Books & Literature

Book Review: Sticks and Stones, by Katherine Firkin

CRIME: When a missing person is found dead, Detective Emmett Corban and his team will need to delve back through decades of neglect…

A gripping whodunnit that will keep readers guessing until the very end.

Sticks and Stones is a gritty, fast-paced thriller that takes you on a wild ride, connecting the dots while keeping you guessing until the very end.

While technically a work of fiction, Katherine Firkin draws on her many years of experience as a Melbourne journalist for her debut novel. She gives the stories and characters a raw authenticity and earns a place as an exciting new voice in Australian crime writing.

The story centres around Detective Emmett Corban, who is the head of the Missing Persons Unit. Fed up with not being taken seriously by his senior officers and feeling a little cynical, Corban brushes off a routine missing person’s report until the victim winds up dead. Suddenly Corban is leading an investigation that will change his career.

Set in Melbourne, the locations are very well described and anyone familiar with the place will feel like they’re right there as the plot twists and turns throughout the wintery city.

The first few chapters can be difficult to follow, as so many characters are introduced and the story is told from several perspectives, but this becomes progressively easier because the author has done a terrific job of making each person have a clear identity. As the story unfolds, you discover how they are all linked. It’s very clever writing.

Firkin has a style that leaves you wanting more. It’s difficult to put this book down and even a veteran crime enthusiast will have trouble solving the case because of the many red herrings thrown in along the way.

If you are a fan of a good crime mystery, then Sticks and Stones is a must read for you. It could easily be the first instalment of a series of books based on the main character. There’s a lot more stories to tell and Detective Corban is a likable, good guy leading man to do that.

Reviewed by Karlie Naulty

Distributed by: Penguin Books Australia
Released: June 2020
RRP: $32.99

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