Welcome to my weekly segment, Waiting on Wednesday, where I look at upcoming books that I am planning to order and review in the next few months and which I think I will really enjoy. I run this segment in conjunction with the Can’t-Wait Wednesday meme that is currently running at Wishful Endings. Stay tuned to see reviews of these books when I get a copy of them. For this latest Waiting on Wednesday, I highlight a great new upcoming Australian crime fiction novel from one of the breakout authors of 2022 with Ripper by Shelley Burr.
Last year I had the very great pleasure of reading the fantastic first novel from debuting Australian author Shelley Burr, Wake. Set in a dying rural town out in the middle of the Australian outback, Wake examined an infamous crime where a young girl disappeared from her house without a trace, never to be seen again. 19 years later, two determined people with their own traumas attempt to find out what happened to the missing girl, including her haunted twin sister and a professional investigator with secret reasons for trying to solve the mystery. Wake ended up being an outstanding novel and I loved how its compelling and intense mystery unfolded while also expertly showing off the desolate local landscape. This was such an amazing read and it ended up being one of my top debuts and favourite Australian fiction novels of 2022.
Due to how impressive her first book turned out, I have been eager to see what Burr would come up with next and I was very happy that details about her second book was recently released. This second book is Ripper, which is currently set for release in August 2023, and will take the reader to a new outback town with a murderous past, this time as the location of a serial killer’s final three murders.
Gemma Guillory has lived in Rainier her entire life. She knows the tiny town’s ins and outs like the back of her hand, the people like they are her family, their quirks as if they were her own.
She knows her once-charming town is now remembered for one reason, and one reason only. That three innocent people died. That the last stop on the Rainier Ripper’s trail of death seventeen years ago was her innocuous little teashop. She knows that the consequences of catching the Ripper still haunt her police officer husband and their marriage to this day and that some of her neighbours are desperate – desperate enough to welcome a dark tourism company keen to cash in on Rainier’s reputation as the murder town.
When the tour operator is killed by a Ripper copycat on Gemma’s doorstep, the unease that has lurked quietly in the original killer’s wake turns to foreboding, and she’s drawn into the investigation. Unbeknownst to her, so is a prisoner named Lane Holland.
Gemma knows her town. She knows her people. Doesn’t she?
Ripper sounds like it is going to be quite an awesome book. I love the idea of returning to another town whose reputation has been tainted by a notorious crime, and the setting of Ripper is pretty cool with its connection to the Rainier Ripper. Seeing a dark tourist company coming to town, only to be targeted by a copycat at the place of the original killer’s last stand sounds fantastic, especially as it is going to reopen all the wounds the previous killings left open.
I have no doubt that Burr will produce an excellent mystery around that premise, however, the thing that is really interesting to me about Ripper’s plot synopsis is the reference to the prisoner Lane Holland. Holland was one of the protagonists of Wake, so it looks like Ripper is going to be a direct sequel to Burr’s first book. I am very interested in seeing Burr continue Holland’s story from Wake, especially as the character’s attempts to stop his terrible father saw him sent to jail, and it will be cool to see how the author brings him into this latest story. While I was definitely going to seek out Burr’s new book no matter what, the fact that is a sequel is a major selling point to me and Ripper is now one of the books I most excited for in the next few months. Ripper has a ton of potential and I look forward to seeing how this talented new Australian author follows up her first epic novel.
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