Tag Archives: thriller

A cracking thriller for teenage girls

The Industry

by Rose Foster

Harper Collins, 2012

Sixteen year old Kirra Hayward is extremely bright – so bright that she is accelerated into the higher maths classes at school. As a consequence of her perceived ‘bookishness’ and acceleration, she is very lonely.

Completing her homework in the school library one day, she stumbles across an internet site which invites her to crack a code. Kirra does so easily, enters her answer and thinks no more about the ‘crack a code’ website, unaware that she has just changed her whole existence.  For we learn that Kirra is one of very few people in the world who have the ability to decipher the code she unwittingly cracked. She is kidnapped by an organisation called “The Industry” and so begins an exciting  and fast-paced adventure thriller. Kirra initially resists The Industry and refuses to help the evil organisation but is manipulated, tortured and outwitted at every turn. The arrival of another code-breaker, Milo, creates an interesting tension and further complicates the plot.

Rose Foster is an Australian author, and it is refreshing to read about an Australian heroine in a young adult adventure thriller. Whilst the action begins in suburban Australia, it quickly becomes international in flavour adding an air of sophistication and authenticity to the criminal activity.

What I found disappointing is that this is the first book in a three-part series. For me, The Industry could have been a tight, action-packed one book story, however it seems these days publishers are keen to jump on the franchise bandwagon, especially with young adult fiction. It will be interesting to see what Foster can achieve in books two and three. Teenage girls especially will enjoy this book and appreciate seeing a tough, intelligent female protagonist in a gritty thriller.

Recommended for ages 13+



Filed under Girls fiction, Reviews, Young adult

No rest for this reader

No Rest for the Dead


Edited by Andrew F. Gulli and Lamia Gulli.

Published 2011, Simon and Schuster.



No Rest for the Dead should actually be called No Rest for the Reader, because it is impossible to put this book down.

It’s been a while since I’ve read a crime thriller, and I’m so glad this was the one to break the drought. What attracted me to this book was the fact that it has twenty-six different authors. And not just any authors – these are the elite wordsmiths of the suspense thriller genre, including Jeffrey Deaver, Kathy Reichs, Raymond Khoury and Faye Kellerman.

Compiling a book with a single plot and asking such a large number of established authors to write just one or two chapters each is a huge and daring undertaking. It could be a recipe for disaster – just imagine the ego issues!  Given that this book is a crime thriller with complexity of story, characters, clues and twists, the potential for catastrophe just magnifies.

But this book is fabulous! Brother and sister team Andre and Lamia Gulli have managed to create something special. Maybe it’s because each author had just one or two chapters to write. Maybe it was the peer pressure amongst writers, stirring a desire to submit the cleanest and sharpest submission possible.  Whatever the reason, the writing in this book is superb. There are no lulls and no eyes skimming over the boring bits. There is just tight, polished writing which moves the plot along at breakneck speed.

The story revolves around the murder of Christopher Thomas, curator of the Museum of Fine Arts. His wife Rosemary is tried, convicted and executed for his murder. Ten years on, the detective who cracked the case, Jon Nunn, is convinced he made a mistake. He is wracked with guilt as it was his testimony which essentially convicted Rosemary. He embarks on a mission to track down all the suspects and uncover the truth.

This is a true page turner – on steroids. In the foreword David Baldacci promises the reader that they will be surprised by the denouement, as “it’s a twist that is so original you won’t have to concern yourself with bragging on your blog about how you figured it all out long before the conclusion”.  He’s right. It is original, and no, I can’t brag.

No Rest for the Dead is one of those books that you race to read, and then regret having finished so quickly. It would appeal to many readers, from teens who enjoy crime fiction to your great grandma.

Make sure you pack this one for your next holiday.

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Filed under General fiction, Reviews

The Siren’s Sting


The Siren’s Sting by Miranda Darling

Published by Allen & Unwin, 2011


For some time I’ve wondered about Miranda Darling. Just who is she? I somehow missed Darling’s initial success, having not read her first thriller The Troika Dolls, but have begun to wonder about this ‘new’ author whose name kept cropping up in book lists everywhere. Then the kind people at Allen & Unwin sent me a copy of Darling’s latest novel The Siren’s Sting and so I was introduced to the fast-paced world of risk assessor Stevie Duveen.

The Siren’s Sting begins with Stevie playing minder to a temperamental opera star on a luxury yacht off the coast of Somalia. The yacht is attacked by pirates and Stevie is injured as she helps thwart the attack. Whilst recuperating from these injuries at her grandmother’s villa in Sardina, Stevie is given another job from David Rice, her boss at Hazard, to assess a threat on the son of Clemence and Vaughan Krok. And so begins a frantic thriller, with intricate plot twists and turns, and multiple glamorous settings ranging from the Mediterranean to Venice, from Azerbaijan to Malaga in Spain.

This is certainly not a thriller for the faint-hearted. Darling weaves a clever web of intrigue, spun by a cast of glamorous players: arms-dealers, aristocrats and the super-wealthy. With its illustrious setting and dazzling characters The Siren’s Sting reminds me of a James Bond novel, with one major difference: for me, Stevie Duveen lacks the charisma of 007. This may be as a result of the oft-referred to loss and trauma which she suffered prior to The Siren’s Sting.

Not having read the first Stevie Duneen novel, I may not be fully qualified to question Darling’s portrayal of her protagonist in this work. Part of me just yearned for Stevie to have more chutzpah like Lisa Scottoline’s Bennie Rosato or have more of the clutzy but lovable personality of Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum. To be fair, Stevie’s enigmatic demeanour is a minor shortcoming, as the vast array of rich and eclectic characters overall will satisfy the hardest to please reader. I may just have to get to know Stevie better. This appears to be inevitable as the ending of The Siren’s Sting is clearly left open for a third book in the Stevie Duveen franchise.

I’ll be back for more. The Siren’s Sting is a fresh, intelligent and unique thriller. Darling clearly understands international security and intrigue, and this translates to an innovative and exciting story. Replete with exotic locations and larger than life characters, The Siren’s Sting is the perfect book to take on holidays and read beside the pool.

Definitely one for the Christmas stocking.

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Filed under General fiction, Reviews, Women