Lapse by Sarah Thornton

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Clementine Jones book 1. Text Publishing, 2019. ISBN: 9781925773941.
(Age: 15+) Recommended. Themes: Mystery, Crime, Football. A debut mystery from a new Australian author is always good to find and Lapse is a treat. Clementine Jones had a momentary lapse and ends up living an isolated life on the outskirts of Katinga a small country town, but coaching the local footy team brings her out into the open. When she starts investigating why Clancy her star football player has quit, she begins to uncover dirty little secrets in this quiet country town and her secrets are threatened as well.
Clementine Jones is a great character who quickly grabs the reader's interest. She is determined to get her footy team into the finals for the first time in 53 years, at the same time giving them self-respect and self-confidence. The reader is kept guessing until towards the conclusion of Lapse, just why she is hiding out in Katinga. Her sidekick Torrens adds realism to the story. It is very easy to imagine this young man who likes to blow up mailboxes and has spent time in jail, doing his best to not only win the footy games but to help Clementine find out what is happening.
When violence erupts in Katinga Clem has to use all her intelligence and investigative powers to sort out what is happening and she is lucky that she has some friends to help her out of danger.
This is a tense thriller that holds the reader captive until the very end. Themes of the way people in small towns are brought together by football, racism towards the local Aboriginal people, and the class structure that allows rich people power to subvert justice, plus a thrilling plot, make Lapse a great read. Readers are sure to want to grab the next in the series. Fans of Jane Harper and Garry Disher will enjoy this book.
Pat Pledger