A bit of a change of pace for me today. This is a book that still celebrates my beloved crime fiction, so it’s not a million miles off track, but rather than being fiction itself, it is a handy guide to the best of crime fiction from the Australia and New Zealand. Southern Cross Crime by Craig SIsterson is the go to guide for antipodean crime fiction at its best.
About the Book
Australian and New Zealand crime and thriller writing – collectively referred to as Southern Cross Crime – is booming globally, with antipodean authors regularly featuring on awards and bestseller lists, such as Eleanor Catton’s Booker Prize winning The Luminaries and Jane Harper’s big commercial hit, The Dry, winner of the CWA Gold Dagger Award.Available from: Amazon | Kobo | Waterstones | Hive | Googleplay | Apple Books
Hailing from two sparsely populated nations on the far edge of the former Empire – neighbours that are siblings in spirit, vastly different in landscape – Australian and New Zealand crime writers offer readers a blend of exotic and familiar, seasoned by distinctive senses of place, outlook, and humour, and roots that trace to the earliest days of our genre.
Southern Cross Crime is the first comprehensive guide to modern crime writing from “Down Under”. From coastal cities to the outback, leading critic Craig Sisterson showcases key titles from over 250 storytellers, plus screen dramas ranging from Mystery Road to Top of the Lake. Fascinating insights are added through in-depth interviews with some of the prime suspects who paved the way or instigated the global boom, including Michael Robotham, Paul Cleave, Emma Viskic, Paul Thomas, Candice Fox, and Garry Disher.
This book should come with some kind of Government health warning, or at least some helpline numbers for financial advisors as I have a feeling it could be seriously detrimental to your bank balance. It’s certainly made me add a good number of titles to my Want to Read lists as well as making me far more aware of a branch of crime fiction I am ashamed to say I knew very little of.
What comes across loud and clear in this book is the absolute passion that Craig Sisterson has for the field of crime fiction, but especially that coming from his native New Zealand and their neighbour, Australia. Having read through the long list of titles and authors he has collated here, which is really just the tip of the iceberg, I can fully understand why. Starting with a background to the rise of crime fiction in the two countries he then takes us on a literary tour of the islands, detailing by city and by region, the best of the best that represents the place in question.
The book is told in a conversational style, highlighting the background of the individual authors, the style of their writing and the main stories, either series or standalone, that he recommends we read. It is engaging and really spells out to you why you might want to read the book. If you aren’t convinced by the end of a particular pitch, don’t worry, as there are a myriad of styles represented and you are pretty well guaranteed to find something you want to read. With a comprehensive selection and an author who is extremely knowledgeable on his chosen field, I’d be highly surprised if you can leave the book without at least one or two new titles added to your Amazon wish list.
If there is one thing I was left unsure of when I finished it was this … Was I better to stick with the kindle edition and use a combination of Goodreads, highlights and a separate note pad to record all the many (many many) books I wanted to buy and read, or to buy the paperback when it comes out so I can underline and sticky note each author to my hearts content? The answer may well prove to be a combination of both.
A comprehensive guide to Antipodean crime fiction that readers really do need to peruse. Your next favourite read may well just be waiting within these pages.
About the Author
Craig Sisterson is a features writer and crime fiction expert from New Zealand who writes for newspapers and magazines in several countries. In recent years he’s interviewed hundreds of crime writers and talked about the genre on national radio, top podcasts, and onstage at festivals on three continents. He’s been a judge of the McIlvanney Prize and Ned Kelly Awards, and is founder of the Ngaio Marsh Awards and co-founder of Rotorua Noir.
Author Links: Twitter