A Year of Australian Writing - PM Newton

So, confession time. I read crime fiction. Quite a lot. Not the super violent or gory stuff, I don't do that (in books, film or tv).  I read mostly Australian authors who write with a solid sense of place. 

There's some terrific books out there. Any of Peter Temple's work is fantastic. Melbourne and country Victoria almost become a character in his books. Temple's book Truth won the Miles Franklin Award in 2010, the first crime fiction novel to ever do so. 

Written during the Black Saturday bush-fires in Victoria, it's a crime fiction story, but also an insightful look at contemporary Australian life and how characters are shaped by the physical and emotional world they move in. Well worth the read!

To kick off this reading challenge in 2015 I was keen to discover some new Australian crime fiction writers, and particularly female ones.

Well I did! PM Newton (the P is for Pamela) is a Sydney-based writer who spent years as a detective before traveling the world and then turning to writing.

I read her latest book first - Beams Falling, and loved it. Newton weaves her story through Sydney, and Cabramatta (in Western Sydney), and you can almost smell and hear the city in her descriptions.

I'm half way through her first book, Old School, and it's great too. Both tell the story of Nhu Kelly, a female detective of Vietnamese heritage, working  crimes in Sydney and trying to deal with her past.

Why I love her writing (and Temple's), is that it defies the genre a little. Wrapped up in a crime fiction story is sharp social commentary, and insights into race, gender and class relations in contemporary Australia.

What a discovery and way to kick off the reading new year! 

I'm also determined to read outside of the genres I normally read for this Year of Australian Reading challenge. Maybe you too? 

If crime fiction is not normally your thing, maybe have a read and let me know how you go?!


  1. I love a good crime story but have to admit to not having read many Australian authors in this genre - I am keen to give these ones a crack though. I will let you know how I go.

    1. She's good and so is Peter Temple. I've been discovering more and more Australian authors in the genre and its been great!

  2. I haven't read a lot of crime fiction and I don't know why not, because I generally enjoy it when I do (the thriller / suspense / mystery stuff, not the gory stuff for me either). I might need to have a go at some of your recommendations!

  3. Definitely not the gory stuff but I love an intriguing plot. Pip's challenge has been great for reading about new books I normally wouldn't try and now want to read....the to-read pile is growing fast!



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