Gabrielle Lord is widely acknowledged as one of Australia's foremost crime fiction writers. She is the author of fifteen adult novels, and her stories and articles have appeared widely in the national press and anthologies. Her contemporary psychological thrillers are informed by a detailed knowledge of forensic procedures. One of her series for young adults, the award-winning Conspiracy 365, has been sold in twenty-four countries and adapted into a television series. In 2012, Gabrielle Lord received a Ned Kelly Lifetime Award for Crime Writing. Previously, she won a Ned Kelly award for Death Delights and shared a Davitt award for Baby Did a Bad Bad Thing. For more information visit her website gabriellelord.com, her Facebook page on facebook.com/#!/GabrielleLordAuthor or follow her on Twitter at twitter.com/gabriellelord.
Most seasoned crime readers are now familiar with the conventional post-mortem mystery thanks to Patricia Cornwell and Kathy Reichs. In Gabrielle Lord’s second Jack McCain novel we are invited instead into the scientific world of crime scene investigation and the examination of physical evidence. McCain, a Canberra-based ex-policeman, finds himself and his scientific expertise at the centre of several cases as an anthrax murderer begins to target his colleagues, an old enemy returns from the past to threaten Jack’s daughter and a nun from an enclosed order is viciously murdered and disfigured. As we have come to expect from Lord, the story is complex, encompassing wide- ranging issues from war crimes to terrorist training camps to police corruption. Some passages on the physical evidence Jack unearths, although impressive in their authority, may be a little too detailed for those readers who are not scientifically inclined, but Jack himself is a likeable protagonist, and the pace is otherwise fast and engaging. Who knew Canberra could be convincingly portrayed as a hotbed of scientific ambition and age-old enmity? Another worthwhile mystery from a writer who is building a deservedly solid fan base. Sophie Groom is manager of Angus & Robertson Hurstville. C. 2003 Thorpe-Bowker and contributors