Sunday 24 November 2019

Book Review: The Great Divide by L.J.M. Owen

The Great Divide
L.J.M. Owen

Twisted secrets, Hidden victims, Monstrous crimes

Publisher: Echo Publishing
Publication date: 4th November 2019
Genre: Crime / Mystery
Pages: 294
RRP: $29.99 AUD
Format read: C-Format Paperback 
Source: Courtesy of the publisher

In the rural Tasmanian town of Dunton, the body of a former headmistress of a children’s home is discovered, revealing a tortured life and death.
Detective Jake Hunter, newly-arrived, searches for her killer among past residents of the home. He unearths pain, secrets and broken adults. Pushing aside memories of his own treacherous past, Jake focuses all his energy on the investigation.
Why are some of the children untraceable? What caused such damage among the survivors?
The identity of the murderer seems hidden from Jake by Dunton’s fog of prejudice and lies, until he is forced to confront not only the town’s history but his own nature…

Detective Jake Hunter has moved from Melbourne to Dunton, a small country town in Tasmania. He wanted an easy country post to sit back and re-evaluate his life. However only a week in and he is on a murder case when an elderly resident is found dead in a vineyard. Ava O’Brien had run a girls home on the property for many years and appeared to be liked by everyone.

As Hunter continues his investigation more questions are raised about the girls home and a pool of potential suspects starts to mount. The more information Hunter gets the more baffling the case becomes. A murder investigation soon escalates to so much more. This small town is harbouring some shocking secrets.

The Great Divide is an atmospheric tale featuring small town mentality where everyone seems to be related in some way and the town has grissly secrets simmering below the surface. With themes of crimes against children, childhood trauma, PTSD, triggers for mental relapse and nepotism the story is hard to read at times.

This is not a thriller; it’s an intricate and cleverly plotted mystery that slowly unfolds, building on the suspense until its chilling ending.


My rating  5/5

This review is part of the Book Lover Book Review Aussie author challenge

and book #34 in the Australian Women Writers challenge

Photo credit: Goodreads
Dr L.J.M. Owen has escaped dark and shadowy days as a public servant to explore the comparatively lighter side of life: murder, mystery and forgotten women's history. An Australian author, archaeologist and librarian with a PhD in palaeogenetics, L.J. speaks five languages and has travelled extensively through Europe and Asia.

L.J. is the Festival Director of the Terror Australis Readers and Writers Festival, a celebration of literature and literacy in southern Tasmania.

In addition to writing and festival directing, L.J. is a panellist, interviewer, workshop provider and public speaker. Rare moments of free time are spent experimenting with ancient recipes…under strict feline supervision.

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