Mysteries in Paradise
One of the main characters is Detective Sergeant Jill Jackson who works under cover among the drug dealers of Sydney while her younger sister, Cassie, is in free fall from a carefree existence as a model to a serious dependence on drugs, and on the generous lawyer who is more than willing to supply it to beautiful women.
We also meet Seren whose happy childhood ended when her violent stepfather entered her life. When the story begins, Seren is released from prison after more than a year for possession of drugs. She can resume life with her little son, Marco, but the odds on parole are tough, and she struggles with her two priorities: making Marco safe and happy again, and taking revenge on the man who is to blame for her sentence in jail. The reader suspects that the three women will meet before or later, but under which circumstances, and how much will go wrong before the drug dealers can be stopped?
The story is very well-written, and the characters and environment are very convincing indeed – perhaps almost too convincing. One of the reasons why I have found it difficult to finish this novel is that life is treating young Seren so unfairly. So this is the kind of book where women are victims, and when they are involved in crime, there is always a male scoundrel behind. Cherchez l´homme.
Nevertheless, Giarratano has created a fine, very exciting crime novel with a strong sense of Sydney´s underbelly.
Where is your limit?
I know several readers of crime fiction who don´t like too graphic and detailed descriptions of violence.
I know many other readers who don´t like reading about serial killers or torture of women. I can cope with most of those books as long as we do not enter the mind of a psychopath.
But of course I have an Achilles´ heel: for example very realistic descriptions of women in distress or people who are depressed. If I read too many books of this kind, they begin to get to me no matter how well-written they are.
Where is your limit? What gets to you, and are there things that can make you put down a book?