Dark Paradise by Catherine Lee

A novella from one of my most favourite Australian writers!

Dark Paradise by Catherine Lee

‘It was barely lunch time and Detective Charlie Cooper was already exhausted.’

And he’s about to find that rest will become even more elusive!  Cooper and Quinn find themselves on remote Lord Howe Island, after a contestant on a reality television show called ‘Transformation in Paradise’ turns up dead.  Is it an accidental death, or is it murder?  There’s plenty of pressure on Cooper and Quinn to find out what happened, and to solve the case quickly.  The reality show producers want the show to continue, as to the remaining contestants.  There’s a million-dollar prize on offer.

From the beginning, Cooper and Quinn find the case challenging.  Lord Howe Island doesn’t have immediate access to the resources needed for their investigation, and almost everyone they encounter seems to have something to hide.  No-one seems to have liked the dead contestant very much.

Ms Lee delivers another fast-paced story, providing just enough information to keep me guessing about what happened and why.  A couple of possibilities become red herrings (naturally!) and the outcome is neatly satisfying.  But don’t take my word for it, read the novella for yourself.  If you’ve not previously read Ms Lee’s novels, this novella could be read as a standalone introduction to Cooper and Quinn.  It could be, but I strongly recommend reading each book in the series.  Ms Lee has developed two very likeable main characters and each of the novels explores crimes set amidst topical issues.

Note: I was fortunate enough to receive a free Advanced Reader Copy of this novella for review purposes.

Jennifer Cameron-Smith