Books & Literature

Book Review: Barren Grounds, by B. Michael Radburn

Barren Grounds, by B Michael Radburn

THIRLLER: A serial killer returns 2 years after the case is closed to haunt the former investigator and begin a new reign of terror.

Another page-turning murder mystery by one of Australia’s premier thriller writers!

Feature image credit: Pantera Press

This is B. Michael Radburn’s fifth novel, beginning with what seems like a standard police procedure. In true Radburn style, though, the burn in his name is the sting in the tail of the novel as it takes a final dark twist to catch the reader unawares.

Standing alone from his Taylor Bridges crime trilogy, this sinister story surrounds former Senior Detective Joe Capello, off the force after a horrifying ending to his investigation two years prior into a serial killer known as The Jeweller. The macabre crimes of the killer targeted the infidelity of couples, with his calling card being the ring fingers of his victims.

Presumed dead, the killer returns, toying with Capello and targeting unfaithful partners once again. For Capello and the police now, the race begins to identify the killer or copycat, and end their murder spree before more people die.

It’s a gripping story and if memory serves, it is far more macabre than Radburn’s previous novels. The pages permeate with the evil of the killer, his presence felt in every scene, in the consequences of each kill, and in the intensifying manhunt. The cat-and-mouse game between Capello and The Jeweller evolves in Radburn’s typical fashion, the slow burn adding tension and anticipation with each step forward. The murder scenes are gruesome and detailed.

Radburn delivers interesting characters, always. Even his minor characters feel complete with distinct personalities and a well-defined place in the rural community in which they live. No one is wasted in the tight storytelling.

While the story begins with a strong sense of familiar territory found in every other police procedural, it doesn’t take long for Radburn to separate himself from those who have trod this path before. He delivers another surprise twist in the finale, and you’re taken on the journey one page-turning chapter at a time.

Reviewed by Rod Lewis
Twitter: @StrtegicRetweet

The views expressed in this review belong to the author and not Glam Adelaide, its affiliates, or employees.

Distributed by: Pantera Press
Released: July 2023
RRP: $29.99

Book cover: Barren Grounds, by B Michael Radburn

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