A dose of 1920s glamour …

The May issue of Bookseller+Publisher is hot off the press, with a lovely cover to celebrate the July publication of Sulari Gentill’s second Rowland Sinclair mystery A Decline in Prophets (Pantera Press), which reviewer Pip Newling describes as ‘historical crime with a healthy dose of 1920s glamour, wit and social history’. It’s very on trend, we think, with the buzz around prohibition-era TV drama Boardwalk Empire.

But what else do our reviewers recommend?

The Life (Malcolm Knox, A&U, June)
Reviewer Jo Case found Malcolm Knox’s latest novel a ‘deeply rewarding and utterly absorbing’ puzzle of a book. It’s the story of washed-up former surfing champ Dennis Keith, who is being interviewed by a journalist he nicknames ‘The BFO’ or ‘my Bi-Fricken-Ographer’. Case admires the ‘spiky, roughly hewn prose, rich with surf slang and wordplay, often breaking into sets of sentences that read like a kind of poetry’, as well as Knox’s expert ability to inhabit this ‘idiosyncratic, deeply sensitive, equally aggressive’ character.

Love, Honour and O’Brien (Jennifer Rowe, A&U, June)
‘When Holly Love decides to hunt down Andrew McNish, the fiancé who disappeared under mysterious circumstances and took all of her savings with him, she doesn’t realise that it’s the first step on a madcap ride that will lead her to an eccentric little town in the Blue Mountains, or that she will end up accidentally posing as a private investigator while sharing living space with a psychic, a sweet-natured elderly phone sex worker and a parrot,’ writes reviewer Jarrah Moore, who found Jennifer Rowe’s ‘cast-of-quirky-characters mystery’ ‘endearing and highly enjoyable’.

The Vanishing Act (Mette Jakobsen, Text, July)
The debut novel from Danish-born, Australia-based author Mette Jakobsen won five stars from reviewer Felicity McLean, who describes it as a ‘quixotic story’ that ‘explores the delicate dance between logic and imagination through the minutia of island life’. ‘The Vanishing Act introduces readers to a wonderland of characters so quirky it seems inconceivable they share the same 240 pages,’ she writes. ‘This is a stunning new voice for fans of literary fiction, and reads like a thoroughly modern Hans Christian Andersen fairytale.’

Whispering Death (Garry Disher, Text, August)
Fans of Garry Disher’s ‘Challis and Destry’ series will not be disappointed with his latest offering, writes reviewer Kimberley Allsopp. ‘All the elements that make up a great crime novel are here: an underfunded police unit, strong male and female characters, a distinct setting and the contrasting views of characters within the law and those that operate outside it.’ The story is set in the small town of Waterloo in Victoria, and Allsopp believes ‘the book’s prominent local setting should appeal to readers of Peter Temple’s “Jack Irish” novels’.