BOOK CLUB: Crackenback

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[Total: 3 Average: 4.7]

Crackenback by Lee Christine is the second in the crime series featuring Detective Sergeant Pierce Ryder of the Sydney Homicide Squad.  I have not read the first in the series, but you certainly don’t need to in order to enjoy this novel (although I will be adding the first in the series, Charlotte Pass, to my reading stack.) 

Ryder has been on the hunt for Gavin Hutton for many months.  Hutton is the prime suspect in a couple of very violent murders, neither of which seem to have a motive or be connected.  A couple of new leads come in which lead Ryder to the Snowy Mountains and he’s clearly hoping this will be the breakthrough he needs and not another dead end. 

In the meantime, we meet Eva Bell who manages a remote lodge at Thredbo.  Suddenly her lodge is invaded by her ex-lover, Jack Walker, who is clearly injured and desperate.  At first, Eva thinks he is there for her daughter Poppy but soon the real reason for his presence becomes clearer and is more frightening.  

The story follows Ryder as he discovers more about Hutton and his motivation and starts to work out the links between the murders. Will he be there in time to stop another one?

This is a novel which quickly draws the reader in, it’s full of dread and mystery.  We know Hutton is out there and his path will cross with the main characters at some point but where and when?  The author builds the suspense so well, at times outwardly Eva has to behave normally and interact with her neighbours but all the time she’s looking out, terrified Hutton is watching and about to strike.  

The remoteness and beauty of the Snowy Mountains and surrounding national park are well described, it’s a stunningly lovely place but clearly, an ideal environment for a fugitive to hide out in.  

The characters are well-drawn and we learn a little of the backgrounds of some of the minor characters, perhaps in future novels in this series, the reader will discover more about some of these characters including Ryder’s colleagues, Flowers (known as Daisy) and Sterling.  

I thoroughly enjoyed reading Crackenback, it’s great to read an Australian crime novel which is full of suspense with characters that are appealing and believable, obviously, the appealing part doesn’t refer to Hutton!

Many thanks to Allen and Unwin and Beauty and Lace Book Club for the chance to read this novel.  I will look out for further novels in the Detective Sergeant Ryder series. 

A selection of our Beauty and Lace Club Members are reading Crackenback by Lee Christine. You can read their comments below or add your own review.

ISBN: 978-1-76087-890-0 / Publisher: Allen and Unwin

9 thoughts on “BOOK CLUB: Crackenback

  1. Set in the Crackenback Range Eva Bell runs the Golden wattle Lodge in the Threadbow area. She has a three year old daughter Poppy, conceived after a brief affair with Jack Walker a former commando with the Australian Signals Corp. He had booked out the lodge four years ago using the area as a training base for those undertaking risky security work. This was for former soldiers and conducted in Threadbo’s back country.
    Eva has had no contact with Jack apart from maintenance money.
    She is startled by an injured intruder who turns out to be Jack who is anxious for her and Poppy’s safety when Gavin Hutton who is wanted for murder is on the loose.
    Meanwhile Sergeant Pierce Ryder, (Eva’s sister Vanessa’s boyfriend), Detective Flowers (Daisy), and Nerida Sterling are hunting for Gavin Hutton.
    ‘Crackenback’ by Lee Christine was a great read, gripping and difficult to put down, desriptive and full of suspense. You can almost feel the chill of the snow! There is some humour and just the right amount of romance.
    Thankyou Beautyandlace and Allen & Unwin for the opportunity to read ‘Crackenback’ I really enjoyed it.

  2. Thank you Beauty and Lace for the opportunity to read Crackenback by Lee Christine.

    A story of crime, suspense and romance.
    I absolutely loved this story and I couldn’t put it down!!

    Eva lives with her daughter in the snowy mountains.

    There is a killer on the loose, but what is his connection to Eva?

    Defective Sergeant Pierce Ryder is on the chase for the notorious fugitive, but will he get him before he kills more people?

    Highly recommend!!

  3. Eva is happily raising her young daughter in The Snowy Mountains where she owns and operates a ski resort. As a single Mum her main focus is her daughter. Poppy and Eva have a wonderful life without any major concerns until the day a man from Eva’s past barges into the ski resort and takes control. He locks Evas laptop and phone away leaving her in a panic over how best to protect her daughter. The man is Jack Walker who happens to be Poppy’s Dad. Why he is back and what he wants is soon to become clear and creates more fear.

    I really enjoyed this book and found the story to be one that was very realistic with dramatic turns that were there for a purpose rather then to simply boost the excitement.
    A perfect weekend read.

  4. Crackenback by Lee Christine

    I chose this book because our family are avid skiers. And being set in Australia was a big positive for me. But, I’m up page 26, and finding it hard going. There are so many characters being introduced in a short time and I find myself having to re-read sections to keep up.

    The scenery descriptions are ok but could have been described in way more detail.

    There is random switching between scenes that confuses the plot instead of building on it.
    Action scenes were well written but not enough for this story to be award winning.

    And FYI, this is the shortest review I’ve ever written for Beauty and Lace mag.

    Thanks Beauty and Lace for giving all us readers the opportunity to experience a wide range of genres and styles and the opportunity to voice our opinions. We love you.


  5. All I can say is wow! Thank you so much for the opportunity to read Crackenback. I could not put it down!
    Each page had me wanting more and I was debated when it ended. Crackenback has everything you could ever want in a story.

    Congratulations Lee Christine- another amazing read!

  6. Crackenback by Lee Christine. What a great read and an entertaining story full of twists and turns, murder intrigue and love. Set in the beautiful Snowy Mountains, the perfect setting for Eva to bring her daughter Poppy up and to also indulge in her favorite pastime of cooking and to manage a ski lodge. When out of the blue Poppy’s father, Jack arrives and appears to be acting quite out of the normal and scares Eva into thinking he is there to take her daughter from her. A fact further from the truth when in fact Jack is there to protect them both from a killer hell bent on revenge. The plot of the story evolves around why Eva and Poppy are the latest targets.

    A well written thriller drawing the reader into the past life and job of Jack and how this killer is hell bent on revenge for a past death. The characters are all well explained and give a mental picture of how a crime is solved following up on leads and evidence. I would recommend this book to anyone who loves a good suspense and crime novel.

    Thank you to Allen and Unwin & Beauty and Lace for the chance to read and review this book I loved it.

  7. I absolutely loved reading this book Crackenback by Lee Christine.
    A story of revenge at its worst. A man eager to protect his family from a monster trying to get revenge for a tragedy that was out of his hands. Set in the beautiful Snowy Mountains at a ski lodge.
    Eva is trying to run a ski lodge and bring up her young daughter Poppy, with dad out of the scene. Suddenly Jack (dad) comes bursting back into Eva’s life in the hope of protecting her and his daughter from a monster on the hunt for revenge.
    This is a very easy read and had me not wanting to put it down, but to keep turning the pages. A great story written by a great author.

  8. Thankyou for sending this book.
    I hadn’t read any of Lee Christine before, and I love a thriller so this was right up my alley, plus love being introduced to another aussie author.
    I normally like a longer read so was a bit worried this would come up short, but there was so much action packed into the pages that I couldnt wait to turn another page. I have never been deep into NSW snowy region so the imagery of this landscape was a beautiful one to be immersed in.

  9. Eva Bell is single Mum to Poppy, happily living her life and running a snowy mountain resort at Crackenback.

    Then her ex Jack turns up and throws life into chaos, telling her he believes a fugitive who wants revenge is out to harm her & Poppy.

    Eva must try to trust Jack and overcome he fears.

    The story is interwoven with the detectives who are chasing the fugitive down.

    I found this a very well written and suspenseful book. There were a few times when I pictured the story as a great Aussie drama/thriller on the big screen & that’s always a good sign that I’m hooked!

    Thanks for the opportunity and well done to the author.

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