The Survivors by Jane Harper

A body on a beach.

Secrets that have been waiting to be uncovered for 12 years.

And a family torn apart by guilt and trauma…

Jane Harper’s latest book is set in Evelyn Bay, on the Tasmanian coast, where Kieran Elliot has returned to after twelve years. He left under strained circumstances following a major storm in which his older brother died along with the brother of his friend. Some people still blame Kieran for their deaths. The sister of another friend also disappeared that night and is presumed dead. When Kieran returns to his childhood home along with his wife Mia and young daughter, old tensions are unearthed.

When Bronte, a young waitress, is found dead on the beach following Kieran’s return, rumours of a serial killer spread through the community and everyone seems to have something to hide. As Kieran looks to the past to figure out what happened on the night of the storm, he uncovers some revelations that might be linked with the recent murder.

Like Harper’s previous novels, The Survivors features masterful and evocative descriptions of the sea and the cave system where Kieran explored with his friends when they were younger. The Survivors isn’t as fast paced as her previous books but it builds slowly to create a stifling atmosphere within a small town. The title of the book refers to a metal statue in the sea to commemorate a shipwreck a century ago. It serves as a reminder of the tragic past but it also watches over the town as a ghostly spectre. The title also refers to the people who survived the storm years before and the burden they carry with them afterwards.

Little, Brown, 22 September 2020

About the author

Jane Harper is the author of The Dry, winner of various awards including the 2015 Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for an Unpublished Manuscript, the 2017 Indie Award Book of the Year, the 2017 Australian Book Industry Awards Book of the Year Award and the CWA Gold Dagger Award for the best crime novel of 2017. Rights have been sold in 27 territories worldwide, and film rights optioned to Reese Witherspoon and Bruna Papandrea. Jane worked as a print journalist for thirteen years both in Australia and the UK and lives in Melbourne.

The Perfect Lie by Jo Spain

He jumped to his death in front of witnesses. Now his wife is charged with murder.

Five years ago, Erin Kennedy moved to New York following a family tragedy. She now lives happily with her detective husband in the scenic seaside town of Newport, Long Island. When Erin answers the door to Danny’s police colleagues one morning, it’s the start of an ordinary day. But behind her, Danny walks to the window of their fourth-floor apartment and jumps to his death.

Eighteen months later, Erin is in court, charged with her husband’s murder. Over that year and a half, Erin has learned things about Danny she could never have imagined. She thought he was perfect. She thought their life was perfect.

But it was all built on the perfect lie.

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When I Was Ten by Fiona Cummins

Twenty-one years ago, Dr Richard Carter and his wife Pamela were killed in what has become the most infamous double murder of the modern age.

Their ten year-old daughter – nicknamed the Angel of Death – spent eight years in a children’s secure unit and is living quietly under an assumed name with a family of her own.

Now, on the anniversary of the trial, a documentary team has tracked down her older sister, compelling her to break two decades of silence.

Her explosive interview sparks national headlines and journalist Brinley Booth, a childhood friend of the Carter sisters, is tasked with covering the news story.

For the first time, the three women are forced to confront what really happened that night – with devastating consequences for them all.

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Ask No Questions by Claire Allan

Not all secrets are meant to come out…

Twenty-five years ago, on Halloween night, eight-year-old Kelly Doherty went missing while out trick or treating with friends.
Her body was found three days later, floating face down, on the banks of the Creggan Reservoir by two of her young classmates.
It was a crime that rocked Derry to the core. Journalist Ingrid Devlin is investigating – but someone doesn’t want her to know the truth. As she digs further, Ingrid starts to realise that the Doherty family are not as they seem. But will she expose what really happened that night before it’s too late?

A twisty psychological thriller from bestselling author Claire Allan.

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The Dark Room by Sam Blake

Hare’s Landing, West Cork. A house full of mystery…

Rachel Lambert leaves London afraid for her personal safety and determined to uncover the truth behind the sudden death of a homeless man with links to a country house hotel called Hare’s Landing.

New York-based crime reporter Caroline Kelly’s career is threatened by a lawsuit and she needs some thinking space away from her job. But almost as soon as she arrives, Hare’s Landing begins to reveal its own stories – a 30-year-old missing person’s case and the mysterious death of the hotel’s former owner.

As Rachel and Caroline join forces, it becomes clear that their investigations are intertwined – and that there is nothing more dangerous than the truth…

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The Game by Luca Veste

I’ve always enjoyed Luca Veste’s books (see my review of Veste’s The Six). In The Game, Veste continues his commentary on contemporary urban myth as the eponymous game refers to the increasingly bizarre challenges that a group of people play that lead to their deaths. Since the book was published, we’ve all watched Crime Scene: The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel on Netflix which similarly features a woman acting strangely in a lift before she disappears. Similarly in The Game, the police have footage of some of the victims acting strangely in public and in lifts. The most shocking aspect of the book is that it is all too real in the last few years and it plays on our familiarity with the increasingly ridiculous social media crazes, pranks, and dares that we are so familiar with. The Game goes one step closer to show us how peer pressure could potentially manifest on the Dark Web.

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Cry Baby by Mark Billingham

It’s 1996. Detective Sergeant Tom Thorne is a haunted man. Haunted by the moment he ignored his instinct about a suspect, by the horrific crime that followed and by the memories that come day and night, in sunshine and shadow.

So when seven-year-old Kieron Coyne goes missing while playing in the woods with his best friend, Thorne vows he will not make the same mistake again. Cannot.

The solitary witness. The strange neighbour. The friendly teacher. All are in Thorne’s sights. 

This case will be the making of him . . . or the breaking.

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