Bibliophile | Generations come together in mysterious ‘Voices in the Dark’

Voices in the Dark
By Fleur McDonald
Allen & Unwin

Having grown up in the small town of OrrOroo in South Australia and now living on her farm in regional Western Australia, Fleur McDonald is in a prime position to see the ways that life has changed in Australia’s country towns.

Her latest novel is set in the fictional town of Barker which is located 4 hours drive from Adelaide. The local police detective Dave Burrows (who has featured in many of McDonald’s novels) and his wife Kim, who grew up in the town, are now the older generation.

Many of the younger generation have left the town and there are people coming to the town because they are finding the large cities too expensive. Some of these people are refugees and they are met with generosity as well as pockets of small-mindedness.

Some of the younger generation has returned. This includes newly minted police officer Mia Wood who came back to be with the grandmother who raised her, and stayed although her grandmother died a short time after her return.

Sassie Stapleton was also returning to be with her ailing grandmother who raised her, but she didn’t make it in time. After swerving to miss a kangaroo on the road, she lay trapped in her car after it rolled down an embankment.

Sassie’s mother Amber has also returned to the family farm after walking out, and there is plenty of suspense as the narrative looks at how families navigate around each other when there are unresolved issues and buried secrets.

Amongst all that, workers and community volunteers are in short supply and people have to make do with less. There are no murders to be solved this time, but there are still mysteries to be solved, misdeeds to be confronted and battles to be fought … with many of those battles resulting from inner conflict.

Lezly Herbert

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