A Small-Town Disaster Thriller: Read our Review of Ash Mountain by Helen FitzGerald

A Small-Town Disaster Thriller: Read our Review of Ash Mountain by Helen FitzGerald

Fran hates Ash Mountain, and she thought she’d escaped. But her father is ill and needs care. Her relationship is over, and she hates her dead-end job in the city anyway.

She returns to her hometown to nurse her dying father, her distant teenage daughter in tow for the weekends. There, in the sleepy town of Ash Mountain, childhood memories prick at her fragile self-esteem, she falls in love for the first time, and her demanding dad tests her patience, all in the unbearable heat of an Australian summer.

As old friendships and rivalries are renewed, and new ones forged, Fran’s tumultuous home life is the least of her worries, when old crimes rear their heads, and a devastating bushfire ravages the town and all of its inhabitants…

Helen Fitzgerald is no stranger to writing thrillers, even having one of her books, The Cry, adapted into an award-winning TV series in 2018. It’s no surprise that her latest novel, Ash Mountain, is an outstanding take on small-town life and the devastating bushfires that affect so many Australian towns.

As we follow Fran, the novel takes place over three timelines, giving the town of Ash Mountain a rich history, making every corner and store feel real and fleshed out. The way Fitzgerald describes the town is full of passion and heart, and It’s clear that her rural upbringing is a big inspiration. The town itself is home to just over 800 residents, which gives the place an almost claustrophobic feel, only adding to the suspenseful atmosphere of the novel.

Fran herself is a character that I think many people can resonate with to some degree. Trying her best to survive in a place she doesn’t think she belongs; she’s determined to take care of her family while discovering herself and re-living her past. What makes her a truly memorable character is the fact that she still manages to find the humour in it all. There were a few moments I caught myself laughing out loud. One minute it’ll pull on your heartstrings and maybe even bring you to the verge of tears, and the next you’ll be laughing at Fran’s dark and witty humour.

Simultaneously a warm, darkly funny portrait of small-town life – and a woman and a land in crisis – and a shocking and truly distressing account of a catastrophic event that changes things forever, Ash Mountain is a heart-breaking slice of domestic noir, and a disturbing disaster thriller that you will never forget.

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Gripping Australian Domestic Noir: Read an Extract of Ash Mountain by Helen FitzGerald

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      Publisher details

      Ash Mountain
      Author
      Helen FitzGerald
      Publisher
      Affirm Press
      Genre
      Crime Fiction
      Released
      23 February, 2021

      Synopsis

      Fran thought she’d never return to Ash Mountain but her dad has become ill, her relationship is over, and she hates her dead-end job in the city anyway. In a blistering summer, childhood memories prick at her fragile self-esteem as old friendships and rivalries are renewed and new ones forged. But the tumult of her home life is the least of her worries because a bushfire is roaring towards Ash Mountain and the town’s long-held secrets will soon be exposed in the carnage. Ash Mountain is a uniquely Australian domestic noir – warm, blackly funny and a powder keg of accumulated tension. Vividly portraying small-town life, and a woman and a land in crisis, this is a disaster thriller you will never forget.

      Helen FitzGerald
      About the author

      Helen FitzGerald

      Helen FitzGerald is the bestselling author of ten adult and young adult thrillers, including The Donor (2011) and The Cry (2013), which was longlisted for the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year, and is now a major drama for BBC1. Helen worked as a criminal justice social worker for over fifteen years. She grew up in Kilmore, Victoria, Australia. She now lives in Glasgow with her husband.

      Books by Helen FitzGerald

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