You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘Hachette’ tag.

Stephen M Irwin

Hachette Australia (2011)

ISBN: 978-0-7336-2713-2

Reviewed by Jason Nahrung

The Broken Ones is Brisbane writer Stephen M Irwin’s second novel, in which he builds on the skills shown in The Dark Path (2009) and realises much of the promise found there. Indeed, Hachette has signalled its confidence by slapping a moneyback guarantee on the cover. The publisher’s faith is well founded.

The story blends noir and horror and does it convincingly. It is set in a near future where ghosts have arisen, ushering in a dystopia of Blade Runner proportions across the globe. Everyone has a haunting spirit, an eyeless spectre in some way attached to their life. Facing the ghost of a dearly departed or even some apparent stranger, day in, day out: it gets on the nerves. Industry falls apart. Society frays. Rainy Brisbane is rendered into a broken down city of the have nots, the barely holding ons and the enclaved wealthy.

Oscar Mariani, a second-generation cop, has his own demons: an uneasy family background with its own non-supernatural skeletons in the closet, a bucket load of guilt, and the cold shoulder of the police department he works for. It doesn’t help that he’s an honest cop in a city where corruption is really just a dirty word for doing business.

Mariani’s life and career are brought to the edge when he investigates the murder of a young woman, her mangled body found inscribed with occult markings. The guilt runs not only all the way from the gutter to the city’s powerful, but into the spirit world as well.

There is much to like in this story.

Read the rest of this entry »

Anna North

Hachette/Virago (2011)

ISBN 978-1-84408-696-2

Reviewed by Jason Nahrung

America Pacifica is set in the future when North America faces annihilation from a new ice age. Presumably the rest of the world is also suffering, but the global situation is not of concern here. Rather, the big freeze is the catalyst and the backdrop to the events of the story. It was the freeze that sent boat loads of American environmental refugees, or settlers, led by the domineering Tyson, across the Pacific Ocean to an island. The island has no topography to speak of, but it’s big enough to take a population of around 20,000, though it’s a case of out of the blizzard and into the freezer for the citizens of America Pacifica, who quickly manage to stress their new world with the pollutive ills of the old.

This battle, between adaptation to changing environment against a determination to recreate the existing industrial complex, underpins the social stress that further informs the novel’s setting. America Pacifica is a society of extremes, from the rich elite to the abject poor. Occupying one of the lower rungs is Darcy, a teenage girl, and her mother, Sarah. The pair enjoy a largely self-contained existence in their drab apartment, but the mundane routine of working to eat and pay the rent is thrown into chaos when Sarah fails to come home one night. Darcy must make her way through the strata of her society, seeking clues to Sarah’s whereabouts, the facts of which are buried firmly in life back on the mainland. There is comment along the way about consumerism and hedonism and environmentalism, but the core is a daughter’s quest for the mother she comes to realise she barely knew at all.

Read the rest of this entry »

Trent Jamieson

Death Works Novel

Hachette (2010)

ISBN: 9780733624834

Reviewed by Tehani Wessely, June 2010

Steven de Selby is not your average hero. He’s mediocre at his job, he’s a disappointment to his parents, and he’s still moping about the girl who dumped him years ago. To be honest, Steve’s a bit of a loser. But his job is pretty unusual – Steve is a Psychopomp, or Pomp as they’re known – a person who draws the dead through to the Underworld and who stalls Stirrers, things that desperately desire to come in the other direction. When the entire Pomp organisation in Australia starts collapsing and almost every other Pomp in the region is murdered, Steve finds himself on the run, fighting for his life and the lives of those he loves. But who is the enemy, and how can he possibly beat such a powerful foe, one on a par with Death himself?

There is so much to like about this book. To begin with, I loved the very Australian feel to the story. Death Most Definite is set in contemporary Brisbane (mostly) and as someone who has spent time in that state capital, it was pretty cool to read about places I had visited as conduits to the underworld, or simply as part of the story. But it’s not just about the setting; the book feels Australian on so many levels – the dialogue is especially well done, being a realistic representation of Australian vernacular without dropping into “ockerness”. Jamieson has done an excellent job of ensuring the book at all times has a distinct Australian flavour, divergent entirely from American or British fellows.

Read the rest of this entry »

Latest Tweets

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.