4 June 2023

Review: HERMIT, S.R. White

  • This edition made available from my local library
  • Headline Publishing 2020
  • ISBN 978-1-4722-6844-0
  • 375 pages
  • #1 in Dana Russo series

Synopsis (publisher

After a puzzling death in the wild bushlands of Australia, detective Dana Russo has just 12 hours to interrogate the prime suspect – a silent, inscrutable man found at the scene of the crime, who disappeared without trace 15 years earlier.

But where has he been? Why won’t he talk? And exactly how dangerous is he? Without conclusive evidence to prove his guilt, Dana faces a desperate race against time to persuade him to speak. But as each interview spirals with fevered intensity, Dana must reckon with her own traumatic past to reveal the shocking truth . . .

Compulsive, atmospheric and stunningly accomplished, HERMIT introduces a thrilling new voice in Australian crime fiction, perfect for fans of Jane Harper’s THE DRY and Chris Hammer’s SCRUBLANDS.

My Take

Three main mystery threads run through this novel. 

First of all how is it that "the hermit" has been "off the radar" for the last 15 years. Why did he become a hermit? How has he lived? 

Secondly, did he kill the person he was found standing over? Why? If he didn't, then who did?

Thirdly, why does Detective Dana Russo avoid contact with people on this day in particular? 

I have never quite met a detective like Dana Russo. Her main aim is to get to know the suspect, to get him to trust her, and to find out what has happened to him in the past. She interviews him in short bursts, on her own, although under observation by her boss and colleagues. She compiles questions that she wants her team to find the answers to, to give her ammunition for her questions to the suspect. She gets him to see her as his only friend, so eventually he will reveal his innermost secrets.

All the time though Dana is comparing their experiences. Asking him questions without revealing too much of what has happened to her in the past.

A fascinating novel, and a compelling read.

My Rating: 4.6

About the author
S. R. White’s debut novel, HERMIT, was a top ten bestseller in Australia and nominated for the Crime Writers’ Association award for the best crime novel by a first-time author. He now lives in Queensland, having worked for a UK police force for twelve years before taking an MA in Creative Writing at Nottingham Trent University.

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