original thanks to its protagonist. By the nature of his profession, Jack Quick is naturally egotistical — his job is not simply to tell stories, but to shape them, and form narratives that are compelling, not necessarily honest. But he’s also seriously damaged from a particular childhood experience, and suffers from bulimia, which is an eating disorder I wouldn’t dream of pairing up with the hero of a whodunnit, but works effectively here. Stevenson’s story, too, is packed with red-herrings and stunning revelations; readers will be white-knuckled grasping their copies of his debut as he deviously weaves a web of suspicion around the many characters before revealing the killer in the jaw-dropping climax.
Greenlight will have you biting your nails down to the quick as you desperately turn its pages. In a year boasting several impressive debuts, Benjamin Stevenson’s ranks highly among them. Put simply, Greenlight is a knockout.
Imprint: Michael Joseph
Publisher: Penguin Books Australia
Publish Date: 3-Sep-2018
Country of Publication: Australia