Alix Bosco’s Slaughter Falls (2010) returns us to the middle-aged and multi-layered Anna Markunas, an overworked social worker turned legal researcher turned unintentional sleuth, although this time instead of the mean streets of South Auckland she finds herself caught up in a puzzling death while holidaying in sunny Queensland. A weekend of revelry and rugby watching sours terribly when two members of Markunas’s tour party die sudden, violent deaths. As Markunas tries to track down the elusive family of one of the men, she finds herself entangled in the secret histories and ongoing corruption of the Sunshine State’s seedy underbelly. At the same time unexpected revelations about her own background come to light.
Slaughter Falls , a finalist for the 2011 Ngaio Marsh Award for Best Crime Novel, has plenty of the tension (both in terms of the plotline and Markunas’s personal life), visual storytelling, and vivid action-packed moments readers loved in Bosco’s debut and prequel Cut & Run (2009), but is a more personal, character-based novel. While it doesn’t quite scale the thrills and mystery heights of Bosco’s debut, this sophomore effort further develops Markunas as an intriguing character worth following as the series grows. An enjoyable read. (Adapted from Craig Silverston, October 2010 issue of WildTomato)