14 April 2008

Jane Goodall, author to look for

Google searches for Australian crime fiction author Jane Goodall confuse her with the "other" Jane Goodall, the one who works with chimpanzees. The crime fiction author is not only younger than the other, but, born in England, she lives and works in Australia. She is Research Director of the College of Arts, Education and Social Sciences at the University of Western Sydney, and is sometimes to be found at writers' festivals.

Jane tried to carve out a name for herself by calling herself Jane R. Goodall, and her second novel showed that on the cover, but by the third the R had gone again.

Jane Goodall has produced 3 very successful novels for you to look for.
I don't have a record for THE WALKER in my database but I remember being impressed.
Jane did a speaking/reading tour of Australia after THE WALKER was a featured book for the Australian Big Book Club and I heard her speak at a local library.

From the blurb on the cover of THE WALKER:
Plymouth 1967: Schoolgirl Nell Adams, all the newspapers reported, finds murder victim on train. And her photo covers the front pages. So he knew her name and her face. His face, or lack of it, filled her nightmares until she woke screaming...
London 1971: Nell is a university student in London, trying to put the past behind her. But as a series of murders reveals a killer obsessed with Jack the Ripper, she realises her nightmares might be coming true.
Detective Briony Williams, also just starting out on her life on London, is part of the team tracking down The Walker. The killer is a practised anatomist with a theatrical streak, arranging his victims' bodies in twisted parodies of Hogarth's engravings. He sends a perfectly extracted eye to the police in a Tupperware container, with a defiant message. He's planning a reunion with the schoolgirl who found his first victim.
Two young women, so full of hope and possibility, soon discover that new times mask age-old evil in this dark psychological thriller.

Twin boys run away from their au pair on a trip to the Oxford countryside. They race into some woods where they see a man chopping. At first they think he is chopping wood, but what he is holding in his hand is not an axe, and the shape on the ground is not a tree. Their au pair, Sylvie, sets off to look for them... Briony Williams has moved to Oxford. The story begins as she speeds across the city to the murder site, where Sylvie Bec has been found dead—killed by a single blow that crushed her skull. The forensic pathologist says he has never seen anything like it.
With a fascination for all things terrifying, Jane Goodall takes readers into the dark, drug-filled world of 1970s Oxford, where we witness serial killings and a murderer with a fascination for ancient artefacts. Not even Detective Briony Williams is safe.
My rating: 4.7

Set in London 1976. Briony Williams has been promoted to Detective Inspector and relocated from Oxford to Chelsea. Her mentor Alexander Macready has been promoted to Commander. A leg, disconnected from the male body that it belongs to has turned up in the mud of the Chelsea Embankment. Briony's new patch is in the heartland of the newly emerging Punk movement, attracting all sorts of characters and bands, like Sudden Deff and the Sex Pistols. On Friday nights after dark Kings Road hosts "concerts" which are a strange mix of music, vaudeville and pyrotechnics. The squats around Kings Road are attracting teenagers particularly girls who have left home for a new life. And then a fanzine turns up featuring three portrait photographs: Briony, Macready and another policeman; with the caption DEFF ROW. Suddenly it seems they are all in deep water. In this, her third novel featuring Briony Williams, Australian author Jane Goodall shows a deft touch in building suspense. My recommendation: read the earlier novels, THE WALKER and THE VISITOR first if you can.
My rating: 4.8

I'm looking forward to the next in the series.

Jane Goodall is one of a number of successful Australian authors who have chosen to set their crime fiction novels overseas: Michael Robotham, Barry Maitland, PD Martin, Sydney Bauer, Marshall Browne, Brian Kavanagh, and Lauren Crow.

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