Friday, March 5, 2010

Currently reading: BLACK ICE by Leah Giarratano

I've been a bit of a roll, crime reading-wise, lately. In the past week or so I've managed to find time (in amongst a pretty hectic schedule), to read several interesting books, including HUNTING BLIND by Paddy Richardson, re-reading BLOOD MEN by Paul Cleave, 61 HOURS by Lee Child, and TALKING ABOUT DETECTIVE FICTION by PD James.

I'm now almost finished Leah Giarratano's BLACK ICE, which I started midweek, after our magazine deadline. It's my first taste of the relatively new-ish Australian author - this, her third book, had been sitting in my TBR pile since last year. Too many good books, too little time - as is often the case.

However, inspired by Dorte's excellent 2010 Global Reading Challenge, and looking for a 'new to me' Australian crime writer, I selected BLACK ICE from the pile. And I'm glad I did. I'm enjoying it thusfar, and am looking forward, later today, to reading how it all comes to a head. Challenge-wise, it completes the Australasian continent for me too - which means Australasia, Europe, North America, and Africa are completed, and I only have one Asian, two South American, and two Antarctica-set crime novels to go (nine 14ths of the way there). Not that completing the challenge will stop me reading lots more crime novels from all around the world, of course.

In BLACK ICE, Giarratano's third novel, her recurring heroine Detective Sergeant Jill Jackson is working undercover in Sydney's murky drug world, where glamour and seedy underbelly collide.

The publisher's blurb states: "Living in a run down flat and making unlikely friends Jill sees first hand what devastation the illegal drugs scene can wreak. Jill's sister Cassie has a new boyfriend Christian Worthington. Like her, he is one of the beautiful people of Sydney, rich, good looking, great job, great car and seen in all the right places. He is a high flying lawyer doing pro bono work to keep a drug dealer out of gaol. He is also Cassie's supplier, keeping her supplied with cocaine and ice. When Cassie overdoses and is dumped at the hospital her life begins to spiral out of control. Seren Templeton is just out of Silverwater Women's Correctional Centre. Two years in gaol away from her son for something she didn't do. And now she is ready to get her revenge on the man responsible. Things start to go awry when these worlds collide and Jill and Cassie meet on opposite sides of the law."

Away from crime writing, Giarratano is a well-known clinical psychologist, perhaps most famous for hosting the spin-off, Australian version of popular New Zealand TV show Beyond the Darklands, where an expert psychologist delves into the past of notorious criminals, searching for signs and understanding of how they became who they are.

As a side note, in New Zealand, where the TV show originated, the series is hosted by popular expert child psychologist Nigel Latta, whose career has the dichotomy of dealing with very serious criminals, and also helping everyday parents deal all the stresses, challenges, and issues of raising children well. Latta also wrote a crime novel (which was pretty good), EXECUTION LULLABY, several years ago.

Have any of you read Giarratano's books? What do you think? Thoughts and comments welcome?


  1. I certainly hope the challenge has just whetted your appetite :D

    Giarratano´s book is on my shelf (I think I won it on Kerrie´s blog), and I expect it to be a really good one. But as I have read Peter Temple as my first Australasian choice, my next one will be Cemetery Lake. It has arrived, but I am very busy right now and will put it away until I have time to read it in a day or two.

  2. I really like Leah Giarratano's books - her first one, Vodka Doesn't Freeze, has the best evil character I've met in a long time. Black Ice was a bit different from the first two but I really liked it as well - again it's the characters that interested me and I thought Seren was terrific