Review: The Rush by Michelle Prak


Title: The Rush

Author: Michelle Prak

Published: 3rd May 2023, Simon & Schuster AU

Status: Read May 2023 courtesy Simon & Schuster


My Thoughts:

The Rush is an exciting and gripping debut thriller from Michelle Prak set in the outback of South Australia.

Quinn is late returning to the isolated Pindarry Hotel on the Stuart Highway, where she works and lives, when, through the rain, she spies a badly injured man on the roadside, and unable to leave him there, drags him into her car.

Andrea is anxious when her husband leaves her at the Pindarry Hotel to help an elderly farmer whose property is flooding. With the pub sandbagged and their employee, Quinn, due to arrive any minute, Andrea resolves to stay calm for the sake of her sleeping two year old son, until the power goes out, and a stranger comes to the door demanding to be let in.

Hayley, traveling from Adelaide to Darwin on the Stuart Highway with her boyfriend Scott and backpackers Livia and Joost, is only concerned for her carefully planned itinerary when the rain starts on their second day of travel. But then the roads begin to flood, and as tensions among the foursome grow, Hayley finds herself in a desperate rush for sanctuary.

The Rush is a fast-paced read as it largely unfolds from the perspectives of Quinn, Andrea, Hayley and Livia over a period of about two days. Suspense is introduced early, and built on effortlessly. The threats are recognisable and engender empathy for the characters at risk. Red herrings belie a breathtaking climactic reveal, that provides a unique twist on the story’s themes.

Prak somehow renders the vast landscape of outback South Australia claustrophobic  as the characters converge on Pindarry. The violence of the storm, as it strips away modernity, releases a feral energy that enhances the oppressive atmosphere.

A well crafted addition to the oeuvre of rural Australian crime fiction, The Rush is an immersive and riveting read.


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