Friday, 22 May 2020

Book Review: Six Minutes by Petronella McGovern

Six Minutes
Petronella McGovern

Publisher: Allen & Unwin 
Publication date: 1st July 2019
Genre: Msytery / Thriller
Pages: 432
RRP: $29.99AUD
Format read: Paperback 
Source: Won

One Thursday morning, Lexie Parker dashes to the shop for biscuits, leaving Bella in the safe care of the other mums in the playgroup.

Six minutes later, Bella is gone.

Police and media descend on the tiny village of Merrigang on the edge of Canberra. Locals unite to search the dense bushland. But as the investigation continues, relationships start to fracture, online hate messages target Lexie, and the community is engulfed by fear.

Is Bella's disappearance connected to the angry protests at Parliament House? What secrets are the parents hiding? And why does a local teacher keep a photo of Bella in his lounge-room?

Petronella McGovern’s debut novel Six Minutes is a cleverly plotted mystery. On the cover of my ARC it says “impossible to put down” and how true that was!

Lexie has separation anxiety, she won’t let three year old Bella out of her sight. Knowing that she needs to relax and let go a little she leaves Bella with the other playgroup mums and ducks to the shop to buy morning tea. When she returns, only six minutes later, Bella is gone and nobody saw her leave.

Petronella McGovern’s description of a playgroup’s atmosphere is well depicted. A group of mothers supporting each other, telling each other everything but still holding back their inner fears, their true selves.

Told through multiple points of view the main mystery is of Bella’s disappearance but as more people are questioned it looks like everyone has something to hide and not everyone is telling the truth.

I had a long list of suspects and as I read further, instead of crossing off names, I found myself adding more.
There is lots of finger pointing and most of it is at Lexie and her husband. McGovern shows through blog and Facebook posts that you can never escape the trolls and old hurts resurface to haunt Lexie and Marty. The strain on their relationship is realistically portrayed with both being careful not to lay blame when doubts set in.

Six Minutes is a compelling modern day domestic thriller.


Petronella McGovern grew up in a large family on a farm in New South Wales, Australia. Farmland and the bush feature strongly in her debut psychological thriller, Six Minutes. She has co-written two non-fiction books - a travelogue of the 1960s, For Love and a Beetle with Ivan Hodge; and an Olympic memoir, Trailblazers: Australia's First Olympic Equestrians with Wyatt Thompson.  

Author website  ||  Twitter  ||  Facebook  ||  Instagram 

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