AGED CARE ANTICS/MASTERMIND AT WORK/RIVETING CLI-FI SCENARIO AS WATER DRIES UP/LEAP OF FAITH FOR DEVOTED MOTHER
LOCAL TIME Fleur Lind AUSTIN MACAULEY $34.90
Fleur Lind works in aged care and this is her third book about an aged care home like no other – Carrisbrook. It is not clear whether this eccentric and unexpected community is the actual place where Lind works, or just where she would like to work. It is slightly confusing for those, like this reviewer, who have not read the first two books in the trilogy as events which occurred in those are integral to the action but are never explained. The most mysterious of these is the PTM which, by the end of the book, appears to be some kind of time travel machine but how it works is never explained. There are numerous oblique references to tomatoes and g-strings and embarrassing incidents concerned with them and to other life-changing experiences which also never come to light. The residents are an adventurous lot and their escapades make for good reading. While it is fun (despite the myriad spelling mistakes) it would be much more fun if you had read the first two and knew what was going on.
VERDICT: Start at the beginning
Garry Disher TEXT PUBLISHING, RRP $30
In this latest Wyatt outing from the everaccomplished and entertaining Garry Disher, the master thief is on to a good thing with a contact who can supply details of likely places to rob. But, as ever, Wyatt is meticulous in his planning and willing to walk away from a big payday if anything seems remotely off. For most members of the NSW police force, this menacing man does not even exist, such is the way Wyatt goes about his business, never lingering long in one place or doing anything to bring attention to himself. Only one cop sees a pattern in a number of recent thefts, but he’s a man of old-fashioned ways who has a boss with a whiteboard and action points rather than a nose for crime. But he’s not the only one who is after the man who seems to be able to disappear at will. Disher blends several threads in Wyatt’s latest misadventure on the way to proving that ever since Ned Kelly, there is a certain type of criminal for whom Australians always have a soft spot, and plenty of businessmen we’d all rather see in jail. BARRY REYNOLDS
VERDICT: CRIME PAYS
Neal and Jarrod Shusterman WALKER, RRP $17
Move over sci-fi, make way for cli-fi. The impending environmental disaster the world is ignoring has at least given us one green shoot — a rich seam of climate change fiction. Dry, aimed at young adults but still compelling for this old one, starts on the day the taps are turned off in California. A brawl over dwindling supply has seen the pipelines from Arizona plugged, and the logistics of shipping water means people will die before relief arrives. Alyssa and Garrett’s parents head to a desalination plant in search of water, but don’t return. Luckily, their neighbours are doomsday preppers. Unluckily, they aren’t inclined to share. It takes the intervention of the neighbours’ son Kelton before Alyssa and Garrett are welcomed in, but other neighbours are circling. In the ensuing chaos, Alyssa, Garrett and Kelton discover how desperate people can lose their morals. A film version of Dry is in development.
THE DREAM DAUGHTER Diane Chamberlain
MACMILLAN, RRP $25
Pregnant Carly Sears is devastated to discover her unborn daughter, her only link to her soldier husband lost in the Vietnam War, has a heart defect that cannot be repaired by the limited medical technology available in 1970. But her brother-in-law Hunter, a physicist with an uncanny ability to predict the future, suggests a shock solution — albeit with no guarantees of success or survival. It requires a huge leap of faith from Carly — one that will take her away from her family, possibly forever. Without giving too much away, this is historical fiction with a difference, combining unexpected twists and journeys with Carly’s unrelenting love, sacrifice and vision for her daughter. Chamberlain, a US author of more than two dozen best-selling novels, captures Carly’s courage, uncertainty and heartache entwined with the enormous risks and steps a mother will take to ensure her child’s safety, now and in the future.
VERDICT: A journey with heart