Book Chooks

They're faster than a speeding bookmark, more powerful than the glue on the pricetag on the cover of your favourite book and able to leap tall paperbacks in a single bound ... and they read. A lot. Jillian Allison-Aitken and Nadine Hancock are the Book Chooks.

Beckett thriller hits the ground running

05:00am 18 Sep 2014

JILLIAN ALLISON-AITKEN

BOOK REVIEW: Stone Bruises
By Simon Beckett (Bantam Press, RRP $38)

With the mystery and intrigue kicking off from the very first page, we meet the book's main character Sean as he is on the run, but with no indication of why or from whom.

He is driving in something of a panic, a bit battered and bruised and in a car that is about to run out of gas in the middle of nowhere.

But what it lacks in fuel, it makes up for in blood, which is apparently smeared across the seats, the iron- rich smell permeating the stifling air of the car.

It's hot, isolated and miserable. And, yes, he does run out of gas.

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Mystery that will keep you guessing

08:30am 11 Sep 2014

JILLIAN ALLISON-AITKEN

BOOK REVIEW: The Stranger You Know
By Jane Casey (Ebury Press, RRP $38)

Three women have been murdered in their own homes, all have been strangled with no sign of a break-in.

For Detective Constable Maeve Kerrigan, it looks like the victims must have let their killer in because they knew him.

And worst of all, it also looks like the sadistic killer could be someone she knows: her colleague Josh Derwent.

And it's not the first time Derwent has been accused of murder.

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Thriller with the good, the bad and the ugly

05:00am 10 Sep 2014

JILLIAN ALLISON-AITKEN

BOOK REVIEW: Bad Blood
By Arne Dahl (Harvill Secker, RRP $37)

For years, the "Kentucky Killer" managed to elude the FBI, leaving a trail of victims with terrible injuries that haunted the agents looking for him.

With a method of highly specialised method of torture secretly developed during the Vietnam War, the Kentucky Killer had an easily recognised signature when it came to killing. And the one comfort for the agents hunting him was the belief that the killer was now dead.

But all that is about to change: the body of a Swedish literary critic is found at Newark Airport and police realise the killer has boarded a flight to Stockholm using the victim's ticket and identity.

Swedish Detective Paul Hjelm and his team are called in to try and catch the American serial killer who is now on the loose in Sweden.

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Hilarity amid deluded need for bucket list

05:00am 08 Sep 2014

JILLIAN ALLISON-AITKEN

BOOK REVIEW: When Mr Dog Bites
By Brian Conaghan (Bloomsbury, RRP $29)

Life for the average 16-year-old can be pretty tough, and for Dylan Mint, it is tougher than most.

Dylan isn't particularly average. In fact, he has Tourette's and his life is a constant battle to control his swearing, his tics, and - when he's under stress - his howling like a dog.

Could things be any worse for Dylan? Well yes, they could. During a routine hospital visit he overhears a conversation between his mother and the doctor that leads him to the conclusion he is dying. And soon.

On the strength of that he draws himself up something of a bucket list and proceeds to attempt to tick off the most important goals he has for his short life in the form of his three "cool things to do before I cack it".

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Gory, dark but compelling

05:00am 04 Sep 2014

JILLIAN ALLISON-AITKEN

BOOK REVIEW: A Song for the Dying
By Stuart MacBride (HarperCollins, RRP $35)

Scottish author Stuart MacBride has delivered yet another gritty, gruesome and somewhat uncomfortable murder mystery in A Song for the Dying.

Detective Inspector Ash Henderson was on the trail of a brutal killer dubbed "the Inside Man", who abducted and killed four women, and left a further three in critical condition with their stomachs slit open and a plastic doll stitched inside before simply disappearing.

Fast forward eight years, and Henderson's life is a mess: his family has been torn apart, his career is in ruins and a vicious criminal is making sure he spends the rest of his life in prison. Then, a dead woman turns up with a doll stitched inside her and Dr Alice McDonald realises those investigating that murder might just need the help of the one man who has experience in hunting this brutal killer: Henderson.

She convinces the authorities and Henderson is freed to work with the investigating team.

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