#5Books: Book recs and NSW Premier Literary Awards

#5Books for the week ending 6 may 2018

Last week Monday I had the pleasure of attending the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards. Essentially, I live in NSW and the head of our state — which sounds almost royal, but really isn’t — is called a Premier and these are her awards.

They were held in the state library, which is a lot more impressive and modern since that last time I was there. I still had no idea where I was going and resolved to follow the crowd and met a person who works with a refugee NGO along the way, and together we got there in the end.

The awards were held in one of the older parts of the building, with a large area devoted to the mixing, networking and having fun parts of the awards, and a small room dedicated to the presentation of the awards. They were shorter than I thought it would be, because all the long speeches were done quick fast at the beginning, before writers who won came up and gave very articulate speeches — obviously!

There were scriptwriting awards — won by Top of the Lake, China Girl and Deep Water, the Real Story, which is a documentary about gay hate crimes in Sydney. Both gentlemen were hilarious, and I was surprised these awards included scriptwriting TBH.

Another highlight was the debut author of Book of Dirt, who describes himself as a Jewish punk rocker won three awards, one after the other and each time got progressively more shocked he was standing on the stage time after time. The Book is an exploration of his family’s history and of surviving the Nazis.

An added bonus this past Saturday was the YA Day at the Sydney Writers Festival. Sometimes I feel like the festival is losing touch of readers by not not paying enough attention to popular fiction, but I also know YA Day was fantastic. I headed out to see The Personal is Political panel, which included Kirsty Eagar, Alice Pung and Randa Abdel-Fattah — all Australian women who write about females who are migrants, face Islamophobia and sexism. What followed was an intimate conversation about why and how these women approached these topics in their writing. Overall a great afternoon!

Where the Missing Go

The twisty, gripping psychological thriller about a mother working at a Missing Persons helpline who receives a desperate phone call from her own daughter, who went missing four years before – perfect for fans of I LET YOU GO by Claire Mackintosh and TELL NO ONE by Harlan Coben.

My name is Kate.

I volunteer at a local charity – young people who have run away from home call me
and I pass on messages to their loved ones, no questions asked.

I don’t get many phone calls, and those I do are usually short and vague, or pranks.

But this morning a girl named Sophie called.

I’m supposed to contact her parents to let them know their child is safe.

The problem is, Sophie isn’t safe.

And Sophie is my daughter.

Whew, part of me is like, no she’s not, someone is messing with you, and then another part is OMG, this is heartbreaking! Imagine having someone you know on the other side of the line like that?!

The Moscow Deception

The second electrifying novel in the Guardian series, by New York Times bestselling author Karen Robards.

Bianca St. Ives makes her living as a high-end thief and a genius of disguise, conning criminals out of the money they stole – and all for the greater good. A femme fatale Robin Hood, she’s learnt everything she knows from her father. Now that she’s taken over running the family business, it’s not just Richard St. Ives on most-wanted lists, but Bianca, too.

After faking his own death, the word is out that Bianca’s father is, in fact, alive, and having just pulled off a major heist in Austria, he has a dangerous task for Bianca that will see her travelling to Russia to steal ancient jewels and artifacts. But now all eyes are on Bianca, and escaping international pursuit will be harder than ever…

Wait, wait what? A femme fatale Robin Hood? Kind of sounds like Jane Bond, if the blurb for the first one in this series is anything to go by!

Now You See Her


Unputdownable psychological suspense from an exciting new talent, perfect for fans of The Couple Next Door and I Let You Go.


She’s playing at the school fete with your children. You pull out your phone, scroll through Facebook, and look up again.


Charlotte is looking after her best friend’s daughter the day she disappears. She thought the little girl was playing with her own children. She swears she only took her eyes off them for a second.

Now, Charlotte must do the unthinkable, tell her best friend Harriet that her only child is missing. The child she was meant to be watching.

Devastated, Harriet can no longer bear to see Charlotte. No one could expect her to trust her friend again.

Only now she needs to. Because two weeks later Harriet and Charlotte are both being questioned separately by the police. And secrets are about to surface.


How easy is it to get distracted by your phone while watching kids? It’s such a natural part of life now, but as this points out, it can lead to anything – of course, that’s not the half of it because what on earth is going on between these women that they end up being questioned by the cops AND what secrets do they share??

Believe Me

In this twisty psychological thriller from the New York Times bestselling author of The Girl Before, an actress plays both sides of a murder investigation.

A struggling actor, a Brit in America without a green card, Claire needs work and money to survive. Then she gets both. But nothing like she expected.

Claire agrees to become a decoy for a firm of divorce lawyers. Hired to entrap straying husbands, she must catch them on tape with their seductive propositions.

The rules? Never hit on the mark directly. Make it clear you’re available, but he has to proposition you, not the other way around. The firm is after evidence, not coercion. The innocent have nothing to hide.

Then the game changes.

When the wife of one of Claire’s targets is violently murdered, the cops are sure the husband is to blame. Desperate to catch him before he kills again, they enlist Claire to lure him into a confession.

Claire can do this. She’s brilliant at assuming a voice and an identity. For a woman who’s mastered the art of manipulation, how difficult could it be to tempt a killer into a trap?

But who is the decoy . . . and who is the prey?

Right, this would be the most unique job ever. And also promising in terms of the premise – it would be a HELL of a cat and mouse game wouldn’t it?

In this riotous caper from Edgar Award finalist David Gordon, the CIA, FBI, and nearly every level of organized crime collide with a singularly evil domestic terrorist and a reluctant bandit known by all as “Joe the Bouncer”

In David Gordon’s diabolically imaginative new thriller, The Bouncer, nothing and no one is as expected—from a vial of yellow fragrance to a gangster who moonlights in women’s clothes.

Joe Brody is just your average Dostoevsky-reading, Harvard-expelled strip club bouncer who has a highly classified military history and whose best friend from Catholic school happens to be head mafioso Gio Caprisi. FBI agent Donna Zamora, the best shot in her class at Quantico, is a single mother stuck at a desk manning the hotline. Their storylines intersect over a tip from a cokehead that leads to a crackdown on Gio’s strip joint in Queens and Joe’s arrest—just one piece of a city-wide sweep aimed at flushing out anyone who might have a lead on the various terrorists whose photos are hanging on the wall under Most Wanted. Outside the jailhouse, the Fed and the bouncer lock eyes, as Gordon launches them both headlong into a nonstop plot that goes from back-road gun show intervention to high-stakes perfume heist and manages to touch everyone from the CIA to the Flushing Triads. Beneath it all lurks a sinister criminal mastermind whose manipulations could cause chaos on a massively violent scale.

For readers who like a heavy dose of fun with their murder, this is crime fiction at its freshest, from a virtuoso of the “darkly comic, stylish literary thriller”

So, when was the last time you had some fun with your murder? That last line completely won me over with one, not to mention the wealth of  awesome characters in this! I mean, Harvard-expelled strip club bouncer?!?
And that’s all she wrote!


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