Wake by Shelley Burr

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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.

‘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)

‘Shelley Burr’s WAKE is blazing its own trail. For this gripping drama 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

‘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)

‘WAKE is 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)

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