I received an advance reading copy of this book courtesy of Allen & Unwin a little while ago ahead of its publication date later this month, and I was pretty intrigued. People missing, small Aussie town, written by a singer-songwriter turned novelist? Let’s do this.
“Goodwood” by Holly Throsby is a novel set in 1992 about 17 year old Jean Brown who lives in the small country town of Goodwood. Jean and best friend George like to hang out at the local takeaway store where a pretty older girl Rosie White works, coolly turning down dates. One day, Rosie disappears, and the town is in shock. Then when local big man Bart McDonald disappears the following week, the town becomes catatonic. As information slowly unravels and the town speculates about the connection between the two missing people, Jean’s uncle and local policeman Mack investigates the case, and Jean makes some discoveries as well.
This book was just what the doctor ordered. It’s been pouring with rain here for ages, and I was really in the market for a pondering mystery. Throsby has a great story here. The pacing is absolutely spot on, and although there is a big cast, the characters are familiar enough to resonate with the reader but individual enough to stand out. I think my favourite thing about this book is how understated the tone is. There are so many things going on in this book, but Throsby approaches a myriad of social issues effectively and cleverly without any kind of fanfare.
I’m reluctant to say much more about this book because with any mystery novel there’s a much greater risk of spoilers, but I would wholeheartedly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in crime, small town fiction, coming of age books and Australian novels.
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