Wake by Shelley Burr

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When they were nine years old, Mina McCreery’s twin sister Evelyn vanished overnight from the bedroom they shared. For Mina that meant an immediate change and “everything about her life was public property” - even now, nineteen years later.  

An unsolved crime with a million-dollar reward draws a lot of attention, including from private investigator Lane Holland who needs that money. And as Lane’s cold-case investigation progresses we learn more about the complicated pasts of both Mina’s family and Lane himself.  

We also learn about the various ways different people deal with trauma, and we get disturbing insights into the ghoulish delight some take in whipping up suspicion and spreading ‘fake news’ online.  

Crime fiction is not my preferred genre but this book drew me in immediately. I loved that the outback setting is almost a character itself – the fictional small town in NSW is described in vivid detail, giving this novel an unmistakable Australian flavour. And along with Mina and Lane a host of other likeable and believable characters are richly drawn, including Mina’s best friend Alanna, and Senior Sargeant Emily Starrett of the local police in the next town over.  

The layers in this story are revealed slowly, with unexpected turns throughout. Several times I thought I’d figured out where it was going next, only to find myself gasp aloud at the newest revelation. Readers under 16 may be disturbed by some details in this book, including the mentions of child abduction and harm.  

The story wraps up in a satisfying way with the overall message that it’s never too late to speak up or for the truth to be revealed.

Themes: Crime, Mystery, Australia, Child abduction.

Kylie Grant