16 April 2020

Review: BOXED, Richard Anderson

  • this edition published by Scribe 2019
  • ISBN 978-1-935713-65-7
  • 275 pages
  • source: review book from publisher
Synopsis (publisher)

‘I jump back, curse in rapid fire, and then lean forward and shove the box hard, off the bench, and away from me. It thuds on the floor. Is this a nasty trick?’

Dave Martin is down on his luck: his wife has left him; his farm is a failure; his house is a mess; he has withdrawn from his community and friends; and tragedy has stolen his capacity to care. He passes the time drinking too much and buying cheap tools online, treating the delivered parcels as gifts from people who care about him.

And then boxes begin to arrive in the mail: boxes that he didn’t order, but ones that everyone around him seems to want desperately. As he tries to find out the secret of the boxes, Dave is drawn into a crazy world of red herrings and wrong turns, good guys and bad, false friends and true, violence, lust, fear, revenge, and a lot, lot more. It’s not a world he understands, but is it the only one Dave can live in?

My take

Dave Martin's friends and neighbours all worry about him - he has had more than his fair share of knocks, lives on his own on a remote farm, and feels a bit sorry for himself. He orders machinery to be delivered through the post, generally small cheap machines, but then some boxes arrive that he hasn't ordered. Then two of his neighbours ask him if boxes they were expecting have accidentally been delivered to him. Soon after that a neighbour is attacked.

Woven through the other sometimes quirky threads is the story of what has happened to his son James.

Richard Anderson is an astute observer of Australian rural life. His accounts of the hardships of living on the land have a ring of truth.

One of the threads of this story (No! I'm not going to tell you which one it is, just that it is a bit macabre ) - will probably send readers scuttling to Google to see if it is possible.

This is the second of Anderson's crime novels, and I will certainly be reading the first.

My rating: 4.5

About the author
Richard Anderson is a second-generation farmer from northern New South Wales. He has been running a beef-cattle farm for twenty-five years, but has also worked as a miner and had a stint on the local council. Richard is the author of two rural-crime novels, Retribution and Boxed, both published by Scribe. He lives with his wife, four dogs, and a cat.

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