Trust (Martin Scarsden #3) by Chris Hammer

‘I think it’s coming for us.’

Martin Scarsden, journalist and true crime writer, his girlfriend Mandalay (‘Mandy’) Blonde and her son Liam are settling into life at Port Silver (where Martin Scarsden #2 ended). Martin and Liam are on the beach. He picks up his phone: there is a voicemail from Mandy, a single scream. He rushes home. Mandy is missing, a man left unconscious on the floor.

Mandy has been drugged and abducted. Why, and by whom?

The answer rests in Mandy’s past, a past that she has not shared with Martin, a past she thought was far behind her. The answer is in Sydney.

‘Fewer know of its existence, fewer still know of its power.’

This is a fast-moving story which digs into Mandy’s past, into her relationship with a man who apparently stole millions from an investment bank and fled. But when his body is found in the foundations of a building, his involvement in the theft needs to be re-examined. Martin is asked to join his old editor, Max Fuller, in an investigation. But Max is killed, as is Elizabeth Torbett, a supreme court justice. Is it a murder-suicide? Martin wants answers.

Can Mandy trust Martin enough to tell him about the past? Can Martin find out what happened to Max Fuller and Elizabeth Torbett? There is plenty of suspense in this novel especially when Mandy and Martin join forces. Mr Hammer has peopled this novel with a fine mixture of characters: the good, the bad and the ugly. If you enjoy action filled novels, in a series where the main characters continue to develop, then I can recommend this.

Jennifer Cameron-Smith


2021 Aussie Author

Here’s another reading challenge for those of us who:

(a) like reading Australian authors, and

(b) like reading challenges.

Follow the link for more information:

Aussie Author Reading Challenge 2021

I’ll sign up to the Emu Level:


Read and review 24 titles written by Australian Authors of which at least 10 of those authors are female, at least 10 of those authors are male, and at least 10 of those authors are new to you; Fiction or non-fiction, at least 4 different genres.


A Time to Die by Hilda Lawrence

‘It was five o’clock in the afternoon and the burning August sun still registered contempt for time.’

Detective Mark East is taking a two-week holiday: one week in Bear River with Perley and Pany Wilcox, and one week in nearby Crestwood with Bessy Petty and Beulah Pond.  They had helped him on an earlier case during winter.  But now, in the heat of summer, he is feeling some regret.

As he walks down the Main Street, he sees a sign in the window of J T Spangler, Photographer:


He asks Mr Spangler to remove the photograph.  Mark East thinks the photograph should be removed because it reminds people of things that should be forgotten.  Mr Spangler wanted to keep it because it helps his earnings.  The photograph is removed, but not the sign.

Mark East is then collected by his host’s son, Floyd.

That evening, they attend a Covered Dish Supper.  One of the guests is wounded by an arrow, another is missing.  Mark East really does not want to get involved in the missing person case, but when a body is discovered, he cannot walk away.

It seems clear that the murderer is one of the guests staying at a nearby hotel, but which one and why?

I really enjoyed this mystery.  Nearly every guest has a secret (or two), and Mark East must sift through those secrets to identify the murderer.  The tension builds: others may also be at risk as Detective East gets closer to the truth.   In a book peopled with interesting (and complex) characters, I did not work out who the murderer was until close to the end.

This book was first published in 1945 and is the second of three books to feature Detective Mark East.

Note: My thanks to NetGalley and Agora Books for providing me with a free electronic copy of this book for review purposes. 

Jennifer Cameron-Smith


2020 ABIA Book of the Year shortlists

Some great reads here!

ANZ LitLovers LitBlog

The 2020 ABIA Book of the Year shortlists have just been announced.
Congratulations to the winners of the two Hall of Fame Awards, Helen Garner as the recipient of the Lloyd O’Neil Award for outstanding contribution to the industry and Erica Wagner as the recipient of the Pixie O’Harris Award for exceptional contribution to Children’s Literature. Congratulations also to Hazel Lam from Harper Collins as the recipient of the 2020 Rising Star Award – an award that recognises emerging talent in the industry.

Literary Fiction Book of the Year
Damascus, Christos Tsiolkas (Allen & Unwin, Allen & Unwin)
The Weekend, Charlotte Wood (Allen & Unwin, Allen & Unwin), see my review
The Yield, Tara June Winch (Penguin Random House Australia, Hamish Hamilton), see my review
There Was Still Love, Favel Parrett (Hachette Australia, Hachette Australia), see my review
Wolfe Island, Lucy Treloar (Pan Macmillan Australia, Picador Australia), see my review

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2020 Indie Book Awards winners

Some excellent books here! I’m delighted that ‘There Was Still Love’ won.

ANZ LitLovers LitBlog

The ceremony may have been a bit subdued because of social distancing rules, but there was plenty of jubilation for the winners when the 2020 Indie Book Awards were announced.

Winners are in bold.  There Was Still Love was the overall winner as well as winner of the Fiction category.



  • Your Own Kind of Girl (Clare Bowditch, A&U), see Theresa’s review at Theresa Smith Writes
  • 488 Rules for Life: The thankless art of being correct (Kitty Flanagan, A&U)
  • Tell Me Why (Archie Roach, S&S)
  • Sand Talk: How Indigenous thinking can save the world

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NSW Premier’s Literary Awards 2020 shortlists

I have read some of these. Some great books here!

ANZ LitLovers LitBlog

Thanks to Brona from Brona’s Books and Books and Publishing for the heads-up…

NSW Premier’s Literary Awards 2020 shortlists announced

The shortlists for the 2020 NSW Premier’s Literary Awards have been announced.

The shortlisted titles in each category are:

Christina Stead Prize for Fiction ($40,000) 

Multicultural NSW Award ($20,000)

  • Growing Up African in Australia (ed by Maxine Beneba Clarke, Black Inc.), see my review
  • Room for a Stranger (Melanie Cheng, Text), see my review
  • White Tears/Brown Scars (Ruby Hamad, MUP)
  • Australianama: The South Asian Odyssey in Australia (Samia Khatun, UQP)
  • The Pillars

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Ten Bookish Things to do while self-isolated at home

Here are some wonderful bookish suggestions!

ANZ LitLovers LitBlog

The Reader by Fragonard (Wikipedia*)

First of all, remember this: you are not alone.  You may be by yourself, but you do not have to be lonely.  There is a vast army of readers out there who love books and will happily chat about them and anything even remotely bookish.  If you’re not already part of the virtual bookish community, you can find people via social media, especially via Book Blogs and at Good Reads or Library Thing where you can search groups who share your tastes.  (There are also sites at Instagram but I don’t play in that sandpit).

And if you are here reading this, then you’re already on your way… say hello in comments below!

Here are ten suggestions that will keep you busy if you have to stay home for 14 days.

1. Join a reading group.  There are thousands of them.  You can find them…

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Autumn Book Binge 2020

For those of us looking to do more reading ….

ANZ LitLovers LitBlog

The State Library of Victoria has, with perfect timing, come up with an activity to amuse us during the social distancing period for COVID_19. It’s their Autumn Book Binge 2020.

Ok, I know, there are some places in the world where it isn’t autumn.  That’s a pity, it’s a most beautiful time of the year here in Melbourne, but you can still join in if you like, and (I know I’m going to regret this, because the postage will be spectacular) for one lucky participant who blogs their reviews, I am going to draw a winner from those who complete the challenge to win my surplus-to-requirements copy of Hilary Mantel’s A Place of Greater Safety.  (Readings sent me a free copy along with my copy of The Mirror and the Light, but I already had it).

You can read about the Autumn Book Binge here, and pick…

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