Category Archives: mystery

Last minute book ideas for Dad

This year has whizzed by which means you can be completely forgiven for not realising that Father’s Day is this Sunday. Fear not, Team Booko is here to help take any last-minute-gift-panic away as we have rounded up some fantastic books to give Dad. Last week on the blog Karen shared six of the top selling books this Father’s Day (click here to read the blog post) and this week we have rustled up a further six titles that we know Dad would be happy to read. 

Be sure to double check the postage times, if it’s looking unlikely for your gift to be delivered in time, then you can always opt for the ebook version (who doesn’t love an instant download) or perhaps a gift voucher. Click here for the gift voucher options. 

CSI Told You Lies by Meshel Laurie

Meshel Laurie, host of the incredibly successful Australian True Crime podcast speaks to the forensic pathologists, homicide detectives, defence barristers and victims’ families in this moving and gripping study of violent crime and large scale natural disaster. CSI Told You Lies is a surprisingly moving account of the real forensic pathologists at the frontline of Australia’s major crime and disaster investigations. These are the men and women whose post-mortem examinations help the dead to speak. All of the forensic pathologists involved in the book are part of the team at the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine, (VIFM), a state-of-the-art facility in Melbourne created in the wake of the Lindy Chamberlain case. After reading CSI Told You Lies you’ll never read another homicide headline without thinking about the forensic pathologist who happened to be on call. You’ll never read another story about a murder trial or an inquest without acknowledging the forensic evidence and considering the brilliance and the sacrifice of the person who submitted it. You’ll never hear the terrible news of a disaster without imagining one of the characters in this book pulling a suitcase down from on top of a wardrobe and bidding farewell to their own family for who-knows-how-long.

You can buy the ebook version here

Pure Narco by Jesse Fink and Luis Navia

Careers in the cocaine-trafficking business are usually short. It’s not only a highly risky profession, fraught with the possibility of long jail sentences, but it can be deadly if the cartels get to you first. Not for Luis Antonio Navia. For 25 years the Cuban-American smuggled hundreds of tons of white powder for the biggest cartels in Colombia and Mexico, including Pablo Escobar’s Medellin Cartel. What made him good at his dangerous job was amassing trusted contacts, losing very few shipments of coke, and maintaining a low profile. He refused to carry a weapon. 

He also maintained a normal family life with a Colombian wife and two young children. But he was never far removed from the most brutal violence imaginable. One friend got his head cut off. Another was hit over the head, stuffed in a 55-gallon drum full of cement and dumped in a canal. Navia himself was kidnapped three times and went close to being fed alive to crocodiles. Somehow through it all he managed to survive and spent two decades fooling law-enforcement agencies until he came under the radar of Robert Harley, a tenacious US Customs special agent in Key West, Florida, who was determined to bring him to justice. What followed was an international game of cat-and-mouse that culminated in Navia’s 2000 capture in Venezuela in one of the biggest anti-narcotics takedowns of all time, the 12-nation Operation Journey. Spanning decades, continents and featuring a who’s who of the drug trade, Pure Narco is a fast-paced adventure ride into the dark underworld of cocaine trafficking, written with the cooperation of a dozen law-enforcement agents from the world’s top anti-narcotics forces in the United States and Great Britain.

Navia served his time in jail and is now free to tell his tale. His is the rare perspective of someone who has worked on both sides of that war: as a cocaine trafficker and US Government consultant. This book is a redemption story. Luis Navia, the pure narco, has gone full circle.

You can buy the ebook version here.

The Tribute by John Byron

A serial killer is stalking through Sydney, hell-bent on recreating scenes from the Fabrica, the 16th-century foundation text of modern European anatomy. The spate of cold, methodical attacks has the city on edge, but the serial killer may not even be the darkest player in this story. Desperate for a breakthrough, decorated homicide detective David Murphy draws into the case his art historian sister, Joanna, and his wife, Sylvia. Unravelling the mystery of who is behind the killings pushes each beyond the limits of what they thought possible. The Tribute is a subversive take on modern masculinity and misogyny told through an irresistible crime narrative. Dark and unpredictable, chilling but sympathetic, it weaves a tapestry of narrative threads towards a mesmerising climax that will challenge the way you think about everyone you meet. Meticulously researched, hugely ambitious and superbly crafted, The Tribute is one of the most outstanding crime novels of 2021.

You can buy the ebook version here.

Steve Hansen The Legacy by Gregor Paul

This one is for all our New Zealand Dadsand those who love rugby. 

The making of a New Zealand coaching great Steve Hansen: The Legacy delves into the highs and the lows that earned the New Zealand rugby knight a place in the pantheon of world rugby coaching greats. After 15 years in the All Blacks coaching team and 210 tests, he lost just 25 times. Of the 107 tests he served as head coach, Sir Steve accumulated a record four world rugby coach of the year awards and orchestrated 93 victories – a winning percentage of 87 per cent, the highest of any All Blacks coach. This revealing and insightful book delves into how Hansen dealt with the immeasurable pressure of leading the world’s most famous rugby team; the tension created by being re-appointed specifically to win the Rugby World Cup; how he dealt with high-profile athletes and an exodus of New Zealand’s all-time greats; how he transitioned away from the boarding-school culture of the Graham Henry era; the tug-of-war between commercialism and high performance; the increasing influence of referees on the game; the power battle between the northern and southern hemispheres; and how he eventually learnt to understand his weaknesses and use them to his advantage. In Steve Hansen: The Legacy, award-winning writer Gregor Paul tells the story of the former policeman from Mosgiel’s journey to greatness and his quest for world rugby dominance.

You can buy the ebook version here.

The Cellist by Daniel Silva

Master of international intrigue Daniel Silva follows up his acclaimed #1 New York Times bestsellers The Order, The New Girl, and The Other Woman with this riveting, action-packed tale of espionage and suspense featuring art restorer and spy Gabriel Allon. The fatal poisoning of a Russian billionaire sends Gabriel Allon on a dangerous journey across Europe and into the orbit of a musical virtuoso who may hold the key to the truth about his friend’s death. Allon uncovers leads to secret channels of money and influence that go to the very heart of Western democracy and threaten the stability of the global order. The Cellist is a breathtaking entry in Daniel Silva’s ‘outstanding series’ and reveals once more his superb artistry and genius for invention-and demonstrates why he belongs firmly alongside le Carre and Forsyth as one of the greatest spy novelists of all time.

You can buy the ebook version here.

The Ferals that Ate Australia by Guy Hull

Dangerous predators and ravenous herbivores: the story of Australia’s feral nightmare.

Isolation was once the impenetrable barrier that protected Australia and its unique fauna. But a little over two hundred years ago a foreign power took possession and brought with it the foreign animals that now dominate the country’s ecosystem. They are the enemy within. Since that time, around 10 per cent of Australia’s endemic terrestrial mammalian species have become extinct. Today Australia is dealing with the damage caused by all hard-hoofed animals, domestic and feral. Yet the bigger feral story is the ravages of acclimatisation, as new settlers tried to make the colony more like their homeland and released the rabbit, the fox, the hare, feral cats, common mynahs, starlings, sparrows, redfin perch, and the many other invasive species that have brought natural Australia to its knees. In this book, Guy Hull details the history and toll of the 45-odd foreign animal species that have contributed to the decimation of Australian species, their assault on land and agriculture, and the modern strategies that are, hopefully, reclaiming the country for our native fauna and all Australians.

You can buy the ebook version here.

Enjoy!

Six of the newest crime novels of 2021

There’s something about Winter that makes curling up to read a gripping crime novel seem so right. Maybe it’s because crime stories rarely take place in the summer or on a beach. Maybe it’s the rain and the dark afternoons and looming storms that create a sense of being in the thick of it. Well hold onto your hats and brace yourself for some sleepless nights – have we got some great novels to settle into! Below are six new crime novels hitting the market now. 

The lady With The Gun Asks The Questions by Kerry Greenwood

The Honourable Phryne Fisher – she of the Lulu bob, Cupid’s bow lips, diamante garters and pearl-handled pistol – is the 1920s’ most elegant and irrepressible sleuth. Miss Phryne Fisher is up to her stunning green eyes in intriguing crime in each of these entertaining, fun and compulsively readable stories. With the ever-loyal Dot, the ingenious Mr Butler and all of Phryne’s friends and household, the action is as fast as Phryne’s wit and logic. 

The Good Turn by Dervla McTiernan

The unputdownable new novel from the bestselling author of The Ruin and The Scholar. Police corruption, an investigation that ends in tragedy and the mystery of a little girl’s silence – three unconnected events that will prove to be linked by one small town. While Detective Cormac Reilly faces enemies at work and trouble in his personal life, Garda Peter Fisher is relocated out of Galway with the threat of prosecution hanging over his head. But even that is not as terrible as having to work for his overbearing father, the local copper for the pretty seaside town of Roundstone. For some, like Anna and her young daughter Tilly, Roundstone is a refuge from trauma. But even this village on the edge of the sea isn’t far enough to escape from the shadows of evil men.

Vanishing Falls by Poppy Gee

Celia Lily is rich, beautiful, and admired. She’s also missing. And the search for the glamorous socialite is about to expose all the dark, dirty secrets of Vanishing Falls…

Deep within the lush Tasmanian rainforest is the remote town of Vanishing Falls, a place with a storied past. The town’s showpiece, built in the 1800s, is its Calendar House, currently occupied by Jack Lily, a prominent art collector and landowner; his wife, Celia; and their four daughters. The elaborate, eccentrically designed mansion houses one masterpiece and 52 rooms and Celia Lily isn’t in any of them. She has vanished without a trace….

Joelle Smithton knows that a few folks in Vanishing Falls believe that she’s simple-minded. It’s true that Joelle’s brain works a little differently, a legacy of shocking childhood trauma. But Joelle sees far more than most people realise, and remembers details that others cast away. For instance, she knows that Celia’s husband, Jack, has connections to unsavory local characters whom he’s desperate to keep hidden. He’s not the only one in town with something to conceal. Even Joelle’s own husband, Brian, a butcher, is acting suspiciously. While the police flounder, unable to find Celia, Joelle is gradually parsing the truth from the gossip she hears and from the simple gestures and statements that can unwittingly reveal so much.

Just as the water from the falls disappears into the ground, gushing away through subterranean creeks, the secrets in Vanishing Falls are pulsing through the town, about to converge. And when they do, Joelle must summon the courage to reveal what really happened to Celia, even if it means exposing her own past…

The Chase by Candice Fox

Candice Fox has been described one of Australia’s finest new generation crime writers and her latest novel is another thrilling ride, as a mass prison breakout lets loose 650 of the country’s most dangerous prisoners. 

‘Are you listening, Warden?’ ‘What do you want?’ ‘I want you to let them out.’ ‘Which inmates are we talking about?’ ‘All of them.’ When 650 of the world’s most violent human beings pour out from Pronghorn Correctional Facility into the Nevada Desert, the biggest manhunt in US history begins. But for John Kradle, this is his one chance to prove his innocence, twenty-six years after the murder of his wife and child. He just needs to stay one step ahead of the teams of law enforcement officers he knows will be chasing the escapees down. Death Row Supervisor turned fugitive-hunter Celine Osbourne is single-minded in her mission to catch Kradle. She has very personal reasons for hating him, and she knows exactly where he’s heading

The Bone Code by Kathy Reichs

This is the lastest title in the Temperance Brennan series. A storm has hit South Carolina, dredging up crimes of the past. On the way to Isle of Palms, a barrier island off the South Carolina coast, forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan receives a call from the Charleston coroner. During the storm, a medical waste container has washed up on the beach. Inside are two decomposed bodies wrapped in plastic sheeting and bound with electrical wire. Chillingly, Tempe recognises many details as identical to those of an unsolved case she handled in Quebec fifteen years earlier. With a growing sense of foreboding, she flies to Montreal to gather evidence and convince her boss Pierre LaManch to reopen the cold case. She also seeks the advice, and comfort, of her longtime beau Andrew Ryan. Meanwhile, a storm of a different type gathers force in South Carolina. The citizens of Charleston are struck by a bacterium that, at its worst, can eat human flesh. Thousands panic and test themselves for a rare genetic mutation that may have rendered them vulnerable. Shockingly, Tempe eventually discovers that not only are the victims in both grisly murder cases related, but that the murders and the disease outbreak also have a common cause.

The Girl Remains by Katherine Firkin

Okay, so perhaps crime can occur on a beach

On the evening of September 22, 1998, three teenage girls venture out for a night of mischief in the coastal town of Blairgowrie. But only two return . . . For over twenty years the disappearance of fifteen-year-old Cecilia May remains a baffling cold case until human bones are discovered on an isolated beach. Now it’s up to Detective Emmett Corban and his team to dig up decades of trauma, and find the missing piece of an investigation that’s as complex as it is tragic. Does the answer lie with the only suspect, a registered sex offender who confessed, then immediately provided a rock-solid alibi? Or with the two teen survivors, neither of whom can keep their story straight? But the police aren’t the only ones hunting for the truth- someone else has arrived in the seaside town. And she’s prepared to do whatever it takes to find her own version of justice…

Enjoy!