Review: Croc Country by Kerry McGinnis

Title: Croc Country

Author: Kerry McGinnis

Published: July 2nd 2020, Michael Joseph

Status: Read July 2020, courtesy PenguinRandomHouse Australia

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My Thoughts:

Croc Country is an engaging novel blending romance and suspense from Kerry McGinnis.

After the tragic drowning of her husband and toddler daughter, Tilly left Queensland to become the house manager for the rangers of Binboona Wildlife Sanctuary, in the Northern Territory’s Gulf country. She finds solace in her routine, but when two policeman arrive and suggest not only that her husband may still be alive but possibly near by, Tilly is stunned. While refusing to believe such a betrayal possible, when Tilly and ranger Luke discover evidence of wildlife smuggling, and visiting botanist Connor makes a confession, she is forced to face the ghosts of her past.

McGinnis develops a strong and interesting plot of intrigue in Croc Country involving smuggling, corruption and murder. I thought the intersection of various agencies was quite unique and the the action was well paced, tense, and exciting. While honestly Tilly’s husbands involvement is a bit of a stretch, it’s a minor flaw.

I liked the mix of characters, particularly non nonsense Sophie and enthusiastic ranger, and twitcher, Luke. The romance that develops between Tilly and Connor is a pleasant, low key element of the story. As they are quite a young couple, I found the old fashioned endearments between them a little awkward though.

Though Binboona Wildlife Sanctuary is fictional, McGinnis places it in the east of the Gulf, near The Lost City, the site of ancient sandstone pillars. While vivid description from the author brings the beautiful landscape to life, she also details the work of the rangers in preserving it. They are kept busy with numerous tasks including land maintenance, wildlife protection, and hosting a seasonal influx of tourists, which I liked learning more about.

I was waiting for a crocodile to make an appearance in truth, but instead we meet a canny butcherbird, an injured brolga, a trio of orphaned joey’s, a sweet sugar glider, and a rare bat, along with the odd snake which slithers by.

Croc Country is my favourite of McGinnis’s bestselling novels so far

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Available from PenguinRandomHouse Australia

Or from your preferred retailer via Booko I Book Depository

Also by Kerry McGinnis reviewed at Book’d Out

 

 

Review: The Roadhouse by Kerry McGinnis

Title: The Roadhouse

Author: Kerry McGinnis

Published: July 2nd 2019, Michael Joseph: Penguin

Status: Read July 2019, courtesy Penguin AU

++++++

My Thoughts:

The Roadhouse is an engaging story of romantic suspense, the eleventh novel set in the Australian Outback region from author Kerry McGinnis.

When Charlie Carver learns of her cousin’s suicide, she decides to leave behind her life in Melbourne, making her way to the remote roadhouse, east of Alice Springs, that she calls home. Little seems to have changed during her five year absence, except her mother appears to be struggling, and within days of Charlie’s return, Molly has a heart attack is is airlifted to Adelaide for life saving surgery.

Charlie willingly steps up to run the roadhouse with the assistance of long time handyman, Bob, and a new cook, Polish backpacker Ute, and is also tasked with taking care of the details related to her cousin’s death. Though she disliked Annabelle, whose beauty barely masked her selfishness, and is beginning to suspect that the suicide could have been faked, Charlie is as shocked and puzzled as everyone else when the body of a murdered woman is found at a nearby abandoned mine site, and is identified as Annabelle.

When Charlie’s family home is ransacked shortly afterwards, she believes the incident is somehow connected to a visit Annabelle made shortly before her death, and danger could be closer to home than anyone expects.

I really enjoyed the mystery element of The Roadhouse, which firstly focuses on the possible motives for Annabelle’s suicide. Charlie is suspicious of the verdict from the outset, believing that even if Annabelle killed herself, she would never choose that particular manner in which to die. After the discovery of Annabelle’s body proves her right, Charlie speculates as to the meaning of a recent visit Annabelle made to the Roadhouse with a strange man in tow, and after the break in at her home, rashly follows a hunch and finds herself in a fight for her life in a tense and thrilling confrontation.

Unfortunately I did feel that the relationship between Charlie and Mike, a stockman she meets from a nearby station, was underdeveloped. The seeds of attraction were sown, but the couple spent very little time together, even less time alone together, and their relationship was unusually chaste for two twenty somethings in this day and age, all of which made Charlie’s ‘proposal’ awkwardly presumptuous, rather than romantic, in my opinion.

The Roadhouse is also a story about family. Molly was not a demonstrative mother, and Charlie’s feckless late father favoured Annabelle, who came to live with Charlie’s family as a young girl after the death of her own parents. Charlie felt overshadowed by her beautiful cousin whose spiteful behaviour towards her often went unnoticed. Charlie hopes to forge a closer relationship with her mother on her return home, and

over the course of the novel comes to understand more about her family’s dynamics.

Ute, with her unique grasp of English, was probably my favourite character in The Roadhouse, I enjoyed the humour she brought to the story and her practical approach to every facet of her life. I also liked the curmudgeonly Bob, whose gruff exterior fails to hide his soft spot for Charlie and Molly.

With a dramatic suspense plot, and likeable characters, in an uniquely Australian setting, I enjoyed The Roadhouse.

Read an Extract

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Available from Penguin Australia

Or from your preferred retailer via Booko I Book Depository

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