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‘Ice-pick-sharp, packed with intrigue, action and spine-chilling suspense. Devour will keep you gripped from the very first page’ Kathryn Fox

Media and Reviews

Post a review on Amazon.com.au or GoodReads and your quote could appear here.

Book review by Michael Larkin of Rivers of London

July 18, 2012

I have to confess up front that I’m a fan of Jasper Fforde, Tom Holt, Douglas Adams, Yes Prime Minister and Blackadder.  There is something about the distinctly English sense of humour in these works that appeals to me: yes, there is silliness, but there is also wit, sophistication and mischievousness.  Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch (sold in the US as Midnight Riot) is certainly not a comedy, but it has a wry, darkly amused tone that captivated me immediately.  And unlike other books featuring wizards, this is not young adult fiction.

Peter Grant is a distinctly ordinary PC in the London Met, who finds himself apprenticed to the last remaining wizard in England, Chief Inspector Thomas Nightingale.  The story follows their efforts to track down and stop a mysterious and brutal killer.  As the back-of-the-book-blurb puts it, “The spirit of riot and rebellion has awakened in the city, and it’s falling to me to bring order out of chaos – or die trying.”

I enjoyed the tone and language of the story enormously, its inventiveness, the juxtaposition of gritty police procedure and wizardry, and the cavalcade of characters, both mortal and supernatural, that Aaronovitch assembles.  London comes to life in the pages, in more ways than one, and for someone who has visited London several times and lived there for a while, the city’s starring role was a real plus.  The depth of detail weaved unobtrusively throughout the book on the Metropolitan police organisation, procedure, culture, jargon and slang brings the story to life and provides the credibility that only good research can deliver.  The story’s trio of key characters – Grant, Nightingale and PC Lesley May – are believable and engaging and the relationships between each of them are complex and interesting.  The plot moves along at a good, but not helter skelter, pace and there are several twists to keep the reader guessing.

I thoroughly enjoyed Rivers of London, and as soon as I finished it, I went out and bought the follow on book, Moon Over Soho.

Rivers of London is published by Gollancz, Orion Publishing Group

This review is by Michael Larkin

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Avid Reader, Brisbane – in conversation with ABC RN’s Kate Evans

July 17, 2012

Be part of a studio audience! This event will be recorded for ABC Radio National.

Kate Evans, presenter of Books+ on ABC Radio National, will be interviewing me at Avid Reader Bookshop, West End, Brisbane, on 17th August at 6pm. I will be joined by two awesome authors – Katherine Howell and Lindy Cameron – who will do a short reading from their latest novels.

Tickets $5 RSVP essential
6.00 for a 6.30pm start at 193 Boundary Road, West End, Queensland, 4101
Bookings: 07 3846 3422 or events@avidreader.com.au

 

This recording airs on Saturday 18th August:

http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/booksplus/

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Review of Not Dead Yet by Peter James

July 15, 2012

At the 2012 Sydney Writers’ Festival I heard Peter James, Michael Robotham and Malla Nunn discuss their approaches to crime fiction and how their experiences feed their stories. Peter talked about his real life stalker of many years, who would turn up to every book signing and whom Peter regarded as harmless until she sent him a photo of her shrine to Peter James. It was a whole room full of author memorabilia. Understandably a bit worried, Peter contacted his friends in the Sussex Police who suggested he improved his home security. He did.

Not Dead Yet is a story about obsessive fans and their imaginary relationships with singer turned movie star, Gaia Lafayette. James presents the reader with a number of stalkers and when Gaia’s life is threatened, we are unsure about which of the crazy fans is the real danger. An attempt on her life is made before she leaves her Bel Air home to fly to Brighton, in the UK, the location of the movie she is to star in. Detective Superintendent Roy Grace of Sussex CID is placed in charge of her protection. James skillfully builds up huge pressure on Grace: not only is he investigating the discovery of a headless and limbless body, testifying at a London trial, and protecting Gaia – who insists on moving freely about the city – but someone is threatening his pregnant girlfriend. James pulls the various plot strands together, including the revelation of the connection between the headless body and the person threatening the movie star. Best of all, there is a lovely twist at the end when Grace finally confronts Gaia’s would-be murderer.

James utilises his knowledge of the movie industry (he used to be a Hollywood producer) to create convincingly gross and egotistical characters like Larry Brooker. Interestingly, he does not portray Gaia as an obnoxious star. In fact, she is sympathetic. Whereas the petty, vain, drug-addicted male lead, Judd Halpern, is the kind of actor you could understand any producer wanting to slap! Once again, James’ knowledge and research gives his stories great authenticity: the recruiting of movie extras, how security is managed on set, how detectives would go about identifying a headless, limbless body, and so on.

Most of all, I like the way James does not tie up all the loose ends. There is one very big question that remains unanswered. Naturally, it leaves me wanting to read the next Roy Grace novel.

When the author and I had tea together at the Sydney Writers’ Festival he confessed he found it hard to believe that 11 million copies of his books have been sold worldwide. I’m not surprised. Peter James is a great story teller.

Not Dead Yet is published by Macmillan.

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Readings review of thirst

July 12, 2012

Thank you to Fiona Hardy for a lovely review of THIRST in the Readings Review section: http://www.readings.com.au/review/thirst-by-a-l-larkin

This is always a nail-biting time as I wait to discover what thriller readers and reviewers think of my latest novel, THIRST. So to kick off with such positive feedback from Fiona at Readings has really made my day. From 1st August copies will start to appear in bookshops and I’ll be doing interviews and events. I love meeting enthusiastic thriller readers so I am really looking forward to the talks planned for August and September. I’ll be posting events details on this site, but if you belong to a library or a writers’ group and would like to organise a group get-together with me, then just let me know. I will do my best to attend if it is geographically possible!

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book review by Kerry Rogerson – Dean Koontz, The Good Guy

July 3, 2012

What would you do if you were mistaken for a hit man and handed an envelope with the details of the person to be eliminated?  Do you ignore it?  Or do you get involved?  That’s the huge dilemma facing Tim Carrier, essentially a good guy, hence the title of this thriller by Dean Koontz.

These lines had me hooked early:

       ‘I need to kill her, you know.’

‘You could just walk away.’

       ‘I’ve got an image to protect.’

‘Then kill me instead.’

       ‘All right. That works for me.’

The swift pace and ultra-serious subject matter are cleverly interlaced with a dry humour that keeps a realistic and compelling perspective to what is otherwise a typical chase story.  By typical, I mean it follows a theme often seen in the thriller: where nowhere is safe; when nobody can be trusted; and when ingenuity and honourable intentions are not enough to stay ahead of a ruthless killer with his own agenda.  In a very clever way the reader is carried along with the two central characters, both now on the run and in constant danger, who are not only likable but invest the reader in their ultimate welfare.

The bad guy in the book appears as an above average man of perhaps discerning tastes and admirable intelligence – at least at first glance – yet is unashamedly evil and hell bent on achieving his task.  He is in total opposition to the good guy – in fact, in a fascinating concept they almost resemble each other with unrelenting determination and an uncanny ability for resourcefulness, but for very different reasons.

What I found particularly interesting is how the two central characters and the evil assassin maintain their on-road costs; how they deal with moving about and hiding on a shoestring budget, or no budget at all, in order to keep flying under the radar of detection.  An assassin with the right contacts and a mission he is unnaturally determined to accomplish add to the mystery of what drives him, and why one seemingly ordinary woman has been targeted for elimination.

Dean Koontz is really the master of a good chase story.  The Good Guy could be a read-it-in-one-go book – but at the very least is close to impossible to put down.

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