Category Archives: Rural noir

My year in books: Kristin Centorcelli aka My Bookish Ways

Next in the ‘my year in books’ series, I’m thrilled to welcome one of the coolest, nicest and most eclectic books reviewers around, Kristen Centorcelli, the woman behind the great site, My Bookish Ways.

Her site is a must read for fans of urban fantasy, horror and dark crime and suspense. The content is always good, her book selections are always varied and it’s a wonderful looking site, too.

Read her top five fiction reads for 2013 below and then head on over and check out her site.

Welcome Kristin.

Three Graves Full, Jamie Mason

It’s been about a year since Jason Getty killed a man and buried him in his backyard, and it’s eating him up inside. When two bodies are discovered on his property by his lawn service, two bodies that are not the man he buried, he’s not only shocked, but he feels like it’s only a matter of time until his dirty secret will certainly be revealed. Two detectives are on the case, and a woman whose fiancé recently disappeared is determined to find out what happened to him. All is connected, in the most terrifying ways. A quirky, fast paced, excellent read.

The Panther, Nelson DeMille

I’m a huge fan of DeMille’s John Corey series, and The Panther was not only an excellent read, but it was a riveting look into a country constantly on the brink. … Read more

Book review: Wake in Fright

Rural noir is big at the moment, if the interest in US writers like Donald Ray Pollock, Cormac McCarthy and Daniel Woodrell, is anything to go by.

While it is not be as well known, Kenneth Cook’s 1961 novel Wake in Fight is as good as anything that’s come out of the southern US, a searing story of masculinity, drinking and violence in regional Australia that still packs a punch today.

Fear of being trapped in the outback, as we call the vast expanse of harsh terrain that makes up the majority of Australia, is still semi hard-wired into the psyche of most city dwelling Australians. So, imagine how terrifying the prospect was in the sixties, when our interior was so much more remote and alien.

John Grant is a mild mannered teacher working in a tiny speck of a town called Tiboonda. Its isolation and distance from the coast has obliterated nearly all aspects of civilisation, except the ability of the local pub to keep the beer cold. As Grant puts it: “In the winter you wished for the summer, in the summer you wished for the winter, and all the time you wished to blazes you were a thousand miles from Tiboonda.”

Grant has six weeks leave ahead of him and 140 pounds in his pocket.… Read more

Rural noir

CrimesRural crime fiction is big at the moment.

US authors like Daniel Woodrell (Winter’s Bone and The Outlaw Album) have been writing “country noir” for years. Arguably people like Jim Thompson did it for a long time before him.

And the sub-genre has caught on big time in Australia. Think about the popularity of books like Chris Womersley’s Bereft and Honey Brown’s The Good Daughter.

Now Woodrell and others have got some stiff competition from the latest country noir sensation, Frank Bill, whose book Crimes in Southern Indiana is getting rave reviews in the States and is now even available in selected book shops in Australia.

Make no mistake, the 17 stories in Bill’s book are gritty, nasty and raw.

The collection kicks off with ‘Hill Clan Cross’, about the consequences of a drug deal gone wrong. ‘Them Old Bones’, one of bleakest and, for my money, best pieces, depicts a man who whores his daughter to pay for the cancer treatments of his wife.

‘Beautiful Even in Death’ starts off with a man killing his mistress in cold blood when she threatens to reveal their relationship. It’s a spur of the moment act that unbeknownst to him has been witnessed by his son.

You get the picture.… Read more