Good Reading : September 2016
GOODREADINGMAGAZINE.COM.AU GOOD READING SEPTEMBER 2016 44 CRIME / THRILLER WOM word of mouth RATINGS ★ ★ ★★ ★★ ★★★ ★★★ ★★★★ ★★★★ ★★★★★ RG A Time of Torment: A Charlie Parker Thriller 14 John Connolly In this 14th ‘Charlie Parker’ thriller, John Connolly has again posited an ancient evil that prospers in a sleepy little backwoods Amer ican town. In this case, a cult-like group called the Cut (which is also the name of the area in which the group lives) worships an ancient totem, the Dead King, and for centuries they have lived off the proceeds of crime, rapine and murder. They live in isolation from the other inhabitants of the town and, generally, each side leaves the other alone. Now, however, some of the younger Cut members have kidnapped and murdered Parker’s latest client, and as Parker homes in on the Cut he realises that, apart from the murderous group members, the real confrontation will be with the Dead King. I was disappointed that this tale didn’t advance the Parker narrative as much as previous books have done. There is, admittedly, the foreboding sense of imminent evil, the usual Parker introspection and the brooding presences of Angel and Louis (although they don’t get much of a look-in for this story). There are also the sudden, sharp moments of shocking violence and Connolly’s excellent historical research. But overall this was more of a classic thriller in which Parker and his team come in at the last minute to clean things up and get to the heart of the Dead King mystery. The denouement was anticlimactic. We did, however, get a further peek into the sheer scariness of Parker’s daughter, Sam. Despite my disappointment, it’s still a great thriller and I look forward to seeing Parker’s next outing – preferably with more page time for Charlie, Angel and Louis. ★★★ Hodder & Stoughton $29.99 Reviewed by Leslie Lightfoot The Secrets of Wishtide Kate Saunders Sherlock Holmes is all very well, but lately we’ve see him and his knock-offs in so many books, movies and TV adaptations that it’s likely that some people are a bit sick of the Holmesian phenomenon. What to do then, if you’ve had enough of wise, inscrutable, mystery-solving young men? How about a wise, inscrutable, mystery-solving older woman? Laetitia Rodd is a 52-year-old widow in Victorian England, making ends meet by helping her barrister brother solve crimes. She is hired by Sir James Calderstone to dig up dirt on the ‘unsuitable’ woman his son wants to marry. The case suddenly gets more complicated when the unsuitable sweetheart is murdered, and Laetitia finds herself wading deep into intrigue and scandal. This is the first in a series, but it’s not an origin story. Laetitia already has a few cases under her belt (or perhaps her corset?) and she uses ladylike grace, motherly empathy and the ability to appear entirely unthreatening as she obtains information. Unfortunately she also gets a lot of assistance from providence, which seems like a convenient device for covering up plot developments based on coincidence. The novel also falls into a common trap in crime fiction: it knows that the murder mystery has been done countless times before, and so it defaults to unnecessary violence and scandalous shock to grab the reader’s attention. What actually makes the story interesting is the charming Laetitia and her rickety yet robust housekeeper, Mrs B, as the Watson to her Holmes. ★★ Bloomsbury $27.99 Reviewed by Alex Henderson then, if you’ve had enough of wise, inscrutable, it’s not an origin story. Laetitia already has a few cases under her belt (or perhaps her corset?) and she uses ladylike grace, motherly empathy and the ability to appear entirely unthreatening as she obtains information. of assistance from providence, which seems A Time of Torment: A Charlie Parker Thriller 14 John Connolly Iagain posited an ancient evil that prospers in a sleepy little backwoods American town.