Jack Was Here by Christopher Bardsley

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This is a brilliant crime novel, and Christopher Bardsley is an author to watch for in the future.

Hugh Fitzgerald is an almost-broken man—served in the Australian army in Afghanistan, wounded and deployed home, his pension is generous enough to allow him to try and drink his way through his PTSD. He’s angry, he has terrible nightmares, and his wife has left him. He’s tough and gritty, though, and always was. When his brother seeks him out to help an old friend find their lost son in Bangkok, all expenses paid plus, Hugh takes on the job, though he’s kind of a wreck, and he knows it. His blatant honesty about himself is the charm here, no subtly, and he has a dark wit. The writing is superb and the plot tight though marred with a few too many typos (I’m looking at you, Thistle). I frankly couldn’t put this down. Hugh’s inner demons soon come crawling out in the excesses of Bangkok, and we learn more about his time in the service and his inner wounds as he hunts for young Jack Kerr. The secondary characters are well drawn, and Hugh’s insights and instinct for evil serve him well. The setting, from Bangkok to the border between Thailand and Cambodia, is so well written I could feel the awful humidity, almost smell the urban and human decay. I am very much looking forward to more from this author.

Standalone Sunday Book Review: Black Teeth by Zane Lovitt


Publisher: Text Publishing

From NetGalley:


Review: This is my first Aussie Noir, and, wow, I could not put it down. Told in the first person, for the most part, by millennial computer geek Jason, the prose is rife with slang singular to Australia and Jason’s generation. I found the author’s wonderful writing style enhanced by this–keeping in mind the original Noir authors pioneered the use of 1930s and 1940s slang in their dark stories, so this really worked for me. It’s a story of a weird kind of multigenerational revenge plot that keeps sucking Jason in, pitting him against criminal machinations past and present. I think he wanted to stop what was going to be happen, but can’t be sure—he’s the more honest of the group of morally decrepit folks, but what keeps him involved? A week later the story still resonates with me, and I’ve been recommending it to anyone who will listen. This is like nothing I’ve read before, and I can’t wait to go back and read the author’s first book, and his next.