Aussie Book Review: Half Moon Bay by Helene Young

half moon bay Half Moon Bay by Helene Young

Paperback/ ebook

Review copy provided by publisher/ netgalley

Penguin, May 2013

 Synopsis- Ellie Wilding has been running from her past, but when the residents of Half Moon Bay call for help she knows it’s finally time to return home.  As an international photojournalist, she’s used to violence in war zones, but she’s shocked when it erupts in the sleepy hamlet on the north coast of New South Wales, threatening all she holds dear.

Battle-weary Nicholas Lawson walked away from his military career leaving unfinished business. In a coastal backwater, that decision returns to haunt him. He remembers all too vividly his last lethal assignment in Afghanistan when Ellie’s sister, Nina, was shot and killed. Ellie’s been in his dreams ever since, even if she doesn’t remember him…

As a storm rages and floodwaters rise, Ellie struggles to save her community. But who can she trust? Nick Lawson, the dangerously attractive stranger with secrets, or an old friend who’s never let her down?

A compelling story of danger and desire by the award-winning author of Burning Lies.

Review- I know this review is quite overdue, particularly since I read Half Moon Bay about 6 weeks ago at the beginning of my honeymoon, however the notes I jotted down for my review have been misplaced somewhere so now I’m faced with writing a review while some of the plot details are a little hazy. Alas, Half Moon Bay was a much anticipated book for Australian romantic suspense fans with Helene’s first three novels in the loosely linked Border Watch series getting raving reviews (including 3 x 5 star reviews from me :-)). When I caught wind of that there was a new, different book on the horizon with Helene straying from her usual pilot role for her heroines I was definitely intrigued!

Ellie Wilding is a photojournalist who returns to her home town Half Moon Bay on the north coast of New South Wales after living and working abroad for two years. She’s avoided home since the death of her vivacious journalist sister in Afghanistan, the details of which Ellie hasn’t been eager to uncover until now.

Within days of arriving in Half Moon Bay, Ellie throws herself into the small town politics and finds herself head to head with the attractive Nick Lawson who on the surface appears to be a smooth-speaking town planner, but there’s also a hidden past that Ellie becomes determined to uncover. In the midst of unravelling Nick’s past she learns that their paths have crossed before, that this handsome man may have been involved in the death of her sister and know who is responsible. Ellie becomes caught up in a deadly investigation, conflicted by her attraction to Nick and her distrust of his motives, Ellie no longer cares what it takes to get to the bottom of what happened in Afghanistan even if there are people that will kill to keep the truth a secret.

What can I say? Helene Young does it again. Half Moon Bay is a fast-paced, intriguing suspense novel set against the backdrop of a tranquil setting. From conspiracies about drug smuggling in the Australian army, to the dangerous dealings of Afghanistan to the small town politics of northern NSW, Helene manages to cover all grounds while creating two intelligent and intriguing characters. Ellie is strong, determined and hardworking and instantly attracts the attention of charming, controlled Nick Lawson. Their attraction simmers throughout the novel and only exacerbates the tension. I’m not convinced that Nick’s secret was really bad enough to keep from Ellie right up until the very end, but I understand that Nick felt it was bad, he was ashamed of his behaviour even if it could have been viewed as protecting her sister and Ellie’s family in the end.

Half Moon Bay is everything I hoped it would be and I can’t wait to see what Helene comes up with next!

Overall Rating


“Highly Recommended!”

Half Moon Bay can be purchased from Fishpond and other leading book retailers

This book was read as part of the AWW2013 challenge:



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