We're proud to publish "A Certain Malice", by Felicity Young - crime fiction set in Australia. We came across this on the excellent review site Reactions to Reading, which concentrates on issues affecting readers in "the land that publishing forgot" - Australia. Enjoy!
"Cam Fraser is a former National Crime Authority officer who, with his
teenage daughter Ruby, has moved from Sydney to become Senior Sergeant
in the Western Australian country town of his birth. Almost as soon as
he arrives a building at a private girl’s school in the town is burned
down and a body is discovered in the ashes. To investigate the crime Cam
has help from a squad of rookies and one experienced officer who is the
subject of a series of complaints. In addition both he and his daughter
are still recovering from the tragedy that led to them leaving Sydney.
Fortunately for me this book was well worth the four months it took
to track down a copy of it. The story is believable, has a well paced
suspense and rates highly on my ‘readability’ scale which is a vague
term I use to describe how interested I am in turning each page. I
finished the whole thing in two sittings and I’m not even going to
complain that one of those sittings kept me up until 2:00am on a school
night. I simply had to know if my predictions for whodunit were accurate
which is always a sign of a good read (for the record, they weren’t).
Although recognisably Australian in its setting and language the book
achieves this state naturally. Sometimes with Australian books, such as
Geraldine Brooks’ People of the Book which
I read earlier this year, I cringe at the use of colloquialisms that
would only be found in a Paul Hogan ad and never in real conversations. A Certain Malice achieves an Australian sensibility beautifully and without appearing to try too hard.
I quickly became engaged by the protagonist and the minor characters,
especially the troubled Ruby and rookie cop Leanne, who all seemed very
credible. It was also interesting to see the sub-plot with Vince
develop in a more realistic way than some of the ‘cops protect cops at
all costs’ plots that have permeated crime fiction for years.
On top of all this the book is less than 300 pages and, it seems, is
not part of an ongoing series. Both of these things are increasingly
rare occurrences in modern crime fiction so to find both attributes in
one terrific story is something to be treasured indeed.
My rating 4.5/5"