A Body of Work by J.M. Simpson
Best Book of the Month – October 2013
Gritty and gripping, J.M. Simpson’s ‘A Body of Work’ is the best piece of crime fiction we’ve yet to read this year. The city of Melbourne is reeling after the unexpected murder of a controversial socialite, Deborah Dangerfield, hours before the release of her tell-all novel, which threatens to blow the lid off the city’s best-kept secrets. Brendan O’Leary, a brooding and abrasive detective, is assigned to solve the case, though his connection to the murder victim may be a bit more personal than he is willing to admit to his associates. Detective Constable Ange Micelli is the willful and determined daughter of Italian immigrants, and her expertise soon becomes invaluable to O’Leary has he moves to find Dangerfield’s killer before life in Melbourne’s high society spirals out of control.
Micelli and O’Leary are a star team, two conflicted detectives whose backstories are engaging and compelling. Simpson wisely parcels out her characters’ pasts in tasty morsels throughout her novel, which lends the story a much-needed air of novelty and discovery. And, as new information comes to light, readers may grow confident that they’ve successfully identified Dangerfield’s killer, but by pure literary sleight of hand, Simpson will throw them off the scent once again. The author has also spent a great deal of energy getting the tone of her novel just right, using urban Australian slang that requires some acclimation for American readers but is absolutely essential to the pervading feel of the story and must be rewarded for its accurate depiction of Australian culture. Ultimately, ‘A Body of Work’ is a headily atmospheric whodunit that paints a vivid picture of urban Australia, combining well-constructed description and abbreviated prose to create a hectic, heart-pounding narrative that will have readers guessing all the way until the novel’s very end.
To purchase a copy of ‘A Body of Work,’ click here to find it on Amazon.