Review: Deception Creek by Fleur McDonald


Review: Deception Creek {Detective Dave Burrows}

Author: Fleur McDonald

Published: 1st November 2021, Allen & Unwin

Status: Read November 2021 courtesy Allen & Unwin



My Thoughts:


Two seemingly unrelated story threads eventually overlap in Deception Creek, the fifth Australian rural mystery novel by Fleur McDonald to feature Detective Dave Burrows in the town of Barker, though the ninth in which he appears.

When Joel Hammond returns to Barker after serving a nine year jail sentence, Dave is surprised by the venom directed at him by a handful of locals. Their anger, Dave learns, is unrelated to the financial crimes that Joel claims he is innocent of. When Joel was a teenager his girlfriend, Maggie, died after a fall from a water tower, and though he was cleared of any involvement, her family have always believed him responsible.

Though Emma Cameron’s marriage has ended in divorce, she’s proud that all her hard work means the farm she inherited from her parents in Deception Creek is almost debt free. She doesn’t want to be alone forever though and when Kyle Pengilly, with whom she shares a tragic memory, comes to town, she finds his obvious interest flattering.

McDonald’s plot is skilfully crafted, well paced, and offers a truly unexpected ending. While Dave, and his partner Senior Constable Jack Higgins try to keep peace in town as Maggie’s brother, Steve, becomes increasingly confrontational with Joel, their partners, Kim Burrows and journalist Zara Ellison, grow curious not only about Joel’s insistence that he was not guilty of fraud, but also what really happened the night Maggie died. I was caught up in the drama and suspense as their questions unravel shocking truths that have been hidden for decades.

I’ve grown familiar with the core characters, who share a strong sense of community and justice, over previous instalments and find them to be an appealing foursome. I liked Emma, an independent, capable farmer, and Joel who, despite the accusations levelled against him, is sympathetic. Interestingly, both these characters give McDonald another opportunity to explore facets of PTSD, as she has done in several previous novels.

Though it can be read as a stand alone, Deception Creek is another great read is what is an engaging series that combines suspense and romance in an authentic rural Australian setting.


Available from Allen & Unwin RRP AUD$29.99

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #SundayPost #SundaySalon | book'd out
  2. Trackback: Crime Fiction Round-Up: October-November 2021 | Australian Women Writers Challenge Blog

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