The Bluffs by Kyle Perry
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
This would be a 3.5 for me if that was available.
I thought this was a fun ride, and the most enjoyable Australian crime thriller I’ve read in a while. I like the setting – a small town in Tasmania, it’s just the right mix of creepy and beautiful. I thought the local Hungry Man story was a great backdrop, and the group of characters was fun and varied.
The Hungry Man story of 1985 still haunts Limestone Creek and I think the author did well portraying what it’s like to live with that story hanging over a town. The only problem was that it then became overshadowed by a whole subplot that didn’t need to have a place in the story and that I’m still not sure where it came from.
The characters while fun and varied, there were just too many of them with too much focus. Even though the story revolved around three points of view – none of those characters felt totally real to me, and within their points of view the other characters had too much attention so there were a few chapters where I forgot we were even looking from a character’s perspective.
Having said that – I really liked Con, Murphy and Gabby. I felt like they all had just the right mix of honesty, dishonesty and forgetfulness that all good crime thrillers are based from. I thought Con was the good outsider with a dark history that makes it hard for locals to like him in Tasmania. I thought Gabby was an energetic sidekick that was a good balance to Con. Murphy was just awesomely portrayed in every sense.
I liked the way teenage girls were represented and how their minds worked, it was both a scathing look at social media and showed how powerful a platform it can be for those who feel like they don’t have a voice.
What I really liked was that the author got major points for including powerful women characters without drawing attention to that or making it a focus of the story – they were normal people being their normal selves in normal positions. He did the same thing with the indigenous perspective throughout the story, it was a part of the plot in a completely normalised way and I loved the elements that it brought.
A few of the reviews had said you will either be satisfied with the ending or hate it – I sort of fell in the hated it column because I am a grudge-holder and wanted more justice for that brat! But it made sense and was neatly done.
I couldn’t put it down, the writing was easy-to-read and had just the right depth for that type of genre. I hope there is a next instalment to see if some of those annoying bits get smoothed out now we know the characters.
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The Bluffs by Kyle Perry