Wild card by Simon Rowell

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Detective Zoe Mayer and her service dog Harry (The long game) return in another compelling Australian rural crime novel. Zoe is sent off to Echuca where a body of a local bikie, Freddie Jones, has been found on the banks of the Murray River. Faced with little information and a cop in Moama across the river who seems to be cooperating with the bikies and local drug dealers, Zoe makes little progress until a second body is found, this time in a pit with a tiger snake. As she and her team slowly uncover what is going on, events begin to become more dangerous.

This was a suspenseful and gripping read that had me reading it in a couple of sittings. Zoe still needs her faithful service dog to keep her upright when she hears helicopters and drones, but she is determined to follow police procedures to work out who is murdering the local crime lords.

The setting of Echuca and Moama and the Murray River will be familiar to many Australian readers who will follow the story of local drug dealers and bikies with interest. And the clues about the card left on a body and the title Wild Card are intriguing too.

Readers who enjoy the setting of the Murray River in Wild Card are sure to want to pick up The tilt by Chris Hammer and fans of rural noir by Jane Harper and Garry Disher will have another author to enjoy.

Themes: Rural noir, Crime, Detectives, Service dogs.

Pat Pledger