Review: Sticks and Stones by Katherine Firkin


Title: Sticks and Stones

Author: Katherine Firkin

Published: June 2nd 2020, Bantam Australia

Status: Read June 2020 courtesy PenguinRandomHouse Australia


My Thoughts:

Sticks and Stones is a debut crime novel from Melbourne journalist Katherine Firkin, inspired by the many criminal trials she has covered.

Recently promoted to the head of the Missing Persons Unit, Detective Senior Constable Emmet Corban is finding the job frustrating. The hours are long, the paperwork is a grind, and more often than not, the missing simply don’t want to be found.

Corban’s most recent cases involve a single woman who didn’t to turn up for her invalid brother’s birthday party, and a young wife and mother who failed to collect her two children from vacation care. Corban is fairly certain the former, Rosemary Norman, simply ditched the event for another adventure, but he is concerned for Natale Gibson, whose parents are frantic, and whose husband is angry.

When the mutilated body of a female is found and identified as one of the missing women, Corban finds himself unexpectedly leading a homicide investigation into the activities of a serial killer. Firkin develops plenty of red herrings as Corban and his unit attempt to trace the movements of the missing women to determine how they crossed paths with their killer. The plot is interesting and complex but to me also felt a little unwieldy, unfolding from multiple perspectives and involving a large cast of characters.

To be honest I had a difficult time keeping the many characters straight initially, especially as the links between some of them aren’t immediately obvious, and the transitions between scenes are quite rapid. The case itself introduces Corban and his staff, as well as suspects, victims and their families. Another thread explores Corban’s personal life, featuring his wife and her slightly inappropriate relationship with her Svengali-like employer, while a third person narrative reveals the past of the killer.

I did enjoy Sticks and Stones, it’s a promising debut, and I can see the potential for an ongoing series featuring Emmett Corban and the Missing Person Unit.


Available from PenguinRandomHouse Australia

Or from your preferred retailer via Booko I Book Depository

7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. carhicks
    Jun 26, 2020 @ 04:23:51

    Wonderful review. This sounds promising.

    Liked by 1 person


  2. Anne - Books of My Heart
    Jun 26, 2020 @ 07:41:32

    I’m sure I’d love this. I sometimes have to figure out how / when it will get here. I finally found The Good Turn by Dervla McTiernan in the US now.

    Liked by 1 person


  3. Jennifer
    Jun 26, 2020 @ 10:19:23

    I agree: it’s a good read! But, as you say, it takes a while to get your head around the characters …

    Liked by 1 person


  4. Lindsi
    Jun 27, 2020 @ 15:31:23

    Thinks makes me think of The Mountains Wild, even though the stories are completely different. They both deal with crime and missing people! The Mountains Wild was excellent, and makes me want to give this one a go (despite the overwhelming number of characters). I’ll just go into it knowing I need to pay really close attention to who’s who. 😉

    Lindsi @ Do You Dog-ear? 💬

    Liked by 1 person


  5. stacybuckeye
    Jun 28, 2020 @ 03:22:55

    Looks like one I need to check out.

    Liked by 1 person


  6. Trackback: It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #SundayPost #SundaySalon | book'd out
  7. Trackback: Review: The Girl Remains by Katherine Firkin | book'd out

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