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9 Publishing Insiders: The Page-Turners To Pack This Long Weekend

Agents, book buyers and editors share their favourite recent releases

By primer team

Everyone In My Family Has Killed Someone by Benjamin Stevenson

Chosen by Pippa Masson, Head of Agents and agent at publisher Curtis Brown

“The perfect long-weekend binge read: cosy crime that is clever, funny and page-turning (and currently in development with HBO and Made-Up Stories!). It’s about the Cunningham family, which has only one thing in common: they have all killed someone. Agatha Christie meets Knives Out in this fresh and clever blend of old and new!

The Paper Palace by Miranda Cowley Heller

Chosen by Pippa Masson, Head of Agents and agent at publisher Curtis Brown

A compulsive and emotional intergenerational story about decades of secrets, love and lies told over 24 hours and 50 years. Elle, a mother of three, wakes at her family summer house, The Paper Palace, and must make a choice between her husband and her childhood sweetheart. Now in her 50s, her past haunts her and she must make an impossible decision. *Trigger warning, contains stories of sexual abuse.

The Island by Adrian McKinty

Chosen by Jason Steger, books editor, The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald

I read Adrian McKinty’s second standalone thriller, a Deliverance-like gothic tale, on a recent flight to Los Angeles and I hardly lifted my eyes from the page. Heather brings her family of two step-children and Tom, her new, older husband from the States for a long-dream-of trip to Australia. When they tour an island off the Mornington Peninsula, though, disaster strikes –  Tom knocks over a young woman in his hired Porsche and then hides the body, thus falling foul of her family, the O’Neills, who rule the island. From then on it’s a fierce fight for survival. McKinty is best known for his noirish Sean Duffy books set during the Troubles in Northern Ireland, but this thriller has a very different speed – full tilt.

The White Girl by Tony Birch

Chosen by Grace Lucas-Pennington of black&write!

The White Girl by award-winning author Tony Birch is part literary fiction, part adventure story set in 1960s Australia where Odette Brown is spurred into action to protect her granddaughter, Sissy, from welfare authorities seeking to remove Aboriginal children from their families. A tense, beautiful, cinematic novel, this is a moving account of a country on the eve of a defining referendum on Indigenous rights, as well as a personal love story between an old woman and her beloved granddaughter.

The Woman in the Library by Sulari Gentill 

Chosen by Lydia Tasker, Sydney Writers’ Festival

For a great read, I recommend Australian writer Sulari Gentill’s new thriller The Woman in the Library – a twisty work of metafiction with a literary focus. Bestselling crime writer Hannah is working on a new novel – a whodunit that follows four strangers sitting at the same table at the Boston Public Library when they discover a woman has been murdered, and it’s revealed to the reader that one of them is the murderer. The chapters are interspersed with feedback on the manuscript from Hannah’s fan and aspiring novelist himself, Leo, whose notes begin as enthusiastic and friendly but begin to take on a darker tone. The Woman in the Library is a cleverly crafted page-turner.

The Murder Rule by Dervla McTiernan

Chosen by James Boland from Ariel Books

McTiernan breaks new ground in this riveting thriller. Young Hannah Rokeby inveigles her way onto the ‘Innocence Project’, a volunteer organisation seeking to overturn grave injustices in the legal system. But she’s not there to help prove the innocence of a particular man on death row, she’s there to condemn him. It’s an ingenious plot with lots of fantastic twists featuring characters with real depth. The Murder Rule confirms McTiernan’s position as one of the best crime writers going anywhere.

Black River by Matthew Spencer

Chosen by James Boland from Ariel Books

Matthew Spencer adds his name to the growing list of authors producing fantastic ‘Aussie noir’ at the moment. Sydney forms the backdrop in Spencer’s engrossing debut Black River, one of the most compelling books you’ll read all year. Adam Bowman, a knockabout journo of middling success, and the ambitious detective Rose Riley, separately investigate the murder at a boarding school on Sydney’s north shore at which Adam was once a student. Keeps you on the edge of your seat till the final showdown! Fans of Chris Hammer will love this one.

The Cane by Maryrose Cuskelly

Chosen by Kelly Fagan, publisher at Allen & Unwin 

A genuine thriller set in a North Queensland sugar town in the 1970s, Maryrose Cuskelly has crafted a nail-biting, atmospheric and actusally unputdownable novel. Exploring our obsession with the trope of the missing girl against the backdrop of a town about to go up in flames, The Cane is quintessential Australian fiction.

Sunbathing by Isobel Beech

Chosen by Kelly Fagan, publisher at Allen & Unwin 

Sunbathing really is like basking in a pool of sunshine. Set in the summer in Italy, it’s a love letter to friendship and healing that will have you so enraptured by the landscape of the Italian countryside that you’ll have consumed the book in one sitting without even noticing the time going by. Beautifully written and full of hope and warmth, Sunbathing is the perfect book to escape the chill this winter.

Blacklight: Ten Years of First Nations Storytelling

Chosen by Winnie Dunn, editor of Sweatshop and Another Australia

A dream of eels. A woman wading with a basket. A sister blacker-than-night. These are the powerful images reader’s can expect in Blacklight: Ten Years of First Nations Storytelling. This powerful anthology collects a generation’s worth of stories from emerging and established First nations writers across the country. Edited by award-winning Wiradjuri artist, Hannah Donnelly and featuring critically acclaimed writers such as Jazz Money and Ali Murphy-Oates, Blacklight reveals the true heart of lands that always was and always will be.

The Sea Of Tranquility by Madeleine St John

Chosen by Tilda Wilkinson-Finch of Gleebooks

A beautiful and dizzying work of science fiction. Similarly to Mandel’s previous work, ‘Station Eleven’, this novel explores overlapping and intertwined narratives. But while her previous work is quite grounded, Sea of Tranquility expands into space and the very fabric of reality. It is visceral, breathless, deeply sad, but ultimately optimistic. Mandel keeps you clinging to every word as she unfolds the universe around you.


BY primer team

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