Without Consent, by Kathryn Fox

Hands dragged him to his feet and forced him, limping, to a white sedan. The door opened from inside and Geoffrey felt a sweaty weight on his crown, shoving him into the back seat. The bag of special belongings followed. The door slammed and he felt safe – like a fish in its bowl. Not safe enough, though, to show his face.

After serving twenty years for the rape and murder a fourteen-year-old girl, Geoffrey Willard has been released. Now a serial rapist is on the prowl and, when two of the victims are later stabbed to death, forensic scientist Anya Chrichton is called on to assist.

When Anya reviews the twenty-year-old case, she begins to doubt whether Willard was the culprit. If she is right, and Willard is innocent, then another killer has been on the loose for twenty years, and one of Anya’s colleagues has made a terrible mistake.

Without Consent is the second mystery featuring Dr Chrichton, an independent forensic physician struggling to make a name for herself and to balance her personal and professional life. Author Kathryn Fox weaves a mystery which takes twists and turns and doesn’t become predictable.


Without Consent, by Kathryn Fox
Macmillan, 2006

The Saw Doctor, by Gary Crew

I knew that he was a hawker—a man who went from door to door selling things that nobody wanted and couldn’t afford anyway, like magazine subscriptions, or bottles of cordial, or fresh cream from the dairy up the road. Hawkers weren’t welcome at our place because we had no money, so I said, ‘Sorry Mister, no-one is home, and I’m sick…’

Jo Boy and his family are really poor. The Great Depression is hitting them hard – Dad is out of work and there’s no money to be spared. SO when a knife-sharpener comes to their door, Dad tells him to go away. But Jo Boy is fascinated by the knife sharpener’s caravan and when he comes into some unexpected cash, he finds a way to help the knife sharpener and Dad at the same time.

The Saw Doctor is historical junior fiction from one of Australia’s finest authors of such works for children and young adults, Gary Crew. Crew offers a glimpse of family life during the depression, a time about which many primary aged children would be unaware.

The story is inspired by the Saw Doctor’s Wagon, which was used by the real saw doctor, Harold Wight from the 1930s to the 1960s and is now housed in the National Museum of Australia.

The Saw Doctor, by Gary Crew
National Museum of Australia Press, 2006

River Boy, by Anthony Hill

Nat still couldn’t believe it. Even after three days steaming down the river, he’d wake cramped in his blanket in the dank, narrow prow, thinking he was still on the farm. Only when he’d felt the boat nudging the bank where they’d tied up for the night, did Nat remember. It wasn’t Uncle Silas but a deckhand, Sloppy Joe, snoring beside him.

Nat has always dreamt of working on one of the river boats, but when his chance finally comes, he is surprised how easy it is. A desperate captain offers him work on the paddle steamer Lorelei and soon Nat is one of the crew. But Nat has a secret – he can’t swim. When the boat makes the return journey towing a barge in stormy conditions, Nat’s secret could put his life at risk.

River Boy is a historical novel for primary school readers, set on the Murray River in the 1870s. It is one of eight titles to date in the Making Tracks series from the National Museum of Australia Press, a series of stories inspired by objects from the Museum’s collection.

An exciting read.

River Boy, by Anthony Hill
National Museum of Australia Press, 2006

Free Style, by Raewyn Caisley

Tumble, twist, push! I exploded off the wall and for three or four seconds turned into a dolphin. Arms stretched out in front, probing ahead, reaching, feet trailing behind ready to burst back into action. My grey, white and blue bathers felt like a second skin.

Kate is midway through a pretty disastrous soccer season. Her Dad is a coach and wants her to be the star player. Trouble is, every time she takes the field she mucks up. In the swimming pool, though, it’s a different story. Kate feels one with the water, perfectly balanced and smooth as a machine. How can she convince her dad that she should give up soccer, the game he loves, and focus on swimming?

Free Style is the tale of one girl’s passion for swimming. Kate’s attitude to swimming (and to sport in general) is refreshing – what motivates her is her desire to enjoy what she is doing, rather than an overwhelming drive to win at all costs. This is an important message for children, and one which author Caisley delivers skilfully.

Part of the Lothian Sports Fiction series, Free Style will appeal to readers aged 10-12.

Free Style, by Raewyn Caisley
Lothian, 2006

Leaper Lane – Rugby League Rookie, by Stephen Measday & Paul Sirronen

The lights of Telstra Stadium were bright and blinding. Thousands of fans were cheering for me!
I went back slowly to take my kick.
There were fifty-two seconds left in the game. Our regular goal kicker had just gone off with an injury. Now it was all up to me and I couldn’t let the team down.
This was my moment.

When Jack’s mum moves him from Melbourne to Sydney he has to say goodbye to his favourite sport – Aussie rules – and he’s not impressed. But when he is introduced to rugby league, Jack wonders if it’s all so bad. He tries out for his local club, the Wanderers, and works hard to make a place for himself on the team.

It isn’t all plain sailing. Jack is pretty small compared to some of the other players, and he doesn’t even know the rules of the game. When he gest injured making a tackle, Jack worries that he might be left out of the team.

Leaper Lane: Rugby League Rookie is the first title in a new series which follow Jack’s adventures as he learns to play (and love) his new game. With plenty of sporting action, there are also other subjects explored, including family break-ups and friendship.

This series is likely to appeal to 8-12 year old readers, specially those with an interest in rugby league.

Leaper lane: Rugby league Rookie, by Stephen Measday and Paul Sironen