November Picks

Hammer, Chris (2021) Treasure & Dirt. Allen & Unwin.

When an opal miner is found crucified in his mine, near the bleak outback town of Finnigans Gap, Sydney homicide detective Ivan Lucic is sent to investigate, with the assistance of local detective Nell Buchanan. Caught between threats to their police careers and solving the crime Ivan and Nell seek to uncover disturbing secrets before time runs out. An evocative standalone mystery from one of the leading writers of Australian crime noir. You can feel the blistering heat on every page.

Rating: 9/10

Marçal, Katrine (2021) Mother of Invention: How good ideas get ignored in an economy built for men. Collins.

Katrine Marçal takes a provocative look at our history in which almost all our inventions and innovations have been defined by our beliefs of the role of men and woman in society, starting with why it took over 5,000 years to attach wheels to a suitcase. Women have been largely shut out from the ideas narrative, excluded from the economy and denied access to venture capital, but for us to resolve some of the big challenges of our time we need to find new ways of looking at everything. “It is time to put the wizard and prophet to one side. Let’s talk about the witch instead”. It’s time we understood the consequences of sexism and gender bias so we don’t burn the world at the stake!

Rating: 8.5/10

Disher, Garry (2021) The Way it is Now. Text Publishing.

Charlie Deravin’s mother went missing, presumed murdered, twenty years ago, his father the prime suspect. Now Charlie is back in his childhood Mornington Peninsula home of Menlo Park, on disciplinary leave from his police job. As he has time on his hands he seeks to reopen his mother’s case but finds leads thin on the ground. When skeletal remains are found in the excavation of a new building site Charlie’s worst fears are realised. He discovers he must look to his past to solve the mystery. Another well-crafted and gripping story with lots of fallible characters from Disher. Cracker read as always.

Rating: 8.5/10

Solomon, Mark (2021) Mana Whakatipu: Ngāi Tahu leader Mark Solomon on leadership and life. Massey UP.

Mark Solomon is an astute and well-respected leader. In this insightful memoir Tā Mark reflects on his life, career and influences. As the visionary kaiwhakahaere (chair) of the tribal council of Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu he was a major player in the economic development of Ngāi Tahu following their Treaty settlement. Since stepping down from this role in 2018 he continues to influence and provide wise counsel within the Māori world and beyond, for the benefit of Aotearoa New Zealand. Plainly spoken, honest and accessible.

Rating: 9/10

Hawkins, Kelli (2021) Other People’s Houses. HarperCollins.

Ten years ago Kate lost her son in tragic circumstances. She spends her weekends hungover, attending open houses, imagining the lives of the people who live there. When she visits the Harding house a perfect family photograph captures her attention – the boy in the photo could be her own son. Her curiosity turns in obsession, and she discovers that perfection can be a dangerous threat. Kate is an unreliable narrator in this tense but largely unsatisfactory thriller.

Rating: 7.5/10

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