Two Strong Women, One Murder: Read an extract from The Last Dingo Summer by Jackie French

Two Strong Women, One Murder: Read an extract from The Last Dingo Summer by Jackie French

Start Reading Now

Jed Kelly is blissfully happy. She is married to Sam, the love of her life, relishing the joys and challenges of new parenthood as mother to her beautiful baby daughter Mattie. The pain of being viciously assaulted as a teen by her stepmother’s boyfriend Merv has mostly faded, and every day Jed wakes up feeling like the luckiest woman in the world.

But Jed’s happiness isn’t destined to last and one sunny day there’s an accident at thefactory where Sam works. His chest is almost completely crushed, and he falls into a coma, with the doctors doubting he’ll ever regain consciousness. As the weeks pass, Jed begins to lose hope, and then the local police make a gruesome discovery that casts her world even further into shadow.

Reported missing after the deadly bushfire that blazed through Gibber’s Creek months before, Merv’s body has now been found buried under the local church, with evidence suggesting he was murdered. When the police point the finger of blame at Sam, Jed rushes to her husband’s defence, but there’s one secret about the day of the bushfire that Jed’s keeping to herself – and sharing it to save Sam might mean losing everything.

Meanwhile, young newcomer Fish Johnstone arrives in town to stay with her great-uncle and great-aunt, their home a calming refuge from Fish’s messy family situation, and from the painful mystery of her Vietnamese refugee father, who recently appeared in her life only to vanish again a short time later.

Immediately swept up into the drama of the murder investigation, Fish refuses to believe that her great-uncle and great-aunt’s son, Sam, could have killed someone – even someone as awful as Merv. But as Fish begins her own investigations, she comes to realise that the town of Gibber’s Creek holds many secrets under its sleepy little exterior, and that some of those secrets are deadly…

Set in the late 1970s, The Last Dingo Summer is the eighth installment in Jackie French’s bestselling Matilda saga. Each installment tells a piece of Australia’s story from the perspectives of women, with French aiming to give voice to ‘all those whose stories were hidden,’ and in this, The Last Dingo Summer excels. We watch Fish navigate the world as the daughter of a Vietnamese father and an Australian mother at a time when everyone had an opinion on ‘the boat people,’ while Jed’s experiences highlight how working mothers and violence against women were viewed in the ‘70s.

Both Jed and Fish are beautifully formed characters, flawed, courageous and real, and it’s a joy to watch their friendship grow over the course of the book. The town of Gibber’s Creek is a character in itself, too. Each chapter of the book begins with an extract from the Gibber’s Creek Gazette, and these paint a deft and gently funny portrait of life in the small Australian country town. Of course, the town also has a darker side, and French completely draws us in to the murder mystery and the secrets at the heart of the book, keeping us guessing until the end.

An engrossing mystery story, an ode to strong women, and a moving exploration of the private wounds we carry, and the ways in which love and kindness can help us face and heal them, The Last Dingo Summer is a must for your summer reading list.

About the author:

Jackie French’s writing career spans 15 years, 39 wombats, 120 books, 15 languages, and 28 shredded doormats (she blames the wombats). She is the author of Hitler’s Daughter, which won the 2000 Children’s Book Council of Australia Book of the Year Award, and Diary of a Wombat, a 2003 Children’s Book Council of Australia Honour Book. She lives in Australia.

Purchase a copy of The Last Dingo Summer here 

 

Related Articles

Making Friends with Women Across Centuries: Q&A with Clancy of the Overflow Author, Jackie French

News | Author Related

23 October 2019

Making Friends with Women Across Centuries: Q&A with Clancy of the Overflow Author, Jackie French

    The Sunlight of My Childhood by Jackie French

    News | Author Related

    20 October 2019

    The Sunlight of My Childhood by Jackie French

    Authors Read For You

    Kids & Ya

    30 July 2019

    Authors Read For You

    Adventure, Danger, High Seas: Review of Pirate Boy of Sydney Town by Jackie French

    Kids & Ya

    21 May 2019

    Adventure, Danger, High Seas: Review of Pirate Boy of Sydney Town by Jackie French

    Ship Ahoy!: Read an extract from Pirate Boy of Sydney Town by Jackie French

    Kids & Ya

    21 May 2019

    Ship Ahoy!: Read an extract from Pirate Boy of Sydney Town by Jackie French

    Hilarious Huggabie Falls Finale: Read an extract from The Utterly Indescribable Thing that Happened in Huggabie Falls by Adam Cece

    Kids & Ya

    1 May 2019

    Hilarious Huggabie Falls Finale: Read an extract from The Utterly Indescribable Thing that Happened in Huggabie Falls by Adam Cece

    Gripping Historical Fiction: Read an extract from The Lily in the Snow by Jackie French

    News

    21 March 2019

    Gripping Historical Fiction: Read an extract from The Lily in the Snow by Jackie French

      Espionage, Love and War: Review of The Lily in the Snow by Jackie French

      News

      19 March 2019

      Espionage, Love and War: Review of The Lily in the Snow by Jackie French

        Compelling True Crime: Read an extract from Murder on Easey Street by Helen Thomas

        News

        15 March 2019

        Compelling True Crime: Read an extract from Murder on Easey Street by Helen Thomas

          Hilarious, Honest, and Inspiring: Read an extract from Thirty Thousand Bottles of Wine and a Pig Called Helga by Todd Alexander

          News

          15 March 2019

          Hilarious, Honest, and Inspiring: Read an extract from Thirty Thousand Bottles of Wine and a Pig Called Helga by Todd Alexander

            Synopsis

            A killer lurks behind the kindness of the Gibber's Creek community. Under the burnt timber of the church, the police have found the body of Merv Ignatious, the man who so viciously attacked Jed Kelly when she was fifteen, and tried to kill her and her unborn child in last year's bushfire.And also in the church lie skeletons from many years ago.Newcomer Fish Johnstone refuses to believe Jed Kelly's husband, Sam McAlpine, killed Merv to save his wife and child, as the police suspect. Nor could heavily pregnant Jed have killed him nor Scarlett, who is now at last managing to leave her wheelchair to walk a few steps.But Fish must also face her own mystery - a father who recently appeared as a Vietnamese 'boat person' refugee, but has vanished once again.As the last dingo howls on the hills above the river, Fish finds that Gibber's Creek has many secrets. And some of them are deadly.Set in the late 1970s, this haunting story shows how love and kindness can create the courage to face the past.
            Jackie French
            About the author

            Jackie French

            Jackie French AM is an award-winning writer, wombat negotiator, the 2014–2015 Australian Children's Laureate and the 2015 Senior Australian of the Year. In 2016 Jackie became a Member of the Order of Australia for her contribution to children's literature and her advocacy for youth literacy. She is regarded as one of Australia's most popular children's authors and writes across all genres — from picture books, history, fantasy, ecology and sci-fi to her much loved historical fiction for a variety of age groups. ‘Share a Story' was the primary philosophy behind Jackie's two-year term as Laureate.

            Books by Jackie French

            COMMENTS

            Leave a Reply

            Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *