The Davitt Awards winners 2018

Congratulations to the 2018 winners of the Davitt Awards for the best crime books by Australian women.


Adult novels

And Fire Came Down by Emma Viskic

Deaf since early childhood, Caleb Zelic is used to meeting life head-on but after recent events, he’s struggling more than usual. His best mate is dead, his ex-wife, Kat, is avoiding him, and nightmares haunt his waking hours. When a young woman is killed, after pleading for his help in sign language, he’s determined to find out who she was. The trail leads Caleb back to his home, Resurrection Bay, where the town is on bushfire alert and simmering with racial tensions.


Reader’s Choice

Force of Nature by Jane Harper

Federal Police Agent Aaron Falk returns in another addictive crime thriller from Jane Harper. Five women reluctantly head out on a hike together at a corporate retreat; only four return. The disappearance is of particular importance to Falk as the missing bushwalker – Alice Russell – is the whistleblower in his latest case and she was full of secrets. As he attempts to unravel the mystery, he soon realises that the dangers ran far deeper than even he suspected.



The Dark Lake by Sarah Bailey

A beautiful young teacher has been murdered, her body found in the lake, strewn with red roses. Local policewoman Detective Sergeant Gemma Woodstock pushes to be assigned to the case, concealing the fact that she knew the murdered woman in high school years before. But that is not her only secret. The lake holds the key to solving the murder, but it also has the power to drag Gemma down into its dark depths.


Non-fiction books

Whiteley on Trial by Gabriella Coslovich

It was a cause célèbre: the biggest case of alleged art fraud to come before the Australian criminal justice system, a $4.5 million sting drawing in one of the country’s most gifted and ultimately tragic artists, Brett Whiteley, a heroin addict who died alone in 1992. It started with suspicions raised about artworks being produced in a Melbourne art restorer’s studio and led to a controversial trial, and later an appeal. Whiteley on Trial investigates this remarkable case.


Young Adult novels

Ballad for a Mad Girl by Vikki Wakefield

Everyone knows 17-year-old Grace Foley is a bit mad. She’s a prankster, a risk-taker. After she accepts a challenge to walk the pipe, she experiences something she can’t explain. Haunted by voices and visions, Grace is drawn into the 20-year-old mystery about a missing girl and finds she can no longer tell what’s real or imagined. Everything about her is changing – her body, her thoughts. Grace is losing herself, and her friends don’t understand. Is she moving closer to the truth? Or is she heading for madness?


Children’s novels

The Turnkey by Allison Rushby

Flossie Birdwhistle is a 12-year-old ghost. As the Turnkey at London’s Highgate Cemetery, she must ensure all the souls in the cemetery stay at rest – a difficult job made even more difficult by the onslaught of WWII. Each night, enemy bombers hammer London and even the dead are unsettled. When Flossie encounters the ghost of a German soldier carrying a mysterious object, she discovers a sinister plot that could result in the destruction of not only her cemetery, but also her beloved country.

The Davitts are named after Ellen Davitt, author of Australia’s first mystery novel Force and Fraud (1865) and in 2018, are sponsored by Swinburne University of Technology. Find out more about this year’s winners here.

The Dark Lake

The Dark Lake

Sarah Bailey

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