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True Crime Thrillers: Kate Wild’s Favourite Australian True Crime Books

Kate Wild is an investigative journalist whose work with distinguished teams in the ABC has been recognised with three Walkley awards and a Logie. Her reports from Darwin, where she lived from 2010 to 2016, laid the groundwork for a Four Corners story on juvenile detention that prompted the calling of a Royal Commission.

Like Elijah Holcombe, Kate grew up in country New South Wales; she now lives and works in Sydney. Waiting For Elijah is her first book.

Read our review here


Words || Kate Wild


Joe Cinque’s Consolation, Helen Garner

I am fascinated every time I read Joe Cinque’s Consolation, by how impossible it is to sit outside the story even when I set myself the task of reading it as a text book through which to study Helen Garner’s skills. I never last more than half a page before tumbling into the visceral emotion and detail on every page. As well as a gripping search for the meaning and location of evil and justice, Joe Cinque’s Consolation is a master class for writers in how to overcome many of the challenges that are common to court-based stories. How to make dry documents (court files, transcripts, documented evidence) come to life on the page; how to inject authenticity and drama into scenes you were not present for; how, when someone refuses to speak to you, to give that absence a character of its own.

Night Games: Sex, Power and Sport, Anna Krien

In Night Games, Anna takes instances of true (sexual) crimes in Australian football codes and uses them to write a cultural critique of misogyny in Australia. The ambition, and (I cringe to write it) – courage – of taking on such a task is enormous, and despite the odds, Anna pulls it off. Her study of the beliefs that drive men to treat women as sexual objects is an important dissection of sexism in a particular corner of Australian culture but the drawing together of what could appear as disparate acts, brings into razor sharp relief the sexism at the heart of Australian culture. The way Anna makes a coherent narrative of such a spread of instances, all gathered around the one central story, is awe-inspiring.

The Tall Man, Chloe Hooper

The imagery Chloe uses in The Tall Man has never left me. Her opening scene describes her climbing to view Aboriginal rock art that depicts police officers attacking Aboriginal people in the 1800s in QLD. Chloe places the conflict these paintings bear witness to, up alongside the politics and events of Cameron Doomadgee’s death in police custody in 2004. The opening scenes of The Tall Man are as close to perfect as an introduction to a book’s deepest themes and heart as I’ve ever read. I also have to say that the blue cover with the red palm frond on it is also one of my all-time favourite book covers.



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