Series: Dungirri

Darkening Skies by Bronwyn Parry

Darkening Skies by Bronwyn ParryDarkening Skies by Bronwyn Parry
Series: Dungirri #3
Published by Hachette Australia on September 10th 2013
Pages: 368
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five-stars

Award-winning investigative reporter Jennifer Barrett never planned to return to Dungirri, the dying town she’d escaped at seventeen. But the shock resignation and startling revelations of local Federal MP Mark Strelitz have reopened the police investigation into the long-ago accident that killed her cousin, and Jenn is determined to find the truth, even if it proves that the close friend of her youth has become just another politician with a convenient case of amnesia.
For eighteen years, the hole in Mark Strelitz’s memory has concealed the truth: that he was the driver of the car in which Paula Barrett died. The investigation was corrupt, another man framed and sent to prison, and now Mark needs to set things right, whatever the personal cost.
But as Jenn and Mark ask questions about the old crime, new crimes occur; the murder of witnesses, the destruction of evidence. Despite the risks, neither of them can give up their search for answers but the further they delve into the district’s seedy past, the more questions they find – and the more danger. Someone wants the past to remain buried, and those investigating it to be stopped – permanently.

I’ve looked forward to reading Mark’s story for some time and after this, I’m convinced that Bronwyn Parry can do no wrong – especially on the mystery/crime front.

As usual, the suspense far outweighs the romance bit, which is a thin, loose thread of teenage lovers reunited as adults deftly woven into a deepening mystery surrounding Mark’s sudden resignation after a life-defining event that happened 18 years ago. Held back by not-too-pleasant memories and issues that stretch farther than their own insecurities, Jenn’s and Mark’s burgeoning relationship is toe-curling, delicious and painful to read. There’s plenty of their hyper-awareness of each other given their complicated history but the fulfilment of their passion seems to pass us by, briefly mentioned by Parry in a short love scene in the closing pages of the book.

I’ve always loved Parry’s male leads and Mark is really not too different from the other heroes in her books – masculine, principled, effortless with words and so multi-faceted that I’ve (un)consciously used them as benchmarks for assessing other romantic leads. Jenn is no pushover either; her tendency to run scared and over-question issues, while annoying at times, is at least clearly acknowledged and compensated for in the ending.

five-stars

Dark Country by Bronwyn Parry

Dark Country by Bronwyn ParryDark Country by Bronwyn Parry
Series: Dungirri, #2
Published by Hachette Australia on September 1st 2009
Pages: 400
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four-stars

Most people in the small town of Dungirri have considered Morgan ‘Gil’ Gillespie a murderer for eighteen years, so he expects no welcome on his return. What he doesn’t expect is the discovery of a woman’s tortured body in the boot of his car, and new accusations of murder.
Wearied by too many deaths and doubting her own skills, local police sergeant Kris Matthews isn’t sure whether Gil is a decent man wronged by life, or a brutal criminal she should be locking up. But she does know that he is not guilty of this murder – because she is his alibi . . .
Between organised crime, police corruption, and the hatred of a town, Gil has nowhere to hide. He needs to work out who’s behind the murder before his enemies realise that the one thing more punishing than putting him back in prison would be to harm the few people he cares about.
Kris is determined to help him, but will their search for the truth make her the next target?

The spotlight falls on Morgan Gillespie and Kris Matthews – a supporting character in the first book – this time around and we’re thrown deep into complex issues surrounding witness protection, the limits of law enforcement, organised crime and its spillover into the rural parts of Australia.

I dove straight into Bronwyn Parry’s second book in the Dungirri series as soon as I got hold of my copy and while I didn’t like it as much as I did her first, there was pretty good round storytelling and a fantastic build-up that should be present in the mystery/crime/thriller genre.

Ms Parry has become one of my most-liked authors and I can’t wait to get to Mark’s story in the third book.

four-stars

As Darkness Falls by Bronwyn Parry

As Darkness Falls by Bronwyn ParryAs Darkness Falls by Bronwyn Parry
Series: Dungirri, #1
Published by Hachette Australia on January 1st 1970
Pages: 356
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five-stars

As Darkness Falls is set in the isolation of a small town on the edge of the New South Wales outback. Haunted by her failures, country police officer Detective Isabelle O'Connell is recalled to duty by Detective Alec Goddard to investigate the abduction of yet another child from her old home town.
With the killer playing a game of cat and mouse and targeting Bella, they have only days in which to find the girl alive, but they have very few clues, a whole town of suspects, and a vast wilderness to search. For Bella, this case is already personal; for Alec his best intentions to keep it purely professional soon dissolve. He starts to think of the missing child as if she were his own, and his anguish over Bella’s safety moves beyond the just his concern for a colleague. Their mutual attraction leaves them both vulnerable to their private nightmares – nightmares that the killer ruthlessly exploits.

Gorgeous writing, strong, unwavering characters (that aren’t bastard Neanderthals or too stupid to live), and a murder plot that kept me on the edge of the seat throughout. The slow burn between Alec and Bella was mesmerising to read as the pages went by, making me wish for more of this special brand of intensity between them. Even after I finished the book, I was left wondering about the both of them, hoping for more than just a glimpse of what their HEA might be.

five-stars