Fran hates her hometown, and she thought she’d escaped. But
her father is ill, and needs care. Her relationship is over, and
she hates her dead-end job in the city, anyway.
She returns home to nurse her dying father, her distant
teenage daughter in tow for the weekends. There, in the
sleepy town of Ash Mountain, childhood memories prick at
her fragile self-esteem, she falls in love for the first time, and
her demanding dad tests her patience, all in the unbearable
heat of an Australian summer.
As past friendships and rivalries are renewed, and new
ones forged, Fran’s tumultuous home life is the least of her
worries, when old crimes rear their heads and a devastating
bushfire ravages the town and all of its inhabitants…
Simultaneously a warm, darkly funny portrait of small-town
life – and a woman and a land in crisis – and a shocking
and truly distressing account of a catastrophic event that
changes things forever, Ash Mountain is a heart-breaking
slice of domestic noir, and a disturbing disaster thriller that
you will never forget…
I received a copy of this book from Orenda Books in return for an honest review.
An adrenaline-inducing beginning guarantees the reader’s attention from the start The main protagonist, is desperately searching for her family amidst a raging firestorm. The story rewinds to the days preceding the firestorm, and you begin to see what life’s like in Ash Mountain.
Character-driven, this is an addictive intricate story. Each of the characters is believable and ordinary. This authenticity makes them fascinating. The town’s dynamic relationships; family, friends and frenemies are interweaved to form its ethos.
The story slips back in time thirty years to illuminate currents events and motivations. Dark satirical humour enlivens the plot which explores terrible abuse and betrayal from Fran’s past. The final chapters are immersive and intense.
This story is an enthralling balance of humour and poignancy exploring contemporary issues of abuse, prejudice and catastrophic disaster.
Helen FitzGerald is the bestselling author of ten adult and young adult
thrillers, including The Donor (2011) and The Cry (2013), which was
longlisted for the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year, and is now a major drama for BBC1.
Her 2019 dark comedy thriller Worst CaseScenario was a Book of the Year in both The Guardian and Daily Telegraph.
Helen worked as a criminal justice social worker for over fifteen years. She grew up in Victoria, Australia, and now lives in Glasgow with her husband.