What happens when the past comes to get you?
Robyn Ayres works as the camp caretaker on Finch Island, a former leper colony off the coast of Queensland. Her current clients are a group of ex-military men who run a tough-love program for troubled teens.
The latest crop looks like the usual mix of bad boys and sad boys. Then Robyn takes a second look at a kid called Darren. Last time she saw him his name was Aaron, and Robyn was his primary school teacher. And she was somehow at the centre of a vicious small-town custody battle involving his terrifying grandmother.
Bruising classroom dynamics, manipulative parents and carers, and horrendous small-town politics form the backdrop to a nail-biting thriller in which the tensions of ten years ago start to play themselves out, building to a violent climax in the present day.
Robyn escaped the past once. Now it’s back – and this time there’s no way out…
Over the past few years, Australian crime fiction has experienced a boom. The quality of writers continues to impress me, and Catherine Jinks is an author every crime reader should have on their shelf. Her previous books, Shelter and Shepherd, were both riveting rural crime reads. Now she’s back with her latest novel, The Attack, another heart-pounding Australian thriller. Full of suspense and examining issues of domestic abuse, this is Jink’s best work yet.
Taking place in both 2009 and 2019, the story weaves back and forth as we slowly learn about the history between Robyn and Aaron. Aaron’s presence gives Robyn a lot of anxiety, making for a lot of tense reading. There’s clearly lots of history between the two, and Jinks maintains a steady pace throughout, keeping me absolutely hooked.
This book tackles the heavy topics of child abuse and toxic relationships, but Jinks handles it with a great deal of sensitivity. She isn’t afraid to realistically depict the harmful effects of abuse, making for a truly impactful story. Both Aaron and Robyn deal with a lot in this book. From Aaron’s domestic problems to the impact this has as it spills into Robyn’s life as a teacher, Jinks shows that abuse has a ripple effect on all those connected.
Catherine Jinks has cemented herself as a must-read Aussie crime writer. Gripping, atmospheric and hard-hitting, The Attack is a riveting thriller from start to end. If you’re a fan of Australian crime, this is the perfect book for you.