The Road, by Catherine Jinks

When Grace finally leaves her abusive husband, she takes refuge with an elderly uncle on his outback property. Still, even there she doesn’t feel safe. When someone brutally murders the uncle’s two dogs, she realises that her escape hasn’t worked.

On the highway nearby, travellers drive the barren highway between Mildura and Broken Hill. A family on holiday, a truckie on his regular route, two brothers off on an Outback adventure and an eccentric country woman are all on the road, unwittingly being caught up in Grace’s drama and its chilling aftermath.

When Grace’s ex finds her and seeks his retribution, supernatural forces are woken. The travellers find themsleves caught in a twilight zone, where their destinations are suddenly unreachable. The rules are unclear, the way out seemingly unreachable. Only justice will end their ordeal.

The Road is a gripping thriller from versatile Australian author Catherine Jinks. Jinks has previously tackled children’s young adult, historical and chick-lit genres. Her transition to the thriller genre is seamless – readers would be forgiven for thinking Jinks has always written books of this kind. The strands of the story are woven together with Jinks’ magic control. The characters are real and incredibly fascinating and the setting, whilst necessarily stark, is clearly drawn.

Fans of Stephen King and of thriller movies will not be disappointed with this offering. It is a very visual story and the scene changes, the use of suspense and changes in atmosphere all make The Road a book crying out to made into a movie.

Of course, readers won’t need the movie to be gripped by this tale. Its page-turning suspense and chilling sequence of events make it perfect as it is.

The Road, by Catherine Jinks
Allen & Unwin, 2004