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Book review of WAKE by Shelley Burr


This rural crime novel is set in the small town of Nannine, in rural Australia.

A twin sister went missing from a farm house 20 years ago, and her body has never been found, ripping the family into bits – the father became more distant, while the mother did everything she could to keep the story of Evelyn’s disappearance in the media, to keep alive the interest in the case, to try to find answers.

Meanwhile, many suspect the remaining sister Mina (short for Wilhelmina) of murdering her sister. She now lives alone on this isolated farm, unable to start a life elsewhere,

Her father is off on his lonesome travels and her mother, who died, has left a huge reward in her will for anyone who finds answers to this unsolved crime.

Mina is doing solitary work in this place where she only has one friend, while also managing the farm. The family feels unable to sell it, in case Evelyn’s body is somewhere on the property. But so many droughts on, it isn’t a viable farm any more.

Isolation is Mina’s everyday experience until a private detective arrives, with his own motivations for investigating this case. He gets onside with Mina, and she gradually lets him in to know more about her life, and the secrets she has carried for too long.

We also learn the secrets that have led to him coming here, which leads to a gripping conclusion, as the different story threads come together.

It’s a haunting, excellent story, that takes the reader into a new understanding of what it’s like to be a survivor of a family torn apart by an unsolved crime.

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