Force of Nature by Jane Harper

Cover of Force of Nature

I’d really liked the first in this series and had no hesitation picking up the second when it came out. But then it hit one of my things authors do that wind me up points and it took me ages to actually read it through.

The first book which was a very personal story delving back into the main character’s childhood, could a second book where Aaron Falk was ‘just’ a detective be as good? Obviously I was concerned that it wouldn’t be but I think the author pulled it off. I think it helped that Aaron’s not really a murder investigator, he’s some kind of financial shenanigans investigating cop who gets pulled in when a witness in one of his cases disappears. I liked the way the story was told: the events surrounding the murder were related at the same pace as the detectives investigating uncovered the clues and this got the reader very involved in the lives of the people at the heart of the murder investigation. And as in the first book there’s a distinctly Australian flavour to it, the plot wouldn’t have been the same if it was set elsewhere.

Overall then I really enjoyed it and will be back for more. Oh, and the thing that winds me up is that Aaron Falk gains a detective partner in this book, Carmen Cooper, and the author continually refers to them as “Falk and Carmen”, the male barely gets referred to by his first name, the female barely by her surname. It has annoyed me in other books and so I saw it here even though I’d have to admit that Harper doesn’t otherwise have the kind of sexist nonsense going on that has come with this pairing of names in other books. There’s a point late on in the book where I wondered if the author had done it deliberately in order to reveal something else, but I’m not sure, and I can’t see any reason that Carmen couldn’t, at least occasionally, have been “Cooper”. A very minor quibble really but one I wanted to note anyway.


More information about this book can be found on goodreads.

City of Friends by Joanna Trollope

Cover of City of Friends

Your standard Joanna Trollope book really. Which I know sounds like a put down. I always pick these up to read looking for something easy going, easy reading, nothing serious. And always end up thinking better of them in the end. This one’s the story of four college friends and where they’ve all ended up by the point they are dealing with mature careers, almost grown children and ageing parents.

There’s a part of me (a miserable reverse-snob kind of part I’ll admit) who’d like to write Trollope off as only able to do posh people, but so many times the characters aren’t really posh and they come over as pretty reasonably realistic. I know these women, I went to college with them I’m sure, and I know their dilemmas. I enjoy their company while I read the pages. And there is always good stuff to go with the bad. And I put the book away with just a little bit more emotional knowledge about how to cope with the world, and that’s a worthwhile thing.


More information about this book can be found on goodreads.

This is How it Ends by Eva Dolan

Cover of This is How it Ends

The story is told by starting at the scene of the crime and tracing one narrative thread backwards in time as another goes forwards. Which is the kind of device I really enjoy, but the book took a long time to grow on me. The first half was completely put-downable, but the second half is superb. It ought to be easy to get lost in the backwardly told story but it works really well, like you are uncovering this from the archives, racing back through time to find out how it began in order to work out how it ends.


More information about this book can be found on goodreads.

This is How it Ends by Eva Dolan

Cover of This is How it Ends

The story is told by starting at the scene of the crime and tracing one narrative thread backwards in time as another goes forwards. Which is the kind of device I really enjoy, but the book took a long time to grow on me. The first half was completely put-downable, but the second half is superb. It ought to be easy to get lost in the backwardly told story but it works really well, like you are uncovering this from the archives, racing back through time to find out how it began in order to work out how it ends.


More information about this book can be found on goodreads.