The Great Divide by L.J.M. Owen

‘The boy plunged deeper between the rows of vines.’

In the small rural town of Dunton, in southern Tasmania, a woman’s body is found.  She’s quickly identified as the former headmistress of a children’s home, which was located nearby.  Who killed her, and why?  Her body quickly reveals some secrets of its own.

Newly arrived detective Jake Hunter is in charge of the investigation, but there is nothing straightforward in this case.  While he is able to interview two local women who were once residents of the children’s home, he is left with more questions than answers.  And some of the assistance he is getting locally is, well, surprising.  Dunton keeps its secrets well.  But Jake Hunter is persistent.  He needs to be: his search for the truth will lead to more bodies, more secrets and some horrific facts. He’s also an outsider, a ‘mainlander’, and has some issues of his own to deal with.

This Australian crime novel is quite a departure from L.J.M. Owen’s ‘Dr Pimms, Intermillenial Sleuth Series’.  The three novels so far published in that series are at the cozy end of the crime spectrum, whereas this novel definitely is not.  Gritty, grim and disturbing.  Unputdownable.

Jennifer Cameron-Smith



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