Thrilling Christmas gifts

IN the lead-up to Christmas it’s a great time for publishers to drop their new crime thrillers with the aim of filling Christmas stockings, and Fremantle Press have dropped three from some of their biggest writers. 

Dave Warner (Summer of Blood), Karen Herbert (Vertigo) and David Whish-Wilson (I Am Already Dead). All three authors use their professional experiences to create compelling books that readers will enjoy. 

• Dave Warner

Dave Warner explores the 1960’s music scene and a famous murder in Summer of Blood.

His research into this historical period adds both authenticity to the characters and settings. Another crime thriller from the author of the Clementine Jones series, it will keep you on the edge of your seat. 


“I wanted to take a really interesting concept of having Australian cops and solving the most famous murder in American history,” Warner says.

“Normally, when I write a book, the theme evolves over the course of the book.

“There was quite a lot of research involved in this book because I wanted to capture the Summer of Love as close as I could to how it actually happened. 

“Everything from the climatic conditions; San Francisco, in that summer of 1967, had a very wet summer while Los Angeles had the hottest day recorded in May, when my characters were there.

“All of these bands and fan sites about music that have faithfully reported the lineups from that period in the US, I was able to put them there at the same time that those things happened in the past.”

Karen Herbert recently had her book Vertigo published in time for October. 

It’s a crime thriller exploring Herbert’s experience as an auditor and living with vertigo.

• Karen Herbert

“Many years ago, I worked as a government auditor for the office of the auditor general. I know it sounds boring being an auditor, but it was a lot of fun,” Herbert says.

“I would go out into government departments with my little security card and look through their files and their spreadsheets and tick boxes and all my colleagues would do the same and then we’d all come back to the office.”

She says while all the A-G’s staff were rule followers, they’d be uncovering the work of those who didn’t and then coming together to discuss how to expose them.

Crime fighters

Herbert says she always found it fascinating.

“I’m not sure my colleagues would have seen it that way; I don’t think they really saw themselves as crime fighters.

“My work has given me an understanding of how government programs work; where all the controls are, what all the rules are and where things can go wrong – I can make it reasonably authentic.

“I chose the title for two main reasons. It gives me an excuse to call the crimes dizzy, and conspiracy. 

“The main reason was I’ve had [vertigo] since I was 21; I had an inner ear disorder that gives you dizziness. 

“I wondered what it would be like if a main character had it. It was harder than the thought.”

“I’d like readers to have an enjoyable time reading a crime story, whether it is or isn’t their thing. For their first journey into reading crime, I hope they enjoy it, be entertained, and they can spend some time away from their daily life.”

“I think there’s this theme in there around homelessness that I hope people would stop and reflect on. We have 10,000 people who sleep rough here in Western Australia every night and 2000 of those people are children.

“Government and social housing providers are doing a great job in building housing and running it. Doing work that helps people overcome other disadvantage, but in the end not having a roof over your head is such a fundamental issue when it comes to being a driver of all other disadvantage.”

David Whish-Wilson’s I Am Already Dead is a gripping and high-paced novel that will keep crime readers on the edge of their seats. 

The title is based on an old samurai saying, ‘if you’re already dead you can’t be afraid’. 

This book is the second in the Lee Southern series but can be read as a standalone. 

True West, the first book in the series, was published in 2019 and shortlisted for the Ned Kelly Award for Best Crime. 

Whish-Wilson lives in Fremantle and coordinates the creative writing program at Curtin University, while also teaching in the prison system in Perth and previously in Fiji, where he started the country’s first prisoner writing program.

by Ariana Rosenberg

Leave a Reply