Our recommended weekend read is The Falls by B. Michael Radburn
Aroha Ross and Dylan Franklin, after years of searching flimsy leads and dead ends, discover what they believe is the treasure trove of the Christiana Goldmine hidden in the quiet, isolated canyon known as Eldritch Falls. The Falls sit in the hills of a national park, way off the highway, and are usually deserted. Yet as they split up to better explore and document their findings, Aroha feels they are not alone. Unable to shake the feeling, she rushes to find Dylan but doesn’t have to go far as he runs at her, pale, with something clearly wrong. He has stumbled across the body of a young woman with a stab wound to the heart. With a forest fire raging in the distance, the pair desperately try to escape to report what they saw.
Park ranger Taylor Bridges has a haunted past. He’s seen his own share of pain and grief, including solving a multiple-murder case in Glorys Crossing. It’s a past he wants to remain buried, but when the girl’s body is found in the canyon, among other horrors, Taylor and his history are coming back to the surface. Taylor is a family friend of Aroha, and when he’s called in to help, he joins Sergeant Quade Marsden, a demoted detective with a point to prove, and Senior Detective Sandra Norton, ‘a fight-like-crazy type.’ The three set out to uncover the reason behind the mass killing ground and bring the murderer to justice.
As the investigation continues, it seems to point back to preacher Jacob Muller, the one who buried the mysterious gold over a hundred years ago. Jacob was unhinged yet ingenious, but most importantly, is long dead. How is he connected to the modern day killing ground? When the case’s most important witness goes missing, the team realise they are up against an unpredictable murderer who is either ‘incredibly smart or extremely stupid,’ but is definitely daring. With time ticking, they must race to stop the evil that is infesting their quiet Australian town.
There’s been so many great Australian thrillers released recently, and The Falls joins their ranks. Be warned though, this is a dark and disturbing ride. There are twists, turns, and snapshots into a disturbed mind. The Falls is told from multiple perspectives, and there’s one in particular that will cause the hairs on your arms to stand to attention.
Taylor Bridges knows how to keep his cool, is good in a crisis, and has experienced tragedy firsthand, but he is an unusual protagonist for the genre in that Taylor’s not a cop. As a park ranger, his knowledge lies with the land, and provides a unique perspective that one doesn’t often see in a thriller. You don’t need to have read the first novel featuring Taylor Bridges, The Crossing, to pick up this book, although the repercussions from Taylor’s previous experiences do reverberate in The Falls. He’ll back be again in The Reach!
As much as we love Scandi-crime, it’s great to see more and more page-turners set in our own backyard, and The Falls is a dark and gripping thriller that will have you pondering its imaginative plot all weekend, and beyond.
B. Michael Radburn lives with his family in the beautiful Southern Highlands of NSW. In his spare time Radburn enjoys farming his small property and taking road trips on his Harley Davidson. Aside, of course, from writing, he possesses a deep passion for music and treasures the time he spends with his guitar, banjo and harmonica. Radburn has been writing successfully for many years, having published more than 80 short stores, articles and reviews in Australia and overseas. Through the late ’80s he was Publishing Editor of the Australian Horror & Fantasy Magazine and founder of Dark Press Publications.