Fiona Hardy

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Website: http://readingkills.com/

Twitter: @readwatchtweet

Fiona Hardy blogs about Crime Fiction at readingkills.com and puts together the Dead Write column for the Readings Monthly newsletter. In her spare time she sells books and talks too much to customers at Readings Carlton.

Reviews

A Murder Unmentioned by Sulari Gentill

Reviewed by Fiona Hardy

There is something so completely delicious about Rowland Sinclair and his louche band of comrades, the rapscallion Australian heroes of Sulari Gentill’s 1930s-set series. I could eat them all up with…

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Blood Will Out by Walter Kirn

Reviewed by Fiona Hardy

In 1998, Walter Kirn is waiting to become a father and up for a noble distraction: driving a paralysed Gordon setter named Shelby from his home state of Montana to New York City. There, Shelby would …

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Malice by Keigo Higashino

Reviewed by Fiona Hardy

I am not a perfect reader. I can get impatient, huffing if a book hasn’t grabbed me by page three. And then I read something like Malice and it serves as a lesson that giving a book the chance to get…

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The Few by Nadia Dalbuono

Reviewed by Fiona Hardy

Detective Leone Scamarcio is a straight cop with a bent history: his father was a leading member of the Mob, and while he might not have inherited his father’s criminal inclinations, his father’s rep…

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Life or Death by Michael Robotham

Reviewed by Fiona Hardy

Some plots grab your attention as swiftly as a viper can attack your ankle: it’s unexpected, gets the blood going and you’ll be feeling the effects well after you’ve been bitten. Audie Spencer Palmer…

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What Came Before by Anna George

Reviewed by Fiona Hardy

I made a lot of notes in this book, a lot of marks on the page to remind me of particular lines or moments. A note beside the scene of retired lawyer Reg, in his lounge room, hearing his young, blood…

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The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith

Reviewed by Fiona Hardy

When I thought about it, the last time I did such an intense marathon read of a book was probably when the final Harry Potter book came out. I was working that day, and a kid was reading it in the co…

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Claustrophobia by Tracy Ryan

Reviewed by Fiona Hardy

Beginning renovations can often unearth some unpleasant things beneath the floorboards or behind walls, yet when Pen Barber is cleaning before work begins on the bush-tangled Perth home she shares wi…

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Lonely Graves by Britta Bolt

Reviewed by Fiona Hardy

According to my research (i.e. reading the note at the start of this book), Amsterdam will hold funerals for any anonymous people – those without family, for example – who die there. These services h…

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The Truth about the Harry Quebert Affair by Joël Dicker

Reviewed by Fiona Hardy

Before using this hefty book as a doorstop this autumn, enjoy the 600 pages of small-town intrigue, Russian-doll narrative, backwards chapters and a story that has such a twist I almost called in dea…

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The Telling Error by Sophie Hannah

Reviewed by Fiona Hardy

Nicki Clements is driving her son’s sports uniform to school when a police blockade puts a dent in her travels. It’s at the barricade that she sees him: the police officer who knows a piece of her se…

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Beams Falling by P.M. Newton

Reviewed by Fiona Hardy

If you’ve ever entertained the thought that years of reading crime fiction have given you enough insider knowledge to become a blisteringly incredible police officer, this is the book to make you say…

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Morning Phase by Beck

Reviewed by Fiona Hardy

Late one warm Wednesday in February, sitting in the gathering dark with a tart glass of wine, I listened to Beck’s Sea Change in anticipation of its new companion album, Morning Phase. I smiled after…

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Deserving Death by Katherine Howell

Reviewed by Fiona Hardy

On a springtime morning in Sydney, two paramedics get a call: to attend to a collapsed woman in Sydenham. The paramedics recognise the address, and when they arrive their worst fears are confirmed: t…

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North of Boston by Elisabeth Elo

Reviewed by Fiona Hardy

Most of the crime books I love have characters I feel invested in; this, Elisabeth Elo’s first book, I adored for the writing. Pirio Kasparov, head of her mother’s perfume company, isn’t easy to love…

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Banana Girl by Michele Lee

Reviewed by Fiona Hardy

In the build-up to her departure for Laos – the homeland of her Hmong parents – Michele Lee wanders through Melbourne’s bars and streets, and the history of her life and relationships. She talks to h…

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Gentlemen Formerly Dressed by Sulari Gentill

Reviewed by Fiona Hardy

It’s 1933 and the well-bred but occasionally low-brow Rowland Sinclair has just escaped torture in Germany, fled Paris, and is waiting in England for passage home to Australia. However, he and his fa…

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Cross and Burn by Val McDermid

Reviewed by Fiona Hardy

Detective Chief Inspector Carol Jordan’s Major Incident Team is in tatters: the people she counted as her closest associates – both professionally and publicly – are in new jobs, or unemployed, or in…

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Perfect North by Jenny Bond

Reviewed by Fiona Hardy

During the warm summer of 1897, Sweden sent a hot air balloon to the Arctic with the aim of being the first country to reach the North Pole. By the end of summer, it was clear: the three men had not …

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The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith

Reviewed by Fiona Hardy

I’m reluctant to admit that this flew under my radar when it was quietly released earlier in the year, but since the news that The Cuckoo’s Calling, with its underwhelming cover, is actually disguisi…

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The Never List by Koethi Zan

Reviewed by Fiona Hardy

Nineteen years ago, best friends Sarah and Jennifer were in a car accident that killed Jennifer’s mother. The two girls, bound together, made a list of things to never do that would keep them safe. S…

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The Dying Beach by Angela Savage

Reviewed by Fiona Hardy

Australian-born private investigator Jayne Keeney now lives in Thailand and is enjoying a holiday in Krabi, along with her business partner and lover, Rajiv. The country continues to seduce her with …

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Monomania by Deerhunter

Reviewed by Fiona Hardy

Deerhunter have been throwing around attitude and alt-sometimes-garage tunes for over a decade now. Here, title track ‘Monomania’ showcases their noise-rock history, with a fuzzed-out chorus that ble…

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A Bitter Taste by Annie Hauxwell

Reviewed by Fiona Hardy

In crime fiction, the downtrodden are frequently used as asides – bribed for information or killed off with little remorse. Annie Hauxwell’s A Bitter Taste takes us into their world, one that not eve…

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Modern Vampires Of The City by Vampire Weekend

Reviewed by Fiona Hardy

Vampire Weekend are known for their infectious, staccato rock and this album takes some risks. It’s liberally sprinkled with production effects and is musically diverse from start to finish. But all …

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Dark Horse by Honey Brown

Reviewed by Fiona Hardy

Don’t be led astray by her sweet name – Honey Brown can write a mean psychological thriller. Last year, I adored her highly original After the Darkness, and this year Dark Horse has come along to kee…

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The Magician’s Daughter by Mama Kin

Reviewed by Fiona Hardy

In The Magician’s Daughter, Mama Kin delivers soul as both a balm and a vitamin, there to soothe you as well as pump your heart full of musical adrenaline. Her second album is full of sass and energy…

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Mosquito by Yeah Yeah Yeahs

Reviewed by Fiona Hardy

Yeah Yeah Yeahs deliver their fourth studio album with minimal instruments and a stadium’s worth of sound.

Lead track ‘Sacrilege’ follows a seemingly familiar path of guitars, drums and Karen O croo…

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Under Your Skin by Sabine Durrant

Reviewed by Fiona Hardy

The popularity of Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl has brought about a revival of interesting crime writing of a particular vein. To say more would be to give too much away here, but what a delicious reviva…

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Good News, Bad News by Maggie Groff

Reviewed by Fiona Hardy

Sometimes a book comes along that is exactly the right read at the right time. Good News, Bad News, and the perky heroine contained inside its pages, were a balm for me this month. After too many cri…

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News

Trends in Book Publishing: Stop Calling Women ‘Girls’

by Fiona Hardy

There are always trends in books, especially in crime books. You’ll notice everything released in a single month comes from Norway. Or has a misty tree on the cover. Or, worse, has the same plot as the book you just started writing the other day and was convinced was the most original piece of literature to ever exist.

Well, please allow me to become unnecessarily enraged about a recent trend: T…

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Q&A with Nadia Dalbuono

by Fiona Hardy

Our crime specialist Fiona Hardy talks with Nadia Dalbuono about her writing process, Italy and her debut crime novel.

You’ve spent the past fifteen years travelling the world as a documentarian for various companies in the UK. Were you scribbling story ideas in your downtime while on location, or has writing fiction been a recent creative pursuit for you?

I wasn’t exactly scribbling ideas bu…

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Fiona Hardy on the Ned Kelly Awards shortlist for 2014

by Fiona Hardy

Last Friday night, the Bendigo Writers Festival started with a flurry of events and the next morning, I set off on the V/Line train, waving goodbye to Melbourne’s tall towers and crowded streets for the torn-cotton clouds and mid-city fountains of Bendigo. My Kangaroo Flat-residing friend of some twenty-seven years – we’d met in our first year of primary school, bonding over being the two shortes…

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Crime books to read post True Detective

by Fiona Hardy

If you were a True Detective devotee and you’ve been feeling a bit bereft since the finale, then we recommend you turn to literature (as you should in all difficult situations). We’ve asked our crime specialist Fiona Hardy to recommend five books that would appeal to True Detective fans. The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair by Joël Dicker (translated by Sam Taylor)

For those who enjoy …

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The Best Crime Fiction of 2013

by Fiona Hardy

Here are our top ten crime books of 2013, as chosen by our crime specialist Fiona Hardy. (Displayed in no particular order).

The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith

J.K. Rowling’s foray into crime writing is a complete success: Cormoran Strike PI is a character as large on the page as he is in height. Ex-military and ex-happiness, he is offered a new case along with a tough new secretary, …

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Fiona Hardy on Crime Book Covers

by Fiona Hardy

Crime-lover and blogger Fiona Hardy considers the book design tropes of crime fiction titles, and whether there are benefits to having oft-repeated motifs.

Let’s play a game. We’ll call it Crime Cover Bingo. If you have a crime book on your shelves that has one of the following on the cover: snow, trees, people in shadow, long empty roads, a fence, or a building at night, then shout BINGO — ev…

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