Book Review - Never Never

by James Patterson and Candice Fox (Century) ISBN: 978-1-78-089544-4 


Candice Fox is billed as one of Australia's best crime writers. This is her first collaboration with James Patterson. It was my first James Patterson co-authored novel. I wasn't blown away. For a crime thriller, the story took too long to unfold and the short chapters did little to create tension. A lack of any discernible difference between the three different viewpoints through which the story is told didn't help. 

Sydney sex-crimes detective, Harriet (Harry) Blue, is quickly shipped off to the outback – the never never – by her boss after her brother is accused of and arrested for the murders of at least three women. The emotionally volatile Harry is partnered with a detective also running from personal matters. They're sent to investigate the disappearance of a miner. But things at the mine are not as they first appear. 

As they dig deeper, they discover a militant environmental group that sabotages mine equipment; a drug lord with a temper and penchant for violence; prostitutes with information for sale; more missing miners and mine bosses more concerned with profit than human life. It's an uninspired race-against-the-clock to catch the perpetrator. 

Liesl Williams
www.writerswrite.co.za
2/5

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Writers Write offers the best writing courses in South Africa. Writers Write - Write to communicate.

Book Review - First Response

by Stephen Leather (Hodder & Stoughton) ISBN: 9781473604599 
I haven’t read Stephen Leather before, but I expected more from an author labelled “the Sunday Times bestselling author”. 

This so-called thriller got off to a slow start and failed to pick up the pace. At all. It wasn’t helped by the plethora of characters – I lost count after 30 – none of which I got to know intimately or care about, nor the long winded explanations and descriptions of the British police, army and intelligence services (I concede there may have been more services involved, but I got tired trying to remember them all).  The constant jumping between the at least 11 sites involved in the story left me confused and I had to keep paging backwards to remember which characters were at what site and what was happening there. 

The use of ISIS as the terrorist threat in this book and references to the 2005 London bombings failed to lend the plot an air of believability. If anything, it had the opposite effect.  

I read fiction for enjoyment, not as a means of testing my concentration and recall skills. This was a tiresome, heavy read. 

Liesl Williams
www.writerswrite.co.za
1/5

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Writers Write offers the best writing courses in South Africa. Writers Write - Write to communicate.

Book Review - The Daily Assortment Of Astonishing Things

And other stories - The Caine Prize for African Writings 2016 (Jacana) ISBN: 9781431424351


This collection of short stories by African writers is a mixed bag. 

Lidudumalingani from South Africa won the 2016 Caine Prize for his story Memories We Lost. I must confess I didn’t agree with the judges’ choice. To me the story was disjointed and lacked a point, but maybe that was the point. It deals with mental illness in a rural village in South Africa. A concept that is both foreign and demonic to the villagers. I found the simplistic use of language distracting. 

At Your Requiem by Bongani Konza, by contrast was a moving, captivating story. Set in the future, it revolves around a mathematical formula that gives predestined people the ability to eat others’ pain. But is it as simple as that? Genesis by Tope Florian was a haunting look at how the damage inflicted in childhood determines your destiny. My heart ached for the narrator. 

The entertaining stories certainly outweighed the stories I didn’t enjoy. And that’s the wonderful thing about a collection of short stories; you only need read the ones that appeal. 

Liesl Williams
www.writerswrite.co.za
3/5

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Writers Write offers the best writing courses in South Africa. Writers Write - Write to communicate.