Tag Archives: Geoffrey McGeachin

My year in books: Margot Kinberg

For the second instalment of my year in books series, I’m very happy to welcome Margot Kinberg. Margot is one of those people who make the crime fiction community such a cool place to hang out in, a mystery novelist who has a genuine passion for reading, writing and talking about crime fiction. She has a wonderful website, Confessions of Mystery Novelist. It’s full of thoughtful reviews and features on a truly eclectic selection of crime fiction. You can check it out here.

Welcome Margot.

Thanks very much for hosting me, Andrew; it’s a real honour. I’ve been asked to share my five best crime fiction reads of 2013 and to tell the truth, that’s quite a difficult undertaking. I’ve read some fantastic crime fiction this year and it’s very hard to narrow it down to just five novels. Let’s say, then, that these are five novels that have had a profound impact on me. Here they are in no particular order:

Witness the Night, Kishwar Desai

This astounding debut novel tells the story of the murders of thirteen members of the wealthy Atwal family, and the efforts of one social worker to find out what happened on the night they died. It’s an unflinching look at life in Punjab, at the choices people make and why they make them, and at the effects of class, wealth and prejudice.… Read more

Blackwattle Creek – a rereading of the Ned Kelly award winner 2013

BlackwattleBuried beneath the hysteria of last Saturday’s federal election was another vote, the 2013 Ned Kelly awards for Australian crime writing. It was a night of firsts: the first year e-books were eligible, the first time the Neddies have taken place in Brisbane, and the first under the umbrella of the recently formed Australian Crime Writers Association.

But for Geoffrey McGeachin, the recipient of the top award, Best Fiction, it was very much a matter of second time around. His winning book Blackwattle Creek focuses on Detective Sergeant Charlie Berlin, a policeman in fifties Melbourne. The first in the Berlin series, The Diggers Rest Hotel, took home the Neddie for best first crime fiction in 2011.

Read the rest of this piece here at the Guardian Australia’s Oz Culture Blog.

Book review: Black Wattle Creek

Black Wattle Creek is the second book by Geoffrey McGeachin to feature Detective Sergeant Charlie Berlin, a cop on the beat in fifties Melbourne. The first, The Diggers Rest Hotel, won the Ned Kelly award for best first crime fiction in 2011,

The second instalment is set in 1957. There’s hardly a mean street to be found. Melbourne slumbers, as does the rest of the country in a period of post-war peace and prosperity (the fifties are referred to by some as Australia’s ‘lost decade’). Or so it appears, as dark shadows are on the horizon, the threat of communism and growing political instability in South East Asia.

Berlin has a week’s leave owed him but any plans he has to take it easy are derailed when his wife asks him to look into the matter of a dead serviceman, the husband of a friend of hers, who turned up to his own funeral missing a leg and no one knows why.

His off the books investigation leads to a dodgy funeral parlour and to Black Wattle Creek, a former asylum for the criminally insane. When his off sider on the force is beaten and left for dead and Berlin is warned off his inquiries by a couple of thuggish Special Branch cops, we assume it is connected to whatever is going on at Black Wattle.… Read more

New crime anthologies and Ned Kelly Awards

An interesting trend that seems to be occurring parallel with the rise of e-publishing is the growing popularity of short story anthologies.

I’m told by people who know about these things, that anthologies are not popular with mainstream publishers. Well, e-publishing is now allowing small niche publishers to get their product out there.

Exhibits A and B are two upcoming crime anthologies, both of which I have stories in.

In September, the first Crime Factory anthology will be available through US indie crime publisher, New Pulp Press.

Crime Factory: The First Shift contains 28 noir stories from established and emerging authors in the US, UK, South Africa and Australia. There’s names Australian crime readers may be familiar with, including Ken Bruen (author of The White Trilogy and London Boulevard), Adrian McKinty (Falling Glass), and local writer, Leigh Redhead (Thrill City).

First Shift is also a chance for Australian audiences to check out several members of the new wave of noir writers in the United States who are relatively unknown here, including Hilary Davidson, Dave Zeltserman, Scott Wolven and Dennis Tafoya. South African writer, Roger Smith, whose upcoming book Dust Devils is on my to read list, also contributed a story.

You can pre-order Crime Factory: The First Shift here at Barns and Noble and Amazon.… Read more