BOOK CLUB: Without A Doubt

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Author: Fleur McDonald
ISBN: 978-1-76063-315-8
RRP: $29.99
Publication Date: April 2019
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Copy: Courtesy of the Publisher

Without A Doubt is another novel that takes us back in time to the early career of Dave Burrows, another story to help us get to know his backstory and understand his character a little better.

My reading life has been hampered of late, A LOT, and it is taking me WEEKS to finish a book; even when I love it. Without a Doubt was devoured quicker than my Easter chocolate in a short matter of days. I should attribute at least a little of the credit to school holidays, long weekends and a family outing where I wasn’t the driver but a lot of the credit goes to the fact that I could not put it down.

Detective Dave Burrows has settled well into the small WA town of Barrabine. It isn’t what he wants long term but it is a step towards his long term goals. He is enjoying the small community policing and has built a strong relationship with his partner but he’s still worried that his wife isn’t happy. She struggled to settle in when they first moved to town but things got better and she made a good go of it. Now that Melinda is home with Bec she seems to be struggling again, she is missing the family she had to leave behind in the city and resenting the amount of time Dave spends at work.

Things come to a head when Dave finally lets the situation with his father-in-law get him to the point of no return and everything changes.

Without A Doubt is engaging and well paced, a read that kept some interesting little twists nice and quiet until the very end but I feel like it wrapped up a little too quickly. I’m left with some questions that I just don’t know if I will ever have answers to.

Fleur McDonald has a wealth of farming experience in rural Australia and she employs that knowledge to pen a tale of small communities, mustering and stock losses.

This is a tale that travels far and wide, with storylines encompassing both ends of our wide brown land. Dave Burrows is stationed in the West Australian town of Barrabine and the story takes us from there to Nundrew, a very similar town in Queensland. The link begins quite tenuous and circumstantial but the deeper we delve, and the more danger Dave finds himself in, the stronger the links.

McDonald explores undercover policing and cattle theft with insight and intrigue. Her writing is plausible and the undercover policing aspect was quite obviously well researched.

The toll of police work on families is explored with the dangers of everyday policing, before going further into the stress and fear that goes along with undercover work. The complete disconnect with everything about your life to take on a role that is destined to be life changing, every single time.

Once again McDonald explores the effects that a major move has on Melinda. She learned to live with the small town, the distance from her family and the commitment of Dave to his work when it was just the two of them but things have changed now that there’s three of them. Part of Melinda’s settling in was finding a job that she loved, now that she’s home with Bec that outlet is not there for her.

Raising a baby, any child actually, is hard work and you need support. It is certainly a time that you feel the distance from your family and it doesn’t help when that family is forever rubbing that distance in, making sure you know that it could be easier if you were closer. That disconnect from family, from the community you live in with the break from work and the rigorous demands of a young child can definitely impact your happiness and it takes work to overcome that. I think McDonald has explored this aspect relatively well though we read from Dave’s perspective so never quite make it all the way into Melinda’s head.

Without a Doubt is another fantastic read, another trip back in time to learn more about a young Detective Dave Burrows. This is a Detective Dave Burrows story so it is linked to other novels but I’m not sure it’s really a linear type series that you have to read in order. The previous release is Where The River Runs which we featured as a book club read but I haven’t quite got to yet, much to my dismay, and that features Det. Burrows but I’m not sure of it’s time setting. Fool’s Gold is the earlier release which is set in 1997 when the Burrows couple first arrive in Barrabine so if there is any book to read before this one, that’s probably it. Having said that, I think Without A Doubt works beautifully as a stand alone.

Another engaging read that shines a light on rural Australia and captivated me start to finish. Thank you for another brilliant book Fleur McDonald.

Fleur McDonald loves to hear from her readers and you can find her on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Without A Doubt is published by Allen & Unwin and is available now from Angus & Robertson Bookworld, Booktopia and where all good books are sold.

Thanks to Allen & Unwin 30 of our Beauty and Lace Club Members are currently reading Without A Doubt and you can read their thoughts on the book in the comments below, please be aware there may be spoilers.

27 thoughts on “BOOK CLUB: Without A Doubt

  1. I was excited to be chosen to read and review Without a Doubt as I am a huge fan of Fleur McDonald.

    I have read all of Fleur’s books and Without a Doubt did not disappoint!

    It was great to catch up with Detective Dave Burrows again seeing where his life had taken him.

    I really felt like I was in Dave’s shoes, I felt his pain, his love for his family and his pride for his job.

    The only thing I didn’t like was the fact the story had to end!

    I’d love to read more adventures of Detecive Dave Burrows and his family.

    Thank you Beauty and Lace, Allen & Unwin and most of all Fleur McDonald for the chance to read an amazing story!

    1. This book was another fantastic read by Fleur Macdonald.
      She is a great aussie author and this book didnt disappoint thats for sure.

  2. Thanks to Allen & Unwin and Beauty and Lace for this book, ‘Without a doubt” by Fleur McDonald.

    Following the story of Dave Burrows in his work and home life. His struggles and achievements are told in a way that keep you enthralled and I could not put the book down.

    The story of a policeman’s life and the effect it has on his family. The sacrifices one must make on a daily basis and then to go undercover and leave everyone and everything behind is an ordeal on everyone involved as well as being extremely dangerous.

    Also this book shows an insight into the farming and mustering side of the country towns which was informative and interesting.

    I haven’t read any other books in the Dave Burrows storyline but it was a good stand alone book anyway and makes me want to read more as it was very well written.

  3. It was great to learn what Dave began his career and how to try and keep his family safe it was another great book written by Fleur McDonald and a big thank to beauty and lace and Allen and Unwin for the occasion to read this beautifully written book

  4. Thanks to Beauty and Lace Club and Allen & Unwin I read ‘Without a Doubt’ by Fleur McDonald. Fleur is a popular rural author and I have read others of hers before and have enjoyed them.

    ‘Without a Doubt’ is the 3rd novel featuring Detective Dave Burrows but you don’t need to read the other 2 books before this one, it can be read standalone.

    This book explores a little of what it’s like to be part of a police officer’s life. Unfortunately people will do bad things so Dave has to investigate numerous serious crimes. All this does take a toll on family life.

    The story surrounding the crimes was well written and interesting enough to keep me reading but I did feel the flow of the book was a little stilted at the start but settled towards the end of the book which was really good and then it stopped suddenly. There were a few things that happened that didn’t seem like they would happen right then but felt it did because the author needed to end the book.

    Despite this it is a good book and is worth a read.

  5. I could not put this book down. I devoured it.
    Fleur McDonald has yet again brought us a page turner of a story, all set in our own land, so you really feel a part of the story.
    Dave Burrows loves his wife and baby girl, and also loves his job, but will it cost him his family?
    Going deep undercover to prove illegal mustering, as well as murders, could just see him lose his own life.!
    I have read all of Fleur McDonald’s books, all so well written, and this one is no exception.
    I hope there are more stories written around the life of Det Dave Burrows.
    Thank you Beauty and Lace, Allen & Unwin and most of all Fleur McDonald for the chance to read yet another amazing story!

  6. I do have a strong love for rural Australian romance and Fleur McDonald has always been highly regarded in my books! So of course, I had to get my mitts on this straight away and give it a read!

    Detective Dave Burrows finds himself on the wrong side of the law as he searches for the link between a murdered man and illegal stock trading in this suspenseful rural crime novel.

    Detective Dave Burrows returns in the most compelling and exciting case of his early career.

    In Barrabine, as Dave’s workload skyrockets, Melinda, Dave’s wife, is unhappy about being left alone so much to raise their eighteen-month-old daughter, Bec. It’s not how Dave wants it either, but complaints, leads and crimes all have to be investigated – it’s what he joined the force for.

    Melinda’s interfering father isn’t helping. He’s never thought that Dave was right for his daughter and he’s not shy about telling Dave what he’s doing wrong. When things come to a head at home, Dave’s policing mate, Spencer, comes up with a plan.

    In the most dangerous mission of his life, Dave knows what he’s risking. If he’s found out, he’ll never see Melinda or Bec again. Of that he’s sure.

    Another well written book by Fleur, Without a doubt took us back to the story of Dave Burrows local cop. Dave has always been a bit of a funny character for me, I’m still unsure if I like him or not but I do enjoy these books! They are always so easy to read, and I love the fact that even if I have a lot going on in my life and feel I can’t concentrate on a book, these books Are perfect for that as they are so easy to read. Can’t wait for the next one!

  7. Fleur McDonalds is an accomplished Australian rural fiction novelist. Her books are hard to put down, are so well written and the characters are interesting and compelling. This is especially evident here when the main man Detective Dave Burrows returns to solve another case. In this book Dave juggles the traits of his job with the balance of meeting the needs of his young family with his wife Melinda.

    His determination to further his career is tested. Dave must not let his family troubles cloud his judgement and put his and his family’s life at risk in this next mission.

    I have gleefully read a handful of Fleur McDonald’s books. Without a doubt this is a fast paced gripping story that won’t leave you disappointed.

    Thank You to Beauty and Lace Book Club and Allen and Unwin Publishers for the reading and reviewing opportunity. I highly recommend this novel.

  8. Without a Doubt by Fleur McDonald is the second in the Dave Burrows series and is a ripper! It’s one of Fleurs best, right from the start I was sucked in and wanted to keep on reading!
    Dave has been in Barrabine for nearly two years, whilst he loves being there his wife Melinda hates it, Dave works long hours at times and she is home alone looking after there 18 month old daughter Bec.
    Looking for a missing person, leads Dave’s partner Spencer to being contacted by an old mate Justin, who was his partner in Barrabine a long time ago, he has an unidentified body and cattle duffing going on.
    Meanwhile on the Homefront when Melinda’s parents visit things come to a head with Melinda’s interfering father and Dave leading to Melinda taking some time out.
    Justin needs a hand solving the cattle duffing and Dave is the perfect man to help out, whilst it gives Dave time to sort out where he wants to go, the tasks isn’t without risks, Dave needs to make sure he comes back in one piece and fight for his family.
    I love Fleurs books and this one was great! The suspense has you continuing to turn pages, unable to put the book down! My only complaint would be it ended quite suddenly without being quite finished, I hope that means the next Dave Burrows book will finish this story off!
    Thanks to Beauty and Lace and Allen and Unwin for the chance to review Without a Doubt

  9. This was only my second Fleur McDonald book and my first about Detective Dave Burrows but that did not impact on my enjoyment of the book. I must admit that I struggled a bit to get into it as there were a few different storylines introduced, but once I did I really enjoyed it and I have discovered a few more of her books in my TBR mountain.
    This was an interesting book as it covered lots of genres as it was a Police Procedural with a bit of a Rural Romance. I look forward to reading more of her books and especially books about Dave Burrows as he is a very likeable, relatable character.
    Many thanks to Beauty and Lace Book Club and Allen and Unwin for my copy to review.

  10. Wow another goodie from fleur McDonald, I just love a good romance with the added character of the Aussie out back the police work of detective burrows!

    This story really has everything, suspense drama and love but at the same time it’s so relatable with real life. We can all imagine feeling the way Dave and Mel do one way or another.

    Thanks beauty and lace for the read! I really enjoyed this one without a doubt!!! 1

  11. Without a Doubt is the story of Detective Dave Burrows.

    Dave has been written into a few of Fleur McDonald’s books and I have enjoyed reading his story along the way but I was always wanting more of Dave. At last we have it a whole book giving us Dave’s story.
    I was so excited to read this as through the other books I have come to really like the character of Dave.

    It’s 1999 and Detective Dave Burrows and his family have been stationed in the gold fields of Western Australia for two years.
    His father-in-law doesn’t think it’s the right place for his daughter Melinda and granddaughter Bec to live in and is trying ways to get Melinda back home.

    Dave and his policing mate Spencer spend many hours patrolling the area in their police car chatting and discussing things along the way.

    When a dead body, an abandoned vehicle and stock go missing the police need to step up and find out what is going on.

    Dave decides to take on the most challenging and dangerous mission of his life but can he do it. Can he pull it off and come back to Melinda and Bec or will it all be lost.

    Fleur brings a realness to her characters and creates a story that will leave an impact on you long after you’ve finished the book.

    She takes you out of the city and into the country where beautiful scenes await your mind and the realness of the rural life is there to meet you.

    I can’t wait to meet Dave again in future books of Fleur’s.

  12. Wow!! What a fantastic book. I absolutely loved it!! I couldn’t put it down, I just had to keep reading until I found out what happened.

  13. Without a Doubt by Fleur McDonald is easy to read and hard to put down.

    The story follows the life of Detective Dave Burrows and his wife Mel in the goldfields of WA. Life isn’t easy, but made more difficult for Dave by complicated in-law relationships. After a tiff between Dave and his father-in-law, his wife decides to spend sometime in her childhood town with her daughter, Dave’s child. Devastated, how will he cope? Until he is presented with a new challenging policing role …

    Strength, determination, suspense, drama, renewed love – this story has it all. Added to that, we get an in-depth look at life in rural Australia, which I thoroughly enjoy.

    Thank you Beauty and Lace and Allen and Unwin for the opportunity to read this great book.

  14. McDonald writes a riveting rural crime story that had me grabbing for the book every spare minute I had.

    Even though this is my first Det Dave Burrows novel the characterization was ample for Dave to come across as sincere and likeable. You find yourself barracking for him.

    The story is spread wide across the Australian outback with settings in both the remote goldfields town of Barrabine WA and Nundrew in Central Queensland.
    McDonald has clearly done her research and knows the way of these harsh isolated towns and the people living there.

    With a main story of cattle stealing Dave goes undercover in the most dangerous op of his life. Believable side stories portray the strain the isolation can have on a marriage and a person’s mental health and the need for adequate counselling services and activities for the youth of the area. This is where the police come in; not only fighting crime in the area but preventing future crime by being involved in youth programs.

    This is hard, rough country and cattle mustering is tough work, it involves tough men, so there is bad language and not everyone plays nice.

    I loved McDonald’s use of Aussie slang making me feel like she had pulled her characters straight out of an outback pub instead of from her imagination. I loved them all….well maybe not Scottie.

    The heat was palpable and well portrayed. The flies, the dust, the smell! I felt them all.

    Without a Doubt was my first Dave Burrows and won’t be my last. This is a great stand-alone however you will want to go back and read Fool’s Gold the first Dave Burrows exclusive. He does feature in Fleur’s other books.

  15. Having read and loved man Fleur McDonald books, Without a Doubt does not disappoint!
    This story is one that you will keep you enthralled and will struggle to put down.
    Detective Dave Burrows is trying to build up his police career and to try and make it onto the stock squad (hats off to all involved in it!!) and unfortunately comes at a cost – the happiness of his marriage.
    With his marriage on rocky grounds, he is sent off on his most dangerous assignment.
    A fantastic book once again!

  16. I first discovered Fleur McDonald through Beauty & Lace Book Club last year and have since read many of her books. Without a Doubt lives up to it’s pedigree and keeps you entertained and captivated from the first page. Dave Burrows is a character from many other books of Fleur McDonald. He originally popped up as a minor character and has slowly become the main character and drawcard. I really enjoyed reading this book and getting more background on the character and where he started from. This book can be read as a stand alone but fair warning – after reading it you’ll be hooked and want to read more of this author’s work!
    Thanks Allen & Unwin and Beauty & Lace Book Club for another great read by a superb author.

  17. Having read all of Fleur McDonald’s other books and already met Detective Dave Burrows it was great to meet him again and discover how his early experiences helped shaped him.

    Without a Doubt is another great story that entices the reader to picture the landscape and makes them want to see more.

    I think that if you hadn’t yet read any of Fleur’s work then this book will having you racing to the library or book shop to get your hands on the rest of them!!

  18. Without a Doubt by Fleur McDonald is the second in the Dave Burrows series, but unfortunately, I have not read the first. I don’t think this made any difference as it is a story that could stand on its own.

    Dave the main character has been in Barrabine for approx. two years, he loves it here and his wife Melinda would leave tomorrow as she really hates it. Melinda cares for their 18-month-old daughter Bec at home while Dave works long hours in the police force. After a visit from Melinda’s parents and things come to a head with Dave, Melinda’s interfering father convinces Melinda to take some time out and she goes back to the city for a break.

    Dave’s partner Spencer is looking into a missing person, and is contacted by an old friend Justin who has an unidentified body and suspicions of illegal cattle mustering. So, the opportunity to go and find himself and solve the most dangerous case of his life is set in place. All he needs to do now is not be found out and make sure he comes back in one piece for the Melinda and Bec so he can fight for his family and for what the future may hold for them.

    I originally thought it was to be a romance book, but I was completely blown away by the added suspense and drama included by the author. I would hope that there is a third in the series as it finished quite abruptly leaving my mind open to my own imagination as to how I would add to the ending, it would be great to have the story of Dave Burrows completed by Fleur McDonald.

  19. Without a Doubt by Fleur McDonald is an edge of your seat read!
    I loved this book, learning more about earlier Detective Dave Burrows.

    There is so much I want to say but having to be careful of Spoilers,
    I found it a bit difficult to do this review.

    McDonald has written with a depth of knowledge about crime and stock,
    the dynamics of being a spouse of a law officer
    and the isolation of a small country town and being so far away from family.

    I devoured this book in a few short days as it was so easy to read.
    There is suspense that will keep you engrossed and not wanting it to end.
    Another great read from a highly talented Australian Author.

  20. I was so happy to be chosen
    To read Without A Doubt by Fleur McDonald.I love her books and this one is fantastic like her others!!

    Detective Dave Burrows has a huge workload and it’s affecting his home life. His wife is not happy with the long hours he keeps, she’s looking after their baby with no family and friends near by. It doesn’t help that her father thinks that Dave’s not good enough for her and tells him every chance he gets.
    Melinda says she needs a break, is this just a break or the end for Dave and Melinda?
    A dangerous under cover position comes up which would really suit Dave. If he takes it he may not see his daughter Bec or Melinda again. Can he risk his life and come out on the other side to be joined again with his family?


  21. Fluer McDonald is one of my favorite authors and her book Without a Doubt was a fantastic captivating read. Its focus on Dave Burrows as a young detective as he goes undercover is a book thats hard to put down. Even though I have read McDonald’s other books where Dave is an older character it was easy enough to imagine his life when he was younger.

  22. Thank you to Allen & Unwin and Beauty & Lace for the opportunity to read and review Without a Doubt, by Fleur McDonald.

    When I began reading Without a Doubt, I wasn’t sure what to expect, as the book opens with a cattle-mustering scene and my knowledge in this area is extremely limited. It soon became clear, however, that not only is cattle-mustering central to the plot of the book but it is also an interesting and heart-stopping basis for a crime novel.

    In order to progress his career and deal with the turmoil of his personal life, Detective Dave Burrows accepts a high-stakes undercover role within the world of cattle mustering. He has everything to lose, including his family and his own life. Fleur McDonald delivers a well-paced book that builds the tension throughout. I could picture events vividly and it became difficult to put the book down, as the danger within Burrows’ situation heightened. There was one minor point that left me wishing for more information at the end, but this did not detract from the story.

    Without a Doubt was my first encounter with the character of Dave Burrows, but I now plan to track down the other books that feature him. I’m grateful for the opportunity to have met this character.

  23. Fleur McDonald’s latest novel, Without a Doubt. Well without a doubt this is a great read. A main storyline with a few sideline stories to flesh out the story. A well written story with a focus on Dave Burrows and his wife Melinda. Their story is like all young families, with one partner working long hours the other keeping the house and kids, trouble at home is brewing with meddling in-laws adding fuel to the fire.

    A small time cop who has a mystery of a missing person to investigate and his mate has a unidentified body on his hands and into the fold are stories of illegal cattle duffing. The story does give the background into illegal cattle duffing so the reader is not without the background to what they are doing. The story is well fleshed out detailing how the group is infiltrated and how Dave eventually gets the evidence he needs… but not without some stressful if not dangerous situations arising.

    A good story well worth the read. Thank you Beauty and Lace and Alan & Unwin for the opportunity to read this great novel.

  24. I love a rural suspense novel and I love Dave Burrows as a character. In this book he is involved in investigating rural crime in a country town, He is dedicated to his job but in this novel we delve into how this takes its toll on his family and personal life. It was a well written, suspenful and entertaining read. This can be read as a standalone but after reading it I think you would want to read this authors other novels!

  25. A big fan of Fleur McDonald,

    It was good to come across Dave & Melinda again in a country set crime novel, set in his earlier days as a detective.

    The suspense made it hard to put this book down, and reading about situations which we wouldn’t normally think about but they do affect our country families/

    A great read, looking forward to reading more from this author.

    thank you

  26. Thank you to Allen and Unwin and the Beauty and Lace Bookclub for the opportunity to read ‘Without a Doubt’. I’ve read a few of Fleur’s other books and this one didn’t disappoint. I didn’t realise there were other books with the same main character so I’m going to seek these out to read. The book works well as a stand alone book and I enjoyed the characters. I was left wanting more at the end and felt like there were loose ends, but maybe there will be another instalment. Great read and highly recommended to those who enjoy a rural novel with a little bit of crime thrown in.

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