I live in Adelaide, capital city of the State of South Australia. I've been an avid reader of crime fiction since I was a teenager many years ago. I especially love the British school of crime writing and its exploration of the ‘why’ rather than just the ‘who’. The Climate Change Murders is my first foray into writing a crime novel. I spent most of my working life writing social policy for government and non-government organisations and helping to develop social welfare services.
Detective Sergeant Skyla Merrick finds herself embroiled in a farce involving her boyfriend, a dodgy politician and the politician’s wife, all of whom have secrets they’d rather not have revealed. Then the spirits of George Orwell and Big Brother upset the delicate applecart.
Murder on Display (MOD) is cast in the traditional mode of the police procedural and obeys the rules of this mode intelligently. Detective Sergeant Dan Brennan is faced with a series of gruesome murders which involve both male and female victims, although the manner of the murders and the resulting displays vary between the sexes. As a procedural, MOD works well. Pocock clearly understands the rules and limits of police investigation and applies them consistently. The twist occurs when Brennan's tragic personal history distorts his capacity to engage in effective and objective police work and part of the enjoyment of the book is seeing how he ultimately reins in his personal agendas and triumphs. Family and relationship issues are well handled and become part of the plot. Readers familiar with South Australia's criminal past should not allow themselves to become obsessed with the apparent reference to the so-called Family Murders of the 1980s. The reason for their intrusion will become clear in time.
Although Pocock has used an explanation for the murderer's behaviour which is not original, he has incorporated this in a fresh manner.
I look forward to the next episode of what will undoubtedly become a series with Dan Brennan and his sidekick Mac McLean.
A Taste of Evil is a pacey thriller that grabbed my attention from the opening sentence and didn't let go until the end. The strengths of the book are its emphasis on correct police procedure, its diversity of well-drawn characters, its tight plotting and its convincing dialogue. The plot has an enormous assumption built in to it which you can either accept or reject. Once you accept this - I won't spoil it - then the book flows. The author's experience of writing romance stories shows through in her ability to handle emotions and human interactions tellingly. Almost no one in this book is perfect but none of them are totally black and white and all of them respond in one way or another to the stresses the author subjects them to. I loved her portrayal of the police officers involved in the investigation. Setting is important in this story and the author uses it to good effect in creating a portrayal of the English Lake District as well as British society and the legal system. Forensics, attention to detail and insistence of sticking strictly to acceptable investigative practices mean that in the end, the villains don't stand a chance. There is much humanity and insight into motivation and the influence of emotions on behaviour, which I found rewarding. A book which reflects the proud tradition of British crime writing (although the author is Australian). Highly recommended!
Parasite is a gruesome but intriguing story of how two highly dysfunctional brothers get their come-uppance in a merciless world that neither of them is fit to navigate. I really would not care to meet either of these characters, nor, frankly, most of the other characters in this dark tale - except as people in a book! The story romps along with never a dull moment.