BOOK REVIEW: Wake by Shelley Burr

The Blurb (from Goodreads):

The tiny outback town of Nannine lies in the harsh red interior of Australia. Once a thriving center of stockyards and sheep stations, years of punishing drought have petrified the land and Nannine has been whittled down to no more than a stoplight, a couple bars, and a police station.

And it has another, more sinister claim to fame: the still-unsolved disappearance of young Evelyn McCreery nineteen years ago.

Mina McCreery's life has been defined by the intense public interest in her sister's case--which is still a hot topic in true-crime chat rooms and on social media. Now an anxious and reclusive adult, Mina lives alone on her family's sunbaked destocked sheep farm.

Enter Lane Holland, a young private investigator who dropped out of the police academy to earn a living cracking cold cases. Before she died, Mina's mother funded a million-dollar reward for anyone who could explain how Evelyn vanished from her bed in the family's farmhouse. The lure of cash has only increased public obsession with Evelyn and Mina--but yielded no answers.

Lane wins Mina's trust when some of his more unconventional methods show promise. But Lane also has darker motivations, and his obsession with the search will ultimately risk both their lives--and yield shocking results.

Compulsively readable, with an unforgettable setting and cast of characters, Wake is a powerful, unsparing story of how trauma ripples outward when people's private tragedies become public property, and how it's never too late for the truth to come out.

My Thoughts:

I love a good crime thriller, and am always on the lookout for one with masses of atmosphere, a clever premise, and lots of twists and turns. Wake, from debut Australian author Shelley Burr, was highly recommended to me and so I began it with a great deal of hopeful anticipation. It did not disappoint. Set in the hot red plains of outback Australia, it is a cold case investigation into the disappearance of a little girl from the bedroom she shared with her twin sister nineteen years earlier. Mina McCreery’s life has been defined by the mystery of her sister’s loss. She still lives in the old family house, and rarely ventures away from it. Every day she walks the property, searching for her sister’s bones. One day a private investigator comes, determined to crack the case and so win the million dollar reward. But his motivations are unclear. How far will he go to find the truth? What secret skeletons will he unearth? I was kept guessing right to the very end – just brilliant. 

Kate Forsyth
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