An Outstanding Debut: Read Our Review of The Torrent by Dinuka McKenzie

An Outstanding Debut: Read Our Review of The Torrent by Dinuka McKenzie

In Northern NSW, heavily pregnant and a week away from maternity leave, Detective Sergeant Kate Miles is exhausted and counting down the days. But a violent hold-up at a local fast food restaurant with unsettling connections to her own past means that her final days will be anything but straightforward.

When a second case is dumped on her lap, the closed case of a man drowned in recent summer floods, what begins as a simple informal review quickly grows into something more complicated. Kate can either write the report that’s expected of her or investigate the case the way she wants to.

As secrets and betrayals pile up, and the needs of her own family intervene, how far is Kate prepared to push to discover the truth?

The Torrent is Dinuka McKenzie’s debut and, I’m predicting, the start of a bestselling career. As I write this, The Torrent hasn’t even hit the shelves, yet McKenzie is already making waves. The Torrent won the HarperCollins Australia 2020 Banjo Prize, while her unpublished manuscript Taken was longlisted for the 2020 Richell Prize. There’s no doubt that McKenzie is a compelling new voice in Australian crime fiction. I didn’t even have a hard copy of the book. Instead, I read a PDF on my computer – something I normally loath doing – yet I couldn’t stop reading. It was that good.

Detective Sergeant Kate Miles is heavily pregnant and biding time until she departs for maternity leave when her boss, and unrepentant womaniser, Andrew Skinner, hands her a file for The Marshall Case – a young couple swept away by floodwaters. The husband, Joel, died, while his wife survived and is now doing the rounds of national media. Joel’s mother has some suspicions about his death, but Skinner just wants Kate to confirm that it’s an open and shut drowning. It’s what Kate would like too but she discovers that things are more complicated than they first appear.

McKenzie has created an outstanding protagonist in Kate; she’s complex, compelling, and being female, pregnant and of Sri Lankan descent, a refreshing change from the usual jaded male detectives we see in the genre. The Northern NSW setting is also an interesting choice. But it’s McKenzie’s writing that really sets her apart. She weaves an impeccably plotted tale, with pitch-perfect prose, making intelligent choices, with unusual characters, leading the reader through a series of unpredictable turns to an explosive end. One that suggests this is the first book in a series. Utterly marvellous!

Buy a copy of The Torrent here.

Reviews

An Impeccably Plotted Debut: Read an Extract from The Torrent by Dinuka McKenzie

Review | Extract

2 February 2022

An Impeccably Plotted Debut: Read an Extract from The Torrent by Dinuka McKenzie

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      Publisher details

      The Torrent
      Author
      Dinuka McKenzie
      Publisher
      HarperCollins
      Genre
      Fiction
      Released
      02 February, 2022
      ISBN
      9781460713587

      Synopsis

      A loving husband lost to devastating summer floods. A teenage girl injured during a robbery. Two seemingly unconnected cases that will push a detective to the brink.

      An atmospheric, compelling new voice in Australian crime fiction.

      In Northern New South Wales, heavily pregnant and a week away from maternity leave, Detective Sergeant Kate Miles is exhausted and counting down the days. But a violent hold-up at a local fast-food restaurant with unsettling connections to her own past, means that her final days will be anything but straightforward.

      When a second case is dumped on her lap, the closed case of man drowned in recent summer floods, what begins as a simple informal review quickly grows into something more complicated. Kate can either write the report that's expected of her or investigate the case the way she wants to.

      As secrets and betrayals pile up, and the needs of her own family intervene, how far is Kate prepared to push to discover the truth?

      Dinuka McKenzie
      About the author

      Dinuka McKenzie

      Dinuka McKenzie is an Australian writer and book addict. Her debut crime fiction novel, The Torrent, won the HarperCollins Australia 2020 Banjo Prize and will be published in February 2022. Her unpublished manuscript Taken was longlisted for the 2020 Richell Prize. She is represented by Alex Adsett Literary. When not writing, Dinuka works in the environmental sector and volunteers as part of the team behind the Writers Unleashed Festival. She lives in Southern Sydney with her husband, two kids and their pet chicken. 

      Books by Dinuka McKenzie

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