Author: Fleur McDonald
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.
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.