Geoffrey McGeachin’s number one writing rule is Real writing is rewriting. Gabrielle Lord’s is Make writing your first priority, and Peter Corris doesn’t want to set rules but does advise learning from both mistakes and successes. With nineteen others, these crime writers share their journey to publication, their writing processes, tips and rules, and recommended reads in If I Tell You… I’ll Have to Kill You: Australia’s Leading Crime Writers Reveal Their Secrets.
Whilst suitable for anyone with an interest in crime fiction or true crime, this offering is most likely to appeal to writers (and aspiring writes) of the genre. The contributors are all multi published Australian authors, who’ve also had success on the international stage. Though crime is the common ground, the range of their writing focus is broad – from true crime, to detective novel, to historical fiction and more.
Because each chapter is contributed by a different author, the book can be either read cover to cover or dipped into, and while the focus is crime writing, writers of all interests and levels of experience are likely to find value in both the writing advice and the sharing of journeys to publication (and beyond).
Other contributors include Kerry Greenwood. Garry Disher, Barry Maitland and Leigh Redhead.
If I Tell You… I’ll Have to Kill You: Australia’s Leading Crime Writers Reveal Their Secrets, edited by Michael Robotham
Allen & Unwin, 2013
Available from good bookstores and online.
Wyatt took the stairs. The lift was available, but lifts were a trap. He went straight to the first-floor apartment’s concealed safe and removed the contents: spare cash, two sets of false ID and the deeds to both properties. Finally he grabbed the dark suit hanging in his wardrobe. There was nothing else that he wanted to take with him when he left the place forever, no photos, no diaries, letters or other keepsakes, for the simple reason that he had no past that he wanted to think about.
No one knows much about Wyatt. But, after an absence, he is now back in town. Eddie Oberin doesn’t know a lot about Wyatt, but he wants Wyatt to work with him on a big heist. Eddie’s ex-wife Lydia has some inside knowledge which makes the job easy, or so it seems. But Alain Le Page, the target of their heist, is an unknown quantity, and he might just be a match for Wyatt and his team.
Wyatt is a crime thriller from one of Australia’s masters of the genre. Pitting shyster against shyster, and with a colourful cast of characters including a stripper with a huge chip on her shoulder, and another woman who may prove to be Wyatt’s equal, it is a story which keeps the reader guessing right to the end.
Wyatt, by Garry DIsher
Text Publishing, 2010
This book can be purchased online from Fishpond. Buying through this link supports Aussiereviews.
It is schoolies week and in Waterloo, on the Mornington Peninsula, police are already stretched dealing with drunk, rowdy or simply exuberant teens. But then the bashing of a well-connected school chaplain puts pressure on Detective Inspector Hal Challis and his crew, and the subsequent murder of a local planning officer creates chaos.
While police investigate the two major crimes they must also deal with a sexual assault on a female schoolie, the mysterious drugging and humiliation of a toolie, and his gun rampage seeking retribution. meanwhile, the police officers have personal issues to deal with Hal is in a relationship with Sergeant Ellen Destry, another Sergeant, Scobie Sutton, has marriage problems, and tension is brewing between three uniformed officers.
Blood Moon is a wonderful crime fiction offering, with lots going on. The various crimes at times overlap, and the lives of different members of Hal’s team are explored along the way. The characters’ lives are as important as the solving of the crimes, with the reader able to connect with victims and investigators alike.
An absorbing read.
Blood Moon, by Garry Disher
Text Publishing, 2010
This book can be purchased online from Fishpond. Buying through this link supports Aussiereveiws.
Inspector Challis has more than one case on the go. An unidentified man has been fished out of the sea with an anchor around his waist, a troubled farmer has become violent and is on a crime wave of his own, and someone is stalking Challis’s friend Kitty.
Meanwhile, Challis has personal problems to deal with too. His wife, in jail for conspiring to murder him, constantly pressures him for reassurance. His girlfriend, the editor of the local paper, wants more than he can give right now, and his feelings towards Kitty are confusing.
Kittyhawk Down is the second Inspector Challis murder mystery. Fans who have waited since 2000 will be pleased to see the reappearance of this endearing character who is just as intriguing here as in the first title, The Dragon Man, winner of the German Crime Fiction Award and a shortlist title for the Ned Kelly Award.
Kittyhawk Down is a an excellent piece of Australian crime fiction.
Kittyhawk down, by Garry Disher
Allen & Unwin, 2003
When two young women are murdered, the previously sleepy Peninsula is on full alert – there is a serial killer on the loose. Detective Inspector Hal Challis is charged with finding the killer – before another death happens. The media want to know what’s being done, with the editor of the local paper giving him particular trouble.
As Christmas approaches the Peninsula should be brimming with holiday cheer, but this year the pall of danger hangs over the area.
The Dragon Man is the first book in the Detective Inspector Challis series. Challis is based on the Peninsula, where he moves between stations as the need arises. He has come to the Peninsula following the break up of his marriage – when his wife and her lover tried to kill him. He is at once likeable and multi-faceted, with the promise of being an intriguing character to follow through the subsequent books in the series.
The Dragon Man, by Garry Disher
Allen & Unwin. First published 1999, reissued, 2003