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By TIM WINTON Pi­cador When teenager Jaxie Clack­ton’s phys­i­cally abu­sive fa­ther dies in a freak ac­ci­dent – shortly af­ter his beloved mother dies of can­cer – he flees to see the fe­male cousin he be­lieves is the only per­son in the world who un­der­stands him.

But to get to her he’ll have to cross the un­for­giv­ing, sear­ing salt lands of West­ern Aus­tralia – dan­ger­ous coun­try where, if the heat doesn’t kill you, the rough char­ac­ters who in­habit it might.

Jaxie stum­bles across a re­mote hut oc­cu­pied by an enig­matic el­derly priest liv­ing in ex­ile for rea­sons he re­fuses to di­vulge, and the boy and man slowly de­velop a mu­tual re­spect borne of their com­mon need to sur­vive. But when the young trav­eller dis­cov­ers a se­cret un­der­ground bunker while out hunt­ing he knows their days of rel­a­tive peace are over . . .

This new mas­ter­piece from one of Down Un­der’s most bril­liant con­tem­po­rary nov­el­ists bris­tles with feral slang as tough as the area it de­scribes. It’s a bru­tal comin­gof-age book about sac­ri­fice and the value of hu­man­ity in a sav­age world. Read it. – JOHN PHILLIPS


By FRANK TALLIS Lit­tle, Brown Psy­chol­o­gist Frank Tallis opens the door to his con­sult­ing rooms to give us a glimpse of what re­ally goes on in ther­apy. If you be­lieve in love at first sight, have ever had a bro­ken heart or done ir­ra­tional things to ful­fil your de­sires, then this book is the per­fect way to de­bunk the myths about love, emo­tions and re­la­tion­ships.

Tallis takes it back to the dis­cov­er­ies and the­o­ries of the god­fa­thers of psy­chol­ogy, Josef Breuer and Sig­mund Freud, and shows how di­ag­noses and treat­ments have evolved.

While the cases are funny and some­times down­right odd – like that of a mar­ried woman who in­stantly fell in love with her den­tist af­ter a pro­ce­dure and then started stalk­ing him, or the man who loved him­self so much he couldn’t be in a re­la­tion­ship with an­other per­son – the book is highly in­for­ma­tive.

Un­like most psy­chol­ogy books it’s easy to read. You get a broad view of love and why it’s such a com­plex emo­tion, and by the end you walk away feel­ing you could make a di­ag­no­sis or two your­self! – NONHLANHLA KHUMALO


By STEPHEN LEATHER Hod­der & Stoughton In New York a plane is blasted out of the sky by a mis­sile fired by ter­ror­ists. More than 300 pas­sen­gers are killed.

To­tally by chance the five ter­ror­ists stop at a shop­ping cen­tre where a se­cu­rity guard – who just hap­pens to be an ex-US Navy Seal – no­tices them and sin­gle-hand­edly kills one and cap­tures two. Two oth­ers, in­clud­ing the mas­ter­mind, Sal­adin, get away.

Richard Yokely, a shad­owy fig­ure in the Amer­i­can se­cu­rity ap­pa­ra­tus, gets the job to kill the re­main­ing ter­ror­ists and any­one who helped them.

Ten years later a ter­ror­ist blows him­self up at a soc­cer game in Eng­land. Dozens are killed. This at­tack was also or­ches­trated by Sal­adin. This time the head of MI5 wants re­venge, not jus­tice.

Read­ers may find the many killings gra­tu­itous and be shocked by the idea of the ex­e­cu­tion of ter­ror­ists with­out a fair trial.

All the bad guys in this book are Mus­lims and they get killed with ob­vi­ous rel­ish by the “good guys”.

If you pre­fer less bloody read­ing ma­te­rial and plots that are more nu­anced, stay away. – AN­DRÉ J BRINK


By SABAA TAHIR Pen­guin In the highly an­tic­i­pated third book in Tahir’s An Em­ber in the Ashes se­ries, things are look­ing dire for Laia, Elias and He­lene.

They’ve each found them­selves thrust into ter­ri­fy­ing new roles – Laia as fig­ure­head of the Scholar re­sis­tance, Elias as the im­mor­tal Soul Catcher and He­lene as the vi­cious new em­peror’s Blood Shrike.

The lines be­tween good and evil start to blur and the three pro­tag­o­nist find them­selves at odds with one an­other.

He­lene must deal with the Com­man­dant’s machi­na­tions and the em­peror’s grow­ing mad­ness, while she tries to stop the Mar­tial em­pire from crum­bling and keep his wife – her sis­ter – safe.

Elias faces a heart­break­ing choice. Laia trav­els to the east, where she meets fas­ci­nat­ing new al­lies, as she seeks a way to bring down the Night­bringer.

Tahir ties up a few loose ends in the third in­stal­ment in her quar­tet and in­tro­duces enig­matic new char­ac­ters, but these un­ex­pected twists and turns cause a lot of headaches for the main pro­tag­o­nists. The re­sult makes for a thrilling – if rather frus­trat­ing – read. – KIRSTIN BUICK

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