Note, the format of my Short and Sweet reviews differs in that they simply comprise the book blurb and a short response (hence, the short and sweet). Sometimes I have too many books to do a full-length review. At other times, like now, tennis elbow and a torn tendon makes too much writing/typing difficult. As such, I’ve decided to devote longer reviews to Australian authors until such time as my injury clears. 

I read If You Were Here by Alafair Burke and found it a “solid and interesting” novel, so I was happy to give Burke’s latest novel a whirl. Unlike the former novel, this one is not a standalone and brings back detective Ellie Hatcher (a new character for me). That it was the fifth in a series turned out not to be a problem and it read easily as a standalone (though, as always, it is good to see a character develop).

All Day and a Night

When psychotherapist Helen Brunswick is murdered in her Park Slope office, the entire city suspects her estranged husband – until the District Attorney’s Office receives an anonymous letter. The letter’s author knows a detail that police have kept secret: the victim’s bones were broken after she was killed, echoing a signature used twenty years earlier by Anthony Amaro, a serial killer serving a life sentence. Now, Amaro is asking to be released from prison, arguing that he was wrongly convicted, and that the true killer is still on the loose. Ellie Hatcher and her partner JJ Rogan are tapped as the ‘fresh look’ team to reassess the original investigation that led to Amaro’s conviction. The case pits them against both their fellow officers and a hard-charging celebrity defence lawyer with a young associate named Carrie Blank, who has a personal connection to the case. As both the NYPD and Amaro’s legal team search for certainty in years of conflicting evidence, their investigations take them back to Carrie’s hometown, and to deadly secrets left behind.

A well-rounded police procedural with an underlying message about choices and consequences, All Day and a Night moves along at a fast pace. A good number of red herrings will trip some readers, but for me, I had my suspicions very early on. I think one sentence made me think, “that’s the one”. Intuition (?) aside, I wasn’t as quick at determining the motive and enjoyed seeing my suspicions proved correct and the motive unfold. Burke’s style is well honed, if a little formulaic, but she’s a writer I’d like to spend more time reading. If you enjoy crime fiction that’s not too graphic or violent, give Alafair Burke’s novels a try.

Available from good bookstores and Allen & Unwin (RRP $29.99). My copy was courtesy of Allen & Unwin.

Bookish treat: I enjoyed some honey boiled sweets from The Honey House in the Swan Valley.




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