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Henry & Banjo



Reviewed by Ian Lipke

 This beautifully presented text will be seen on my library shelves or in my briefcase on my way to a class in this city. Over 400 pages of information about Henry Lawson and Banjo Paterson grace my shelves. Along with the author – who has been remarkably honest – I want to reinforce a point. This book “is a narrative about two men who led very different lives yet their bond for storytelling drew them together in some unexpected ways” (Knight, x). This is a narrative, not an academic treatise. A whole set of rules apply that would be out of place in academia.



Black Widow



Reviewed by Hazel Menehira

This compelling book Black Widow comes to readers 126 years after a mother with seven living children faced a gruesome botched death on the gallows in New South Wales. The fate of Louisa Collins followed a year during which she faced inquests on her two dead husbands, and four trials. After three hung juries she was eventually found guilty of murdering both husbands by arsenic poisoning. Louisa Collins was the last woman executed on the N.S.W. state scaffold despite more prolific killers facing courts in the years to follow.


Bitter Wash Road



Reviewed by Terrie Ferman

Bitter Wash Road by Garry Disher is an exemplary crime novel from a top writer.

How does a police whistleblower, still in the job, survive in an isolated country town where his history has preceded him and the knives of non-cooperation at best and violence at worst await him?


Devoted in Death


Reviewed by Ian Lipke

In New York City a new year has begun. Two star-crossed lovers have begun a killing spree that stretches across a wide swathe of the United States but moving ever closer to New York City, the domain of Lieutenant Eve Dallas, the nemesis of criminals in her jurisdiction. Eve and her multi-millionaire husband, Roarke, are off again on an exciting, if bloody journey, into stopping the bad guys’ criminal activities. The sure and certain pen of their creator, J.D. Robb, ensures there will be plenty of excitement before the whole grisly business is brought to an end.


Art in history



Reviewed by Jill 

Art in History: 600 BC - 2000 AD  is also history through art – the two are intimately bound. This is a fast-moving account, from imagery in its pre-Christian contexts, through art serving Christianity, and to art serving the self.  The focus shifts from the old world to the new.  We see theories and principles emerge, and resurface in later centuries.   Martin Kemp is a consummate story-teller, explaining imagery and philosophy.  He draws together the diverse themes and movements, addressing exemplar works and artists – from sublime to odd.   Sometimes the mask of detachment slips, but delicately so.


Windsor's Way


Reviewed by Mike Clarke

 ‘My advice to Geoff Brock is to avoid where possible the use of News Ltd paper. He should use Sorbent. It records what actually happens’ (126)


This is a tweet Tony Windsor sent to the Independent South Australian MP Geoff Brock when he was being attacked by News Corp in Adelaide about his support for Labor in the South Australian hung parliament (122). It is just one example of the wit of Tony Windsor which permeates this entertaining memoir by the fiercely independent politician from New England in rural NSW. 



Pardon me for mentioning...



Reviewed by Hazel Menehira

If you are in dire need of a hearty chuckle or are confused selecting that special group present for the boss - Pardon me for mentioning...that Unpublished Letters to The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald. will fit the bill. Despite all the current opportunities to blog and chirp many Aussies still put pen and laptops to work to send letters of outrage, opinion, wit, and humour, to both community and national newspapers. Here’s a chance to read some of the rejects. 


The Man Who Saved Smithy



Reviewed by Donald Lawie

Air travel in this 21st century is an unremarkable, if uncomfortable, means of moving a long distance in a short time. Pilots are regarded as little more than highly trained bus drivers. Exactly 100 years go things were very different; the art of flying was in its infancy and the men who flew the fragile machines were Super Men. One of these was Gordon “Bill” Taylor, whose career spanned the art of flying, almost from the beginning, into the era of  aerial international travel as a commonplace. The Man Who Saved Smithy  tells the life story of the man who became Sir Gordon Taylor MC, GC. Author Rick Searle has drawn on Bill Taylor’s own prolific writing, augmented by personal interviews with Bill’s family, friends and fellow flyers. The result is a compulsively readable story of the courage, determination and endurance of an ordinary man. 


the Ruby Slippers



Reviewed by Carole Castle

Keiran Alexander’s first novel the Ruby Slippers is a winner. The first sentences grab your attention and the reader is immediately hooked. “She stinks. It has to be said. Stinks to high heaven. No, worse, stinks like death” (1). “She” refers to Old Rosa, the bag lady. Why is this so and how did it happen?  The cover enticingly sets the scene even before you open the book: tall skyscrapers and red slippers in an open box still in their tissue paper. The cover glitters and gleams with shiny red sparkles. If you look carefully there are newspaper headings written on the tall buildings placing the novel in contemporary times in New York. All intriguing. 


Atomic City



Reviewed by Jay Daniel Thompson

 Atomic City is the second book for Queensland author and academic Sally Breen. The novel has been adapted from Breen’s doctoral thesis, and explores sex and intrigue on the Gold Coast —the location referred to in the gloriously Blondie-esque title. The key protagonist is Jade, a twentysomething femme fatale with a troubled past. Jade gets her kicks (and pays the bills) in the gaming rooms of her adopted city. She teams up with a croupier known as ‘the Dealer’ to fleece a number of Gold Coast high rollers, including a smug and naive local businessman known as Harvey. The novel is told from the (quite different) perspectives of these three characters.



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