The Other Wife

Michael Robotham (Hachette $34.99)

Parkinson's suffering clinical psychologist Joe O'Loughlin is back in another deftly written, twist-laden, page-turner by the acclaimed Australian author.

The ninth O'Loughlin outing sees Joe (still grieving the death of his wife) summoned to the hospital with news that his elderly father has been brutally attacked.

When he gets there he finds a strange woman at his father's bed side - is she a friend, a mistress, a fantasist or a killer?

Joe of course launches his own investigation, discovering a side of his father - a celebrated surgeon, who he thought was happily married to his mother - he had no inkling of.

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Robotham - who never outlines - seems to have fun here - perhaps too much fun - discovering potential twists and introducing new characters/suspects as the book proceeds.

Pieces of Her

Karin Slaughter (Harper Collins $36.99)

Another thriller based on a family member who has led a hidden life. The Atlanta-based writer best known for her Grant County and Will Trent books returns with a compelling stand-alone. Andrea her adult daughter returns home to Georgia after an unsuccessful time in New York to help her mother through breast cancer. Andrea's life's a mess and lacks direction until a trip to the mall one afternoon uncovers a side to her mother she had never suspected.

Slaughter (no, it's not a pseudonym) who has covered father/daughter relationships before here turns her attention to a fraught mother/daughter dynamic and also focuses on the opportunities for women now versus the limited choices of earlier decades and the flashback scenes show the mid-80s in all its mansplaining glory.

Providence

Caroline Kepnes (Simon & Schuster $32.99)

This is quite a departure for Kepnes whose last book Hidden Bodies - an acerbic, often comic novel about a serial killer in love - I thought one of the best of 2016. Providence is part supernatural thriller (H.P Lovecraft is a big influence), part romance and part detective story. It's an ambitious book that spans decades full of Kepnes' trademark wit and pop culture cool, but for all its smarts this one fails to cohere. It starts in YA mode with Chloe enthralled by Jon who goes missing in strange circumstances. He turns up four years later - healthy and strong but with no memory. He also discovers he has super powers and can induce heart attacks in those he feels strongly towards - which is ok if they're drug dealers or scammers but less desirable if he's around someone he loves (Chloe). The book meanders a little until the arrival of burdened, middle-aged detective Eggs who brings a nice touch of jaded romanticism to a book that can at times feel a little cloying.

Into The Night

Sarah Bailey (Allen & Unwin $36.99)

A dark, gritty novel from one of the bright lights of Aussie crime fiction. 2017's The Dark Lake was a fantastic debut introducing a smart woman detective as damaged as many of those whose crimes she investigates. Into the Night sees Gemma Woodstock leaving her young son and partner and transferring from small-town Victoria to Melbourne. There may be "no school lunches to pack, play dates to plan" but Woodstock's a character in freefall, consumed by guilt. In Melbourne her motherhood is a secret - "I am too hard. Too empty. Too remote. Too selfish" - sex with strangers, alcohol and work are her only distractions. Then a movie star is killed on set in bizarre circumstances - and Woodstock and taciturn partner Fleet are suddenly leading a high-profile murder inquiry; but the best parts of this - the depiction of grungy inner-city Melbourne and Gemma's personal struggles - have little to do with the case at hand.