Books that kept us on the edge of our seat in 2017

Our staff share the books that kept them on the edge of their seat this year.


‘I read two terrific crime novels by Australian women this year that kept me turning pages late into the night: Force of Nature by Jane Harper and The Dark Lake by Sarah Bailey. Both set up the kinds of mysteries that keep you hungry to know what happened right until the very end, with plenty of twists and turns and secrets and lies. If you’re look for a great holiday read, you can’t go wrong with either.’

Nina Kenwood, marketing manager


‘A teenage girl enters the lair of the beast in a search for her mother’s murderer in City of Saints & Thieves. Tina lives on the streets of Sangui, a fictional Kenyan city based on the real cities of Mombasa and Nairobi. She usually does petty crimes for a local crime lord, but as the novel opens, their gang sets into motion a dangerous long con that has been in the planning stage for years.

Tina’s personal search for her mother’s killer merges with a terrifying larger story of Congo refugees, the mining industry, militia activity and illegal arms trading. I was captivated by Tina’s tenacity, and her loyal best friend Boyboy, a gender non-conforming hacker, is also a character to remember.’

Leanne Hall, bookseller at Readings Kids


Psynode is the follow-up to Marlee Jane Ward’s award-winning novella, Welcome to Orphancorp, and it is easily one of the most uncomfortably plausible dystopian fictions that I’ve read.

After ageing out of an orphanage, Miiri manages to secure one of the coveted jobs at Allnode, which comes with accommodation ($17.24), rations ($6), electricity ($3.66), uniform ($67.34) and a paycheck so low that she is actually in debt at the end of her 12-hour working day. Miiri’s position as picker for Allnode’s enormous warehouse is exhausting, physical, and extraordinarily dangerous but it’s a means to find and rescue her friend and lover Vu from Psynode, a covert division of Allnode that deals in human trafficking and dodgy medical experiments.

This gritty and urgent cyber-thriller is unrelentingly tense, and the grim future that Ward imagines is frighteningly credible – read any article about the conditions in Amazon’s warehouses and the scenes set in Allnode’s warehouse take on a very familiar tint.’

Lian Hingee, digital marketing manager


‘I loved, loved, loved One of us is Lying. It’s a juicy teen murder mystery in which five students enter detention, but only four leave the room alive… The question of how exactly (and why) the fifth teenager was killed has everyone guessing – including past-me! I stayed up past midnight to find out the answer.

Another crime story that I couldn’t put down this year was Emma Viskic’s Resurrection Bay, which picked up a swag of literary prizes last year. This is an extremely well-crafted, character-driven thriller that kept my hear racing throughout. The central character, Caleb, is one of my favourite literary detectives I’ve met.

Finally, I was utterly absorbed by Philip Pullman’s La Belle Sauvage which is darkly thrilling, deliciously tense and dangerously addictive. You can read a bunch of staff raves about this fantasy adventure here.’

Bronte Coates, digital content coordinator

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Force of Nature

Force of Nature

Jane Harper

$32.99Buy now

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