Wednesday, October 12, 2022

WAKE by Shelley Burr

About the Book:

The tiny outback town of Nannine lies in the harsh red interior of Australia. Once a thriving center of stockyards and sheep stations, years of punishing drought have petrified the land and Nannine has been whittled down to no more than a stoplight, a couple bars, and a police stationAnd it has another, more sinister claim to fame: the still-unsolved disappearance of young Evelyn McCreery nineteen years ago.

Mina McCreery’s life has been defined by the intense public interest in her sister’s case—which is still a hot topic in true-crime chat rooms and on social media. Now an anxious and reclusive adult, Mina lives alone on her family’s sunbaked destocked sheep farm.

Enter Lane Holland, a young private investigator who dropped out of the police academy to earn a living cracking cold cases. Before she died, Mina’s mother funded a million-dollar reward for anyone who could explain how Evelyn vanished from her bed in the family’s farmhouse. The lure of cash has only increased public obsession with Evelyn and Mina—but yielded no answers.

Lane wins Mina’s trust when some of his more unconventional methods show promise. But Lane also has darker motivations, and his obsession with the search will ultimately risk both their lives—and yield shocking results.

Compulsively readable, with an unforgettable setting and cast of characters, WAKE is a powerful, unsparing story of how trauma ripples outward when people’s private tragedies become public property, and how it’s never too late for the truth to come out.


My Review:

This is a mystery that develops at a steady pace. It's a cold case of a missing child nearly two decades old. A private investigator seeks to solve it, mostly because he needs the large reward. He's caring for his younger sister now in college and he needs the money to pay for her support. But he's a decent guy and it seems he really has a heart for what he does. There is a mystery in his past too, however.

I like the setting of a small town in New South Wales. The atmosphere of the town and the relationships between the people help build interest in the plot. There is a weariness and suspicion toward anyone delving into that event that is a blight on their community.

There is an element of tension as the cold case investigation is pursued. Some think a family member is responsible for the death of the child. The private investigator finds information that might indicate a completely new villain. Burr keeps all that tension on a back burner throughout.

This is a good mystery with a deliberately paced uncovering of the information needed to solve the murder. There are twists and turns and I am not sure I like how it ended, at all. Nonetheless, I found this debut novel to be an engaging mystery and I will be looking for more from Burr.

My rating: 4/5 stars.


About the Author:

Shelley Burr works at the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment in Canberra, Australia. She grew up splitting her time between Newcastle and Glenrowan, where her father’s family are all sheep farmers. WAKE is her first novel. You can find out more at

HarperCollins, 368 pages.

I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review.

(My star ratings: 5-I love it, 4-I like it, 3-It's OK, 2-I don't like it, 1-I hate it.)

1 comment:

Debbie P said...

This sounds like a fun read!