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gr's Guide to Crime

Do you have a morbid fascination with all things criminal, thrilling and mysterious? So do we! This month we've put together a list of essential crime books. In this list you'll find books highly recommended by our team of reviewers, books that won or were shortlisted for awards, and books that have just come out. Need more? We've also collected our most fascinating articles and podcasts focused on crime. For lovers of fiction and non-fiction, we've got everything you need to get your crime fix. 


 

Tim AyeliffeState of Fear by Tim Ayliffe

John Bailey has a history of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. The former war correspondent has been kidnapped and tortured – twice. Finally he’s living something that resembles a normal life. But all that changes when a terrorist murders a woman in front of Bailey in London.

The mastermind behind the attack is Mustafa al-Baghdadi – No.1 on the FBI’s most wanted list – and the man who tortured Bailey in Fallujah a decade ago.

Mustafa has a deadly axe to grind with Bailey. He taunts him with threats of more attacks in other cities, closer to home. Back in Sydney, the people who matter most to Bailey have become targets.

Bailey turns to the only man who can help – ruthless CIA veteran Ronnie Johnson – to bring down the world’s most deadly terrorist.

Read an extract


The Arrangement by Robyn Harding 

Natalie, an art student in New York City, is struggling to pay her bills when a friend makes a suggestion: Why not find a sugar daddy – a wealthy, older man who will pay her for dates, and a monthly allowance. Gabe, a handsome finance attorney, seems like the perfect candidate and within a month they are madly in love. At least, Nat is – Gabe already has a family, who he has no intention of leaving. 

All that’s required is to look pretty. Sexual favours are optional. When he abruptly ends things, Nat can’t let go.

She begins drinking heavily and stalking Gabe and his family.

Their supposedly mutually beneficial arrangement devolves into a nightmare of deception, obsession and, when a body is found near Gabe’s Upper East Side apartment, murder.

Read an extract


Nicci FrenchThe Lying Room by Nicci French

A trusted colleague and friend. A mother. A wife. Neve Connolly is all these things.

She has also made mistakes; some small, some unconsciously done, some large, some deliberate. She is only human, after all. But now one mistake is spiralling out of control and Neve is bringing those around her into immense danger. She can’t tell the truth. So how far is she prepared to go to protect those she loves? And who does she really know? And who can she trust?

A liar. A cheat. A threat. Neve Connolly is all these things. Could she be a murderer?

Read our interview with Nicci French   


The Wife and the Widow by Christian White

Christian White

Set against the backdrop of an eerie island town in the dead of winter, The Wife and the Widow is a mystery/thriller told from two perspectives: Kate, a widow whose grief is compounded by what she learns about her dead husband’s secret life; and Abby, an island local whose world is turned upside down when she’s forced to confront the evidence that her husband is a murderer. But nothing on this island is quite as it seems, and only when these women come together can they discover the whole story about the men in their lives.

Brilliant and beguiling, The Wife and the Widow takes you to a cliff edge and asks the question: how well do we really know the people we love?

Read our interview with Christian White 

The Day the Lies Began by Kylie Kaden

It happened the day of the Moon Festival. It could have been left behind, they all could have moved on with their lives. But secrets have a habit of rising to the surface, especially in small towns.

Two couples, four ironclad friendships, the perfect coastal holiday town. With salt-stung houses perched like lifeguards overlooking the shore, Lago Point is the scene of postcards, not crime scenes. Wife and mother Abbi, town cop Blake, schoolteacher Hannah and local doctor Will are caught in their own tangled webs of deceit.

When the truth washes in to their beachside community, so do the judgements: victim, or vigilante, who will forgive, who will betray? Not all relationships survive. Nor do all residents.

 Read our Q&A with Kylie Kaden


Sarah bailey

Where the Dead Go by Sarah Bailey

A fifteen-year-old girl has gone missing after a party in the middle of the night. The following morning her boyfriend is found brutally murdered in his home. Was the girl responsible for the murder, or is she also a victim of the killer? But who would want two teenagers dead?


The aftermath of a personal tragedy finds police detective Gemma Woodstock in the coastal town of Fairhaven with her son Ben in tow. She has begged to be part of a murder investigation so she can bury herself in work rather than taking the time to grieve and figure out how to handle the next stage of her life - she now has serious family responsibilities she can no longer avoid. But Gemma also has ghosts she must lay to rest.

Gemma searches for answers, while navigating her son's grief and trying to overcome the hostility of her new colleagues. As the mystery deepens and old tensions and secrets come to light, Gemma is increasingly haunted by a similar missing persons case she worked on not long before. A case that ended in tragedy and made her question her instincts as a cop. Can she trust herself again?


Scrublands by Chris Hammer

In an isolated country town brought to its knees by endless drought, a charismatic and dedicated young priest calmly opens fire on his congregation, killing five parishioners before being shot dead himself.

A year later, troubled journalist Martin Scarsden arrives in Riversend to write a feature on the anniversary of the tragedy. But the stories he hears from the locals about the priest and incidents leading up to the shooting don't fit with the accepted version of events his own newspaper reported in an award-winning investigation. Martin can't ignore his doubts, nor the urgings of some locals to unearth the real reason behind the priest's deadly rampage.

Just as Martin believes he is making headway, a shocking new development rocks the town, which becomes the biggest story in Australia. The media descends on Riversend and Martin is now the one in the spotlight. His reasons for investigating the shooting have suddenly become very personal.Wrestling with his own demons, Martin finds himself risking everything to discover a truth that becomes darker and more complex with every twist. But there are powerful forces determined to stop him, and he has no idea how far they will go to make sure the town's secrets stay buried.
 


 

Breaking and Entering: Extraordinary Story of a Hacker Called 'Alien' by Jeremy N Smith

Hackers know everything about us. We know almost nothing about them. Until now.

The hacker now known as Alien entered MIT in 1998, intending to major in aerospace engineering. Almost immediately, she was recruited to join a secret student group scaling walls, breaking into buildings, pulling elaborate pranks, and exploring computer systems. Within a year, one of her hall mates was dead, two others were on trial, and three had been institutionalised. And Alien's adventures were only beginning.

Breaking and Entering is a whirlwind history of the last 20 years of hacking and cybersecurity. As Alien develops from teenage novice to international expert, she joins the secret vanguard of our digitised world, and reveals the forces at work behind our everyday technology.


The Suicide Bride by Tanya Bretherton

When the charlatan Alicks Sly murdered his wife, Ellie, and killed himself with a cut-throat razor in a house in Sydney's Newtown in early 1904, he set off a chain of events that could answer that question. He also left behind mysteries that might never be solved. Sociologist Dr Tanya Bretherton traces the brutal story of Ellie, one of many suicide brides in turn-of-the-century Sydney; of her husband, Alicks, and his family; and their three orphaned sons, adrift in the world.Whenever society produces a depraved criminal, we wonder: is it nature or is it nurture?

From the author of the acclaimed THE SUITCASE BABY - shortlisted for the 2018 Ned Kelly Award, Danger Prize and Waverley Library 'Nib' Award - comes another riveting true-crime case from Australia's dark past. THE SUICIDE BRIDE is a masterful exploration of criminality, insanity, violence and bloody family ties in bleak, post-Victorian Sydney.

 Shortlisted for the 2019 Danger Prize 



 Eggshell Skull by Bri Lee 

EGGSHELL SKULL: A well-established legal doctrine that a defendant must 'take their victim as they find them'. If a single punch kills someone because of their thin skull, that victim's weakness cannot mitigate the seriousness of the crime.But what if it also works the other way? What if a defendant on trial for sexual crimes has to accept his 'victim' as she comes: a strong, determined accuser who knows the legal system, who will not back down until justice is done?

Bri Lee began her first day of work at the Queensland District Court as a bright-eyed judge's associate. Two years later she was back as the complainant in her own case.

This is the story of Bri's journey through the Australian legal system; first as the daughter of a policeman, then as a law student, and finally as a judge's associate in both metropolitan and regional Queensland-where justice can look very different, especially for women. The injustice Bri witnessed, mourned and raged over every day finally forced her to confront her own personal history, one she'd vowed never to tell. And this is how, after years of struggle, she found herself on the other side of the courtroom, telling her story. Bri Lee has written a fierce and eloquent memoir that addresses both her own reckoning with the past as well as with the stories around her, to speak the truth with wit, empathy and unflinching courage. Eggshell Skull is a haunting appraisal of modern Australia from a new and essential voice.

 

A Stolen Life: The Bruce Trevorrow Case by Antonio Buti

On Christmas Day 1957, Joe Trevorrow walked through the blistering heat to seek help for his sick baby boy. When relatives agreed to take Bruce to hospital, Joe was relieved  his son was in safe hands  but, within days, Bruce would be living with another family, and Joe would never see his son again. At the age of ten, Bruce would be returned to his Indigenous family, sparking a lifelong search for an identity that could never truly be known and a court case that made history.


See What You Made Me Do: Power, Control and Domestic Abuse by Jess Hill

Domestic abuse is a national emergency: one in four Australian women has experienced violence from a man she was intimate with. But too often we ask the wrong question: why didn’t she leave? We should be asking: why did he do it?

Investigative journalist Jess Hill puts perpetrators – and the systems that enable them – in the spotlight. See What You Made Me Do is a deep dive into the abuse so many women and children experience – abuse that is often reinforced by the justice system they trust to protect them. Critically, it shows that we can drastically reduce domestic violence – not in generations to come, but today.

Combining forensic research with riveting storytelling, See What You Made Me Do radically rethinks how to confront the national crisis of fear and abuse in our homes.

Rated 5 stars by gr