Title: The Silent Kookaburra
Author: Liza Perrat
Publisher: Triskele Books
Publish Date: November 29, 2016
What's the Story?:
From Goodreads.com: "All eleven-year-old Tanya Randall wants is a happy family. But Mum does nothing besides housework, Dad’s always down the pub and Nanna Purvis moans at everyone except her dog. Then Shelley arrives –– the miracle baby who fuses the Randall family in love for their little gumnut blossom.
Tanya’s life gets even better when she meets an uncle she didn’t know she had. He tells her she’s beautiful and could be a model. Her family refuses to talk about him. But that’s okay, it’s their little secret.
Then one blistering summer day tragedy strikes, and the surrounding mystery and suspicion tear apart this fragile family web.
Embracing the social changes of 1970s Australia, against a backdrop of native fauna and flora, The Silent Kookaburra is a haunting exploration of the blessings, curses and tyranny of memory."
My Two Cents:
"The Silent Kookaburra" is a thriller from writer Liza Perrat. I've enjoyed some of Perrat's other books, all historical fiction. This one is a departure from genre for her and turned out to be a positive gamble for me! Tanya is a child who doesn't quite fit in. She's teased at school. At home, she feels ignored and sometimes unloved. When her uncle that she knew nothing about enters the picture, it will upend her life and that of her family's.
The subject matter of the book is quite difficult. I really felt for a lot of the characters in this book because of the way that the author writes the details of their lives. Tanya's mother has gone through many miscarriages trying to expand their family so when she finally gives birth to Shelley, the family feels like all of their troubles are over at first. Shelley has severe colic and Tanya's mother starts acting strange and becomes obsessed with cleaning. Tanya seeks attention from her newfound uncle but it's not a good kind of attention.
The pacing and writing of the book is good. Pacing is incredibly important with thrillers in order to keep up the intrigue of the book. As more bad things befall Tanya and her family, you are riveted by trying to put things together in order to figure out what is truly going on. The author gives you just enough detail to keep you wanting to continue the story because you want to find out more about what is going on and what will happen to the characters in the book. The author also does a great job of building tension throughout the book. I HAD to know how it was going to all end up for Tanya!
One limitation of the book is that Tanya, our narrator, is only a child when the book takes place so she doesn't always see what is truly going on. I did find myself wanting to know more about Uncle Blackie and what made him tick throughout the book but this wasn't a full distraction from enjoying the book.
Overall, this was a page turner for me. The subject matter is difficult (murder, abuse of a minor, etc.) so it may not be for all readers. If you like thrillers, this may be a good pick for you!