Wednesday, 10 March 2021

Book Review: Crackenback by Lee Christine

Lee Christine
A thrilling tale of snow-bound crime and suspense

Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Publication date: 1st February 2021
Genre: Crime / Mystery / Suspense
Pages: 272
RRP:$ 29.99AUD
Format read: Paperback
Source: Courtesy of the publisher
About the book
Detective Sergeant Pierce Ryder of the Sydney Homicide Squad is on the hunt for notorious fugitive Gavin Hutton.

After months of dead-ends, the breakthrough Ryder has been hoping for leads him back to the New South Wales Snowy Mountains on the trail of the suspected killer.

Meanwhile, when an injured man bursts into the remote Thredbo lodge managed by Eva Bell, her first instinct is to protect her daughter, Poppy. The terrifying arrival of Jack Walker turns Eva's world upside down as the consequences of Jack's presence become clear.

With a killer on the loose, Jack Walker and Ryder are tangled in the same treacherous web - spun across the perilously beautiful Crackenback Range.
My review
I haven't read Charlotte Pass, the first book featuring DS Pierce Ryder but it didn't impact my enjoyment of Crackenback as it read perfectly as a stand alone.
Pierce Ryder is working on a multiple murder case. They have sightings of a suspect at the scene of both murders however the man has managed to evade him. When another sighting is called in Ryder is headed to the Snowy Mountains to investigate.
As Eva Bell is preparing her remote lodge at Thredbo, for the next lot of lodgers to arrive, a man bursts into her home. He looks familiar but she hasn't seen him for years and she is terrified he wants her daughter Poppy.
Crackenback  was such an engaging read. I was hooked from the prologue! DS Pierce Ryder has a new recruit Detective Nerida Sterling who will be joining him and Detective Mitchell Flowers on this latest case. I loved the natural banter and ribbing between the detectives and how we got to know more about them through their conversations in the car. The police procedural came across as realistic with a lot of waiting around for information and piecing snippets of information together to further the case.
Coming from Sydney myself I found all the mentions of roads and landmarks from the Parramatta Police HQ to The Snowy engaging and easy to picture.
Reading this story during an Australian summer highlights how vividly Lee Christine depicts the cold and driving snow of the area during winter. At no time did I forget how bitterly cold it was and how isolated Eva was in her lodge. 
Jack Walker is a likeable protagonist and a large part of the story is Jack and Eva getting to know each other again and Jack connecting with 3 year old Poppy who he had only ever seen in photos.
Jack, as well as Ryder, is after the murderer and the tension builds as we are held in suspense, we know there is going to be an altercation but we don't know where, when or with whom. 
Crackenback held my attention from the start to finish. I found it tension filled and highly engaging. I will definitely be on the lookout for more from Lee Christine in the future. 
4.5 / 5                    ⭐⭐⭐⭐½
About the author 
Credit Goodreads
In 2009, former corporate trainer Lee Christine decided to turn her writing hobby into a series day job. Her first crime novel. the best selling Charlotte Pass, was published in 2020. She lives in Newcastle, New South Wales, with her husband and her Irish Wheaten Terrier.
Challenges entered: Australian Women Writers Challenge #AWW2021
                                 Aussie Author Challenge #AussieAuthor21
                                 Cloak and Dagger Challenge
                                 Aussie Crime Month  #SouthernCrossCrime2021
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