On the Radar: Choose your own murder mystery

3 Mins read

It’s always been a bit of a mystery to me why nobody has tried to create a crime fiction version of the Choose Your Own Adventure format of the 1980s. Perhaps publishers thought the idea was a bit childish, or maybe it’s an expensive format if you involve big name authors? The innovative Aussie librarian LJM Owen has cracked that conundrum, however, and our lead book this week is the result of her labours. Looks fascinating.

We also bring you new titles by Danielle and Amber Brown, Caz Frear, Guy Kennaway and Elena Shalneva. Another ripping week for crime fiction, another head-scratcher for anyone trying to choose their next read. (See above.)

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Murder You Wrote edited by LJM Owen

Murder You Wrote edited by LJM Owen front cover

A murder of Aussie crime writers have contributed to the quirky interactive mystery Murder You Wrote, edited by LJM Owen. It works a little bit like the Choose Your Own Adventure and Deathtrap Dungeon books of the 1980s. You are a retired police detective, invited to speak at a crime fiction writers festival in Tasmania and looking forward to spending a weekend with some of Australia’s bestselling authors. You’re staying in a convict-built country manor house with five other guests who each seem to have an axe to grind. When overnight storms flood the only road out and the internet goes down, a world-famous writer dies… Whodunnit? It’s for you to decide – can you quiz the suspects, follow the clues and solve the case? The book is out now for Kindle and in print on 8 December.
Order now on Amazon

Perfect Little Lives by Danielle and Amber Brown

Perfect Little Lives by Amber and Danielle Brown front cover

It was a decade ago that life changed for 13-year-old Simone – her mother was murdered and her father convicted of the crime and jailed. These days she lives a pretty quiet life, writing book reviews and spending time with her boyfriend. When a true crime documentarian gets in touch and she has a surprise encounter with her childhood next-door neighbour, Hunter, Simone feels like the past is haunting her. And what Hunter has to tell her puts the 10-year-old killing in a whole new light… Written by twin sisters Danielle and Amber Brown, Perfect Little Lives is out 5 December in the US, 21 December in the UK.
Order now on Amazon or

Five Bad Deeds by Caz Frear

Five Bad Deeds by Cat Frear front cover

Ellen is a pretty good egg. Sure, she’s told the occasional white lie in her time but she’s never intentionally hurt anyone. Then the teacher, mother, wife and all-around law-abiding citizen gets a threatening note: “People have to learn there are consequences, Ellen – and I’m going to teach you”. Yikes! As Ellen tries to piece together the five bad deeds that brought her to this pretty pass, the messages keep coming – each one hitting closer to everything she cherishes. Find out how she gets on when Five Bad Deeds by Caz Frear comes out on 5 December.
Order now on Amazon or

Good Scammer by Guy Kennaway

The God Scammer by Guy Kennaway front cover

Scammers: Scum of the earth, right? You might think differently after meeting Clive ‘Bangaz’ Thompson in Guy Kennaway’s Good Scammer, out on 7 December. Bangaz is an orphan who was born in west Jamaica and raised with no love, education, or prospects of ever getting a decent job. But he becomes something of a Robin Hood figure when he designs an ingenious business model that brings millions of dollars annually to the little villages around the sandy inlets of the Jamaican coast. Eschewing violence, he amasses a vast personal fortune and becomes a hero to his community – sounds like a win/win… but is it?
Order now on Amazon

The Woman of the Year by Elena Shalneva

The Woman of the Year front cover

Corporate high-flyer Claudia Moreau has money and clout, and has just won the prestigious Woman of the Year award. But Claudia has been single-minded in her climb to the top and her unwavering ambition has done harm to friends and colleagues in the process. Time for her comeuppance then, and after meeting the mysterious Maya Tango in a park in Notting Hill, and later encountering a mysterious skateboarding young man on the street, Claudia’s carefully planned life begins to unravel – with fatal consequences. The Woman of the Year by Elena Shalneva is out now.
Order now on Amazon

Click here to read about last week’s new books.

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