Book reviews: December 2019


The Deals on Wheels team reviews some of the latest titles to hit the bookshelves

Whisper Man

Alex North

Penguin Random House

$37

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Reviewed by Steve Atkinson

4/5 stars

Tom Kennedy is a recently widowed dad who sells up and moves with his young son to a small English village. Keeping in-step with real life and taking the advice of his six-year old, he purchases a scary-looking property where he subsequently finds out that rumour has it the house has a dubious past.

Tom’s young fella is an interesting piece of genetics, suggesting a personality located somewhere on the autism spectrum and this coupled with the kid’s ability to channel unseen presences notches things up on the weirdness gauge.

Going along with all this is a child abduction in the village that draws other well-thought-out characters who help track or protect the Whisper Man. It’s a well-put-together yarn.

Emerald Tablet

Meaghan Wilson Anastasios

$29.99

Reviewed by Steve Atkinson

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4/5 stars

Pretty boy tomb raider Benedict Hitchens ditches his girlfriend and his sweet mansion in Istanbul as he takes on a quest in the Middle East to recover a mysterious emerald tablet said to give power to those who are in possession of it. We’re talking changing lead to gold, perhaps water to wine, and all the trappings that go along with world domination to whoever owns the green piece of flattened rock.

Think Raiders of the Lost Ark but notched up a click or two for the modern hard-to-shock audience. Keeping in tune with the somewhat formulaic recipe is Benedict’s nemesis, in the form of his sultry ex-flame who has teamed up with a particularly nasty bunch of individual’s intent on being the ones to call the shots for our future.

Have they not read books like this in the past? Surely they know that the bad guys never win, however, we’re kept guessing to the end. It actually isn’t a bad bit of escapism for a few hours.

The Case Against Fragrance

Kate Grenville

Text Publishing

$24.99

Reviewed by Steve Atkinson

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3/5 stars

If you’re like me and apply copious amounts of aftershave following that well-deserved shower at the end of a hard work day, then it could pay to take a close look at what Australian author Kate Grenville has to say about the ingredients they put in our fragrances.

After suffering from ongoing headaches after perfuming up, Kate sniffed something was not right and her subsequent investigation turned up an extensive list of toxic synthetic substances that manufacturers use to produce affordable products.

Apparently, in a similar vein to The Colonel’s Secret Recipe, ingredients are not required to be listed and this is all ok with regulators. As I see it, the copious amounts of Old Spice and Brut 44 I have lathered my body with over the years could potentially be more damaging than the truck diesel fumes I suck in every day. Who would have thought?

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