Bay of Fires

Poppy Gee. Little, Brown/Reagan Arthur, $24.99 (384p) ISBN 978-0-316-20168-1
There is not one palatable character in Gee’s debauched murder mystery set on the Bay of Fires on Australia’s Tasmania coast, a clever way to ensure that each is a suspect in the deaths of two young women. Sarah Avery, home for Christmas after beating her boyfriend bloody and walking out on her job, finds the body of a young backpacker washed up on the shore. When she questions the disappearance of another young woman who went missing the summer before, she begins to mistrust the odd assortment of folks she’s known forever in her parents’ beach community: the nosy shopkeeper, the middle-aged vamp and her horny son, the weathered innkeeper who smokes too much, and redneck campers who return year after year. The investigative journo who shows up to report on the crimes is a middle-aged scaredy-cat, a terrible driver who has to be drunk to muster the courage to be with a woman. But he falls for our hard-drinking, tough-girl heroine and just might end up saving the day. Gee’s debut follows some shopworn formulas: lots of red herrings, dead ends, and suspicious behavior by everyone, including the village misfit who bears the brunt of the community’s fears. And there is a titillating whiff of sexual violence. It’s a testament to this writer’s diligent story building, however, that we endure so much blustery weather, spitting, vomiting, inebriation, slimy fish guts, and sand in the shoes to find out who done it. Agent: Julia Kenny, Markson Thoma Literary Agency. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 12/03/2012
Release date: 03/12/2013
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Open Ebook - 212 pages - 978-0-316-21595-4
Paperback - 320 pages - 978-0-7553-8784-7
Paperback - 376 pages - 978-0-316-20170-4
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