From our reviewers: General fiction

Five Days
By Douglas Kennedy (Random House, RRP $30)

Reviewed by Nadine Hancock

Douglas Kennedy is not an author I was familiar with until now. Looking at the cover presented to me, I could only make assumptions that Kennedy was the type of author to write about romance, erotica or possibly some sort of soft thriller. Surprisingly, he was much more.

Reminiscent of 1945 film Brief Encounter, Five Days tells the story of two people who are in loveless, miserable marriages who by chance meet one weekend and fall in love.

It tackles subjects like loyalty, family, trust and, yes, love.

Its title is perfect given that Douglas' story also questions how important timing is in life.

Do not pick this up if you are expecting a sappy romantic story.

Instead, pick it up and be surprised at how well this literary gem explores how an accidental meeting changes the lives of two people.

The Garden of Burning Sand
By Corban Addison (Macmillan, $38)

Reviewed by Michelle Lee

A novel set in Africa with a special needs child attacked - a male author penning the thoughts and desires of a female ... didn't like the sound of it at all - but I gave it a go and was pleased that I did.

Set in Zambia the reader is, from page one, thrown into a terrifying crime - an adolescent girl is sexually assaulted and left to wander the streets alone and scared.

In steps Zoe Fleming, a human rights lawyer working in Africa. Zoe, along with a team of lawyers and a police officer, is determined to seek justice.

However, corruption is alive and well and living in many courtrooms in Africa . . . at times justice seems out of reach.

But as the story progresses it's apparent that Zoe has her own demons to deal with.

The Garden of Burning Sand, is a beautifully written story about culture, crime and blossoming love. Highly recommended read.

The Nightmare
By Lars Kepler (Blue Door, RRP $37)

Reviewed by Jillian Allison-Aitken

This sequel to The Hypnotist sees Detective Joona Linna, of the Stockholm police, return but this time as the main character.

Two different cases vie for the attention of Detective Linna: the death of a government official, which may or may not be suicide, and the drowning death of a young woman, her body found on an abandoned boat. At first glance, there appears to be no connection between the two deaths but Detective Linna's suspicions are raised and he soon discovers the dead woman is the sister of a spokeswoman for a peace organisation, while the dead man was in charge of the Swedish Arms Committee.

The complexity of the narrative can be hard work at times but the story is compelling enough to be worth the effort.

I'm looking forward to reading the next in the series.