Good Reading : April 2006
44 goodreading ı APRIL 2006 readers’ reviews Here’s a selection of some of the reviews you sent in to us. Keep them coming to: firstname.lastname@example.org Max Meets a Monster The Memory of Running No Trace Tracey Hawkins New Frontier $24.95 Reviewed by Moira Anne Elliott This is the story of a young boy’s first ever sleepover at his Grandpa’s house. The opening page of this ‘must-have’ book is so evocative of the wonder and joy of childhood, beautifully illustrated by the relationship between Max and his Old Ted.Brilliant personification is displayed in Grandpa’s old boots; the rather menacing coat and cap in the hall and the threatening bath taps and European bath claws; all cap- turing any child’s imagination in that situation but some- how made less scary by the soft green fish on the shower curtain – not dissimilar to the dinosaurs on Max’s pyjamas! Max’s torch plays an important part in the story in that it assists him in confronting his fear. He finally sheds light on the terrifying noise – the snores of his dear Grandpa whose colourful socks look mortified at having been disturbed! A real joy. Ron McLarty The Blind Eye Georgia Blain Barry Maitland Allen & Unwin $29.95 Reviewed by Clive Hodges Time Warner $29.95 Reviewed by Jan Germain Penguin $22.95 Reviewed by Mitchell Jordan There are some things that Daniel, an experimental healer, has never forgotten – in particular his patient Silas, who refuses to leave his memory. Silas, the young, troubled son of an affluent yet corrupt family, suffers from an uncontrollable desire to harm himself. With the help of Daniel, he embarks upon a new life in the isolated coastal town of Port Tremaine, which is also home to a reclusive spiritual guru and his blind, magnanimous daughter. Weaving together her usual combination of poetic prose and strong, complex characters, Georgia Blain pushes her writing further by exploring some interesting issues such as self-mutilation and natural healing therapies in this rich exploration of what happens when personal and professional relationships are blurred, and when the after math of the past continues to affect the future. Smithy Ide is a fat, over forty, Forrest Gump-type of innocent loser heading towards alcoholism. The only close relationships he has are with his parents and his beloved sister, Bethany. She is a schizophrenic who disappears regularly, when- ever ‘the voice’ takes control of her. This is a heartwarming story of the complexity of human relationships and love, full of twists and tur ns, as Smithy embarks on an epic bicycle ride across America in search of Bethany. On the journey he becomes involved with all sorts of people, discovering a hidden strength and confidence in himself and, ultimately, love. This is a beautifully written, war m and compassionate first novel. I couldn’t put it down. Six-year-old Tracey Rudd has disappeared from her bedroom in Northcote Square, London. Detective Chief Inspector David Brock and Detective Sergeant Kathy Kolla investigate. As this is the third young girl to have gone missing within a few weeks, a case of abduction is suspected. Relatives and neighbours are questioned and red her rings proliferate. Barry Maitland was born in Scotland, educated in England and lives in New South Wales. No Trace is the eighth Brock and Kolla crime mystery. The series, started in 1994 with The Marx Sisters, has allowed the two main protagonists to develop and complement each other. Evidence is assessed, motivations dissected, lies and half-lies discarded until the surprising truth is revealed. The latest story is con- vincing, shocking and never flags.Well-rounded characters are artfully managed to create an intense and exciting thriller that challenges the reader’s deductive skills.