John Maytham's book reviews: Private eyes, Australian outback, street survivors

Listen to John Maytham's book reviews for the week...

Guilty Minds by Joseph Finder

Private spy Nick Heller returns in the new pacy, twisty thriller from New York Times bestselling author Joseph Finder.

Private spy Nick Heller is the best lie detector you'll ever meet. Trained in the special forces; tough, smart and stubborn, he'll do what needs to be done to uncover the truth.

He's been hired to disprove a story about a Supreme Court judge and a high-class call girl who's just been found dead. Nick has forty-eight hours before a Washington gossip website runs an expose that could destroy the justice system as we know it.

Forty-eight hours to figure out who is lying. Forty-eight hours to solve the murder of an innocent woman. Forty-eight hours to force the power-brokers of Washington to give up their secrets... The truth, when it comes, will shock them all.

Red Dirt by E.M. Reapy

A gripping tale of loss and hope, of self-destruction and self-acceptance, from an exciting new debut author. Three young Irish people have come to Australia, running from the economic ruins of their home country and their own unhappy lives.

In this promised land, stunned by the heat and the vast arid space of the interior, they each try to escape their past in a chaotic world of backpacker hostels, huge fruit farms and squalid factories, surrounded by new friends who are even more damaged and dangerous than they are themselves. Endless supplies of cheap drink and drugs loosen what little sense of responsibility they have, and a spiral of self-destructive behaviour forces each of them to face up to the reality of their lives.

This is a story of the consequences of impulsive choices and of the places where they lead. A vulnerable young man is left alone by his friends in a remote wilderness; a desperate girl puts herself into the hands of violent sex traffickers; a once-privileged favourite son lets a drunken quarrel escalate to murder. An utterly compelling, readable novel that hooks from the first page and immerses us in an all-too topical nightmare.

Under Nelson Mandela Boulevard by Sean Christie

Beneath the Nelson Mandela Boulevard flyover on Cape Town's foreshore lives a community of stowaways, young Tanzanian men from the slums of Dar es Salaam.

When journalist Sean Christie meets Adam Bashili, he comes to know the extraordinary world of the Beachboys, a multi-port, fourth-generation subculture that lives to stow away and stows away to survive. But Sean starts to accompany the beachboys on trips around their everyday Cape Town, he becomes more than a casual observer, serving as sometime moneylender, driver, confidant and scribe, and eventually joining Adam on an unprecedented tour of Dar es Salaam's underworld and a reckless run down Africa's east coast.

Under Nelson Mandela Boulevard remaps both city and continent, introducing us to the places and people we so frequently overlook.

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