Review – Beams Falling by P.M. Newton

9780670074525Ex-cop P.M. Newton burst onto the Australian crime writing scene four years ago with her impressive debut The Old School. Newton’s distinctive style and experience brought a point of view sadly missing from most Australian crime novels. And the introduction of Detective Nhu ‘Ned’ Kelly was a welcome change from the usual clichéd lead character in Australian crime fiction. Set in the early 1990s Newton explored a world of corruption, racism and sexism, where history weighs heavily on everybody’s shoulders.

I am going to go out on limb here (a very sturdy limb) and state now that I think Beams Falling is even better than The Old SchoolBeams Falling takes up where The Old School left off. One of the pitfalls of many crime series is continuity. Often the hero comes back in the next installment, slightly scarred, but ready to continue the fight, with few hangovers (so to speak) from past cases or events. But one of the great things about P.M. Newton’s writing is the authenticity she brings to the page. Yes there is a murder to solve in this book but one of the main parts to this novel is Ned’s recovery, physical and mental, to the horrific events at the end of The Old School.

After recovering in hospital and working the system Ned is passed fit to return to work. However her old station doesn’t want her back after what she did. She eventually ends up in Cabramatta, part of a task force assigned to crack down on the rising crime in the area. To the media she is now a hero cop and the brass are going to milk that for all it’s worth. When two young boys are gunned down in separate incidents, more victims in the never-ending drug war, Ned realizes the hard way she is not ready to come back to the job and must now confront the possible bitter truth about whether she actually wants the job back at all.

Newton has packed so much into this book. This is not only an intricate crime mystery but a fascinating exploration of the social, political and economic impact of migration in Sydney’s west. Newton shows there is much more to Cabramatta than what the media fed us in the 1990s and shows the human side and the human cost of a so-called “war” on drugs. At the same time Newton explores the complex issue of corruption, demonstrating the varying degrees and guises it can take, the consequences it has and how the concept of good and bad, right and wrong gets totally and utterly blurred. Combined with the psychological aspect and Newton has produced a truly remarkable novel.

Buy the book here…

Interview with the angelic Nalini Singh (Part 2)

Today, Nalini Singh, author of the new Guild Hunter series, will be chatting about reading, and writing her books. As I said in Part 1 of the interview, Nalini will be heading down under later this month…but if you miss her this time, never fear! She will be back in Sydney for a book signing, August 13 at Crowne Plaza Coogee for the Australian Romance Writers’ Conference! Aren’t we lucky?!

So Nalini, have you always loved to write the decadence of romance, or are there other genres that you like to play around with?

I love reading across a number of genres, but the books that work best for me are the ones where there is some kind of a relationship thread – so romance is the perfect fit for me.

However, part of what I love about paranormal and urban fantasy romance is that I get to play with lots of different elements – for example, my Psy/Changeling series has some science fiction aspects, while the Guild Hunter books have a thriller edge to them.

New Zealand, your country of origin, is a stunningly beautiful place. Does it ever inspire your paranormal writings?

Of course. I think everything around me inspires me in one form of another, whether it’s the most lush beauty, or something far more stark.

Name the books/ authors that inspired your passion for writing:

I read so much that it’s difficult to pick just a few names – I think everything I’ve ever read has probably helped with my writing journey in some way.

Do you have a favourite place you like to read?

I have a sofa that gets the mid-morning sunlight – I love curling up there for an hour in the morning.

What books are on your bedside table right now?

Mark Del Franco’s Unperfect Souls, Patricia Briggs’ Silver Borne, Ariana Franklin’s Relics of the Dead and Jayne Ann Krentz’s Fired Up.

Aaah! I love Ariana Franklin…
Best writing or reading advice you’ve ever received:

When I was first submitting my work, another author told me to never just have one submission out there. That way, there’s less obsessing, and if one piece of work gets rejected, you still have the hope for success with one of the other submissions. Following that advice made it so much easier to bounce back from rejection.

And finally, you’re a big chocolate lover, I hear! So, the most important question of the day: Belgian or Swiss?

You know, to answer this question, I would really need to conduct an intensive year-long study. 😉

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Hmmph. I would have picked Belgian, for sure.

Thanks to Nalini Singh for her generosity in allowing me to interview her (my fangirl knees were shaking), and also a special thanks to Hachette Publishing for the opportunity. Remember, if you want to hear about the latest that’s happening for Nalini, head to her website.