Dr Leah Giarratano has had a long career as a clinical psychologist. She is an expert in psychological trauma, sex offences and psychopathology and has had many years assessing psychopaths and treating their victims. She has worked in psychiatric hospitals, with the defence force, and in the corrections system with offenders who suffer severe personality disorders. She has assessed and treated survivors of just about every imaginable psychological trauma, including- hostages; war veterans; rape, assault and accident victims; and has worked with police, fire and ambulance officers. In 2009 Leah began her television career, presenting Channel 7 s top rating Beyond the Darklands program, on which Leah was the expert psychologist who delved into the psyche of Australia s most fearsome criminals.
This is the third outing for Sergeant Jill Jackson of the NSW police following Vodka Doesn't Freeze and Voodoo Doll. This time Jill is working undercover trying to bust a drug cartel. The novel moves at a cracking (no pun intended) pace and takes place over 17 days in April. The setting is western Sydney (around where I live) and the feel is authentic. There are a number of strands to the story involving Jill, Gabriel (whom we met in Voodoo Doll), her sister Cassie and Seren, along with a wealthy lawyer, a drug lord and his henchmen, plus a couple of university students with a little cooking business on the side. While drugs are not pleasant, this is not as bleak as Vodka Doesn't Freeze, although Jill gets into her usual pile of trouble in the pursuit of her assignment. The language is tough, as would be expected given the subject matter, but I thoroughly enjoyed it and look forward to the next instalment-where one could hope that Jill's romantic life could take a turn for the better now that she has resolved a few of her problems. Definitely one for those who like their crime novels tough and demanding. Peter Milne is the director of Abbey's Bookshops and co-editor of the Crime Chronicle