Small-town TER­ROR

New Zealand Woman’s Weekly - - READINGCORNER - Twists and turns! Nicky Pel­le­grino BOOKS EDI­TOR

A DEAD MOTHER FORCES ZOE TO RE­TURN HOME AND FACE A MORE EVIL MYSTERY

Ilove com­ing across a fab­u­lous new Kiwi au­thor. And Nikki Crutch­ley is def­i­nitely a talent. She writes crime thrillers that keep you read­ing late into the night, then leave you feel­ing too chilled to sleep.

Her lat­est, No One Can

Hear You, is set in a small New Zealand town called Craw­ton where young women keep dis­ap­pear­ing. Th­ese women live on the fringes. They have few friends and no fam­ily, no­body to no­tice they are miss­ing ex­cept one men­tally ill man who is liv­ing rough and an old woman with de­men­tia. When that woman, Lil­lian, is mur­dered, in a man­ner that makes it seem like sui­cide, her es­tranged daugh­ter is forced to re­turn to the home­town she fled from years ago.

There to bury her mother,

Zoe Hay­wood starts piec­ing to­gether the clues Lil­lian left around the house and re­alises some­thing is very wrong in Craw­ton. But who can she trust?

Zoe teams up with Faith, an old high school friend, to delve into the mystery, and the two quickly find them­selves drawn into a seedy un­der­world with their lives in dan­ger.

This has all the in­gre­di­ents of a good who­dunit: ten­sion, twists, se­crets and lies. It is dark stuff. But it also ex­plores re­la­tion­ships and in­vokes small­town life. It has a cast of real­is­tic, rounded char­ac­ters and a hero­ine worth hang­ing out with in the feisty but troubled Zoe.

It was self-pub­lished, so you might not find No One

Can Hear You in your lo­cal book­store. Ei­ther ask them to or­der it in or head to the nik­ki­crutch­ley.com.

I sus­pect some read­ers are put off read­ing fic­tion from New Zealand au­thors be­cause they as­sume it will be very lit­er­ary and hard work. To be fair, in the past a lot of it was.

But we need to get over that now be­cause writ­ers like Nikki are prov­ing that Ki­wis can write crime fic­tion that is just as grip­ping and dis­turb­ing as thrillers by bet­ter-known in­ter­na­tional au­thors.

No One Can Hear You by Nikki Crutch­ley (Oak House Press, RRP $31.99)

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