Hachette, 2012 (first published 2009)
Synopsis- Dark Country is the second book in the loosely-linked series set in Dungirri.
Most people in the small town of Dungirri have considered Morgan ‘Gil’ Gillespie a murderer for eighteen years, so he expects no welcome on his return. What he doesn’t expect is the discovery of a woman’s tortured body in the boot of his car, and new accusations of murder.
Wearied by too many deaths and doubting her own skills, local police sergeant Kris Matthews isn’t sure whether Gil is a decent man wronged by life, or a brutal criminal she should be locking up. But she does know that he is not guilty of this murder – because she is his alibi . . .
Between organised crime, police corruption, and the hatred of a town, Gil has nowhere to hide. He needs to work out who’s behind the murder before his enemies realise that the one thing more punishing than putting him back in prison would be to harm the few people he cares about.
Kris is determined to help him, but will their search for the truth make her the next target?
Review- Dark Country is the second book in the Dungirri series by Bronwyn Parry following on from As Darkness Falls, introducing new hero and heroine; Gil and Kris.
Gil returns to his hometown, Dungirri after estrangement for 18 years and comes across new acting Sergeant Kris Matthews’s experiencing car troubles. The mood is set instantly with Gil on edge around Kris because of his mistreatment by the police force in the past, yet his protectiveness of this red-headed beauty is sparked instantly. He offers her a lift back to town and Kris is intrigued by this man who is vague about where he’s come from and where he’s going. When a pub brawl breaks out later that evening, Kris discovers Gil is the infamous Morgan ‘Gil’ Gillespie, an alleged murderer.
His behaviour toward her: considerate and respectful contradicts the town gossip so she follows her gut instincts and offers her guest room for overnight protection. The following day a woman’s body is found in the boot of his car and Gil is facing the same hostility from the town he experienced eighteen years prior. Convinced of his innocence, Kris is determined to find the killer and bring them to justice and the only person who can help is Gil. Forced to work closely together, they are faced with several life or death situations and their shared trauma brings them closer together-despite their individual protests. Kris’s involvement with a prime suspect is against her professional rulebook and Gil’s fondness of Kris is contrary to how he’s felt about a woman in a long time.
I don’t know if words can do this book justice, I just think Bronwyn Parry is a marvellous author and has nailed the romantic thriller to a tee. Every scene is emotionally charged; it has a purpose and drew me in so that it was impossible to put down. Gil is a man of few words, yet every interaction between him and Kris was thick with tension and their chemistry undeniable. Parry offers an adept combination of dialogue, characterisation and grounding a scene with use of the five senses to immerse the reader completely in the thick of the story.
The crime plot is meticulously constructed and left me guessing until the very end. From the mafia to corrupt police officers, there’s plenty of action and suspense to keep this story moving forward. The romantic sub-plot was realistic and entrancing and of course resulted in a very satisfactory ending.
I highly recommend this series and I’m eagerly anticipating the third book based in Dungirri due for release around September this year.
Dark Country can be purchased from Fishpond and other leading book retailers
This book was read as part of the AWW2013 challenge: