Evelyn simply vanished.
The small town of Nannine lies in the harsh red interior of New South Wales. Once a thriving outback centre, years of punishing drought have whittled it down to no more than a couple of pubs and a police station. And its one sinister claim to fame: the still-unsolved disappearance of Evelyn McCreery nineteen years ago from the bedroom she shared with her twin sister.
Mina McCreery's life has been defined by the intense and ongoing public interest in her sister's case. Now an anxious and reclusive adult, Mina lives alone on her family's sunbaked destocked sheep farm. The million-dollar reward her mother established to solve the disappearance has never been paid out.
Enter Lane Holland, a private investigator who dropped out of the police academy to earn a living cracking cold cases. Lane has his eye on the unclaimed money, but he also has darker motivations for wanting to solve the case.
Compulsively readable, with an unforgettable setting and cast of characters, WAKE is a powerful, unsparing story of how trauma ripples outward when people's private tragedies become public property, and how it's never too late for the truth to set things right.
'Politically savvy, cleverly plotted . . . the kind of book that invites the ravenous language of binge reading: compulsive, propulsive, addictive' NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW
'It is hard to believe WAKE is a first novel. Plot, pacing and characterisation are so finely judged that it feels more like the work of a past master. The tension builds, and the revelations keep coming, right until the final page where a thrilling climax combines horror, relief and hope. If I wore an Akubra I'd doff it' THE TIMES (UK)
'Blazing its own trail. Boasts all the energy of a true-crime podcast with a cast of wounded characters you desperately want to protect. A complex and tightly wrought plot pulsates with intrigue. The starkness of Shelley's prose echoes the parched land, while her atmospheric descriptions draw you in to a town that quickly feels so familiar you could walk into the pub, pull up a stool and order a beer. The result is a yarn that feels so plausible and terrifying, it stays with you' AUSTRALIAN WOMEN'S WEEKLY
'[An] outstanding debut . . . With a slow build and complex characters, this is both a well-plotted, gripping mystery and a sensitive exploration of the aftermath of trauma' THE GUARDIAN (UK)
'My crime novel of the year . . . Intense and evocative, it tears at the heart-strings' DAILY MAIL AUSTRALIA
'Burr brings a piercing psychological acuity, creating a nuanced examination of the emotional and reputational stakes of a murder investigation' CANBERRA TIMES
'We devoured this stunningly drawn, deeply compelling mystery in one day' CRIME MONTHLY (UK)
'A stunning, masterfully written debut novel, its remote, bleak locations adding tension to an atmospheric and compelling mystery that is hard to put down. Thought-provoking and intense, it is Aussie noir at its finest and marks Shelley Burr out as a rising star' SUNDAY EXPRESS (UK)
'One of the year's best debuts. Intriguing and compelling. Shelley Burr is a bright new talent in Australian crime fiction' CHRIS HAMMER
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Two decades after Mina McCreery’s twin sister vanished from the family farm in Central New South Wales, the cold case continues to fuel media speculation and talk in online forums. When private investigator Lane Holland offers to revisit the disappearance, Mina is swayed by the idea of finding closure at last—but neither Mina nor Lane is telling each other the whole truth. Shelley Burr’s impressive first novel, which won the international CWA Debut Dagger Award, takes a penetrating look at isolated rural communities and the allure of true crime. Fans of The Dry will especially relish this character-driven mystery steeped in an authentic Australian setting.
When nine-year-old Evie McCreery, the victim at the center of Australian author Burr's uneven debut, vanished from her home in Nannine, "a barely populated town in Central New South Wales," her disappearance became a national story. Two decades later, it remains the subject of speculation online, including from those subscribing to the theory known by the acronym WAKE (Wednesday Addams Killed Evie), a reference to the resemblance of Mina, Evie's twin sister, to the actress who portrayed that character on screen. The mystery is revived by PI Lane Holland, who specializes in investigating unsolved disappearances in the hopes of reaping the reward money, which he uses to help support his younger sister. Mina initially resists Lane's outreach to her, but her attitude changes after he makes significant progress on another case that has also been unresolved for years. Burr neatly doles out the Holland siblings' dark backstory and effectively shows her tortured leads alternating between hope for closure and resignation, but the final reveal isn't fully satisfying. This familiar tale of an investigator probing a cold case who's concealing his own secrets breaks no new ground.
Loved this book. An easy read that had me gripped.
Good read, found it easy & finished it in 3 days.
Haven’t heard of this author before but hope they continue to write
Wow, from the beginning to the end, this was an epic ride! What an amazing book!