Are You Gonna Be My Girl?*

honey-brown-thumbnail-portraitThere’s nothing quite like discovering the work of a new author to keep the ‘reading spark’ alive. Of course, it often spells trouble for the TBR, but I do enjoy ‘meeting’ new-to-me authors. So I’m happy and proud to be a part of the New (to Me, Anyway) Authors meme, hosted by Kerrie at Mysteries in Paradise.

For this quarter, my choice is Australian writer Honey Brown (Admittedly, I’m cheating just a bit here, because I actually ‘met’ her before April). Originally from Tasmania, she now lives in Victoria with her husband and two children. Brown’s been writing for a number of years, but it’s not always easy to get Australian books here in the US. I’ve got a connection, though, who was kind enough to introduce me to Brown’s work.

Thus far, Brown has written standalones (Red Queen, The Good Daughter, After the Darkness, Dark Horse, and Through the Cracks) which makes it all the easier to catch up on her work as one can. The standalone through which I ‘met’ her is Through the Cracks. In that novel, we are introduced to fourteen-year-old Adam Vander, who has finally summoned up the physical and mental resources to leave his abusive father, Joe. One of the major problems Adam faces is that he’s been kept hidden away – very much under lock and key. So he has little knowledge of the outside world and no networks of relationships.

Adam finds an ally in Billy Benson, a young man who comes to the house just as Adam is ready to flee. The two strike up a friendship and spend the next week together. As they do, they learn more about each other, and each comes up against some uncomfortable truths from the past. Each also comes up against real danger in the present. It turns out that they are both connected to the ten-year-old disappearance of Nathan Fisher, who was with his parents at Market Day when he went missing. As we learn the truth about Adam’s and Billy’s stories, and about what happened to Nathan Fisher, we see the impact of past trauma on present life.


Want to find out more about Honey Brown? Her Penguin Australia bio page is right here. There’s also an interesting interview with her here.

Want to find out more about Through the Cracks? It’s right here.


*NOTE: The title of this post is the title of a song by Jet.


Filed under Honey Brown

28 responses to “Are You Gonna Be My Girl?*

  1. I’m trying really hard to stop adding new-to-me authors, but failing of course. The plan is to catch up on the books of some of last year’s new-to-me first – hah! I do wish Australian books weren’t so hard to get hold of over here though – even when they’re available they’re often grossly over-priced. Makes no sense…

    • 😆 I know just what you mean, FictionFan! I find myself trying to play catch up, too! On a more serious note, I don’t understand the ins and outs of geographic limitations either; I wish I did. You would think publishers would want as many books sold as possible. It may have something to do with international rights, but I don’t know.

  2. I discovered Honey Brown last year and read three of her novels in a couple of months. It’s great to see you highlight her work in this post.

  3. Margot – I have her new release – Six Degrees – short story collection – this is rumoured to be very different to her other works… I’ll let you know what I think after I have read it. PS I did love Through the Cracks.

  4. I’m thrilled to see Honey Brown featured on your blog, Margot. As you know, I am a big fan of her work. If pushed to say which is my favourite, I’d probably nominate After the Darkness, because it is so unusual for me to find a book (or movie for that matter) genuinely frightening.

    And on the subject of Australian books in the US, funnily enough, I just raised this issue yesterday in an interview about the future of Australian crime fiction. I fear that many of us are losing sales/profile because our work is priced out of the market. And this is coming from someone who relies on royalties!

    • I’ll have to see if I can lay my hands on a copy of After the Darknes, Angela. I don’t usually get genuinely frightened when I read, either, but Brown really is talented.
      As to Australian books in the US market, I think you have a point. Some very talented Australian writers, such as yourself, are missing out on sales/recognition because of the cost and limited availability of your work here. Lots of other readers I know feel the same way. It’s frustrating to try to experience more Australian crime fiction when a lot of it is unavailable, and what is available is really expensive.

  5. Col

    She sounds an interesting author, but I’m trying to swear off more books, so a reluctant pass from me.

    • I know all too well about the need to limit book buying, Col. Brown really is talented in my opinion, so if the time comes that you do try some of her work, I hope you’ll like it.

  6. Patti Abbott

    Reminding me of the WOLF PACK where seven kids were kept inside for their childhood. Reading John Verdon who is new to me.

    • Oh, I’ll be interested in what you think of Verdon, Patti. And thanks for mentioning The Wolf Pack. This one raises a similar question of what happens to children when they are raised under such circumstances.

  7. Margot, I love reading an unknown standalone by a completely new author, like Honey Brown? I read them quite often. There is a sense of satisfaction that I can’t explain.

  8. Margot, I always find such interesting new authors from you. I especially like that they are authors from all over the world.

  9. You’ve made my TBR list grow again, too, Margot. I haven’t read many, if any, Australian authors.

    • I know all about the way TBRs multiply exponentially, Pat *sigh.* I only wish I had the time to read everything on mine. I do think you’d like Honey Brown’s work. She really writes very well, in my opinion. And her work thus far is standalones, which does make it a bit easier to catch up on her novels as one can.

  10. Kathy D.

    Through the Cracks is quite an unusual book. It’s like unpeeling an onion to turn the pages and learn more about the protagonist.
    I, too, join the list of frustrated readers who want to access more crime fiction from Oz. I have a list of authors to read and can’t get the books because they’re beyond my budget between the costs and shipping fees.
    This is especially so when I read the nominees for a writing prize in Oz and see a tantalizing list — and can’t obtain the books. It’s like a chocolate cake being placed on the other side of a moat. One can see it but can’t reach it.

    • I know exactly what you mean, Kathy. It really is frustrating to have so many great books that are so difficult (and/or expensive) to get. I hope that something’s done to make Australian books more easily available to US readers.
      As to Through the Cracks, you have a well-taken point about the strategy Brown uses to reveal character. The layers are peeled away a little at a time.

  11. Teddyree

    So glad you found Honey Brown, I’ve had a love affair with her writing since reading Dark Horse. That one blew my mind, hope you get to read it next. I’m just about to review her latest, a departure from her usual but very good just the same … Six Degrees

  12. I’m a Honey Brown fan from Australia and I’ve just read Six Degrees, which as Teddyree says, is quite a departure from her usual. I’m reviewing this one in August due to a publisher embargo, but I will say that it’s very good.

    You may also be interested in my interview with Honey:

    • Thank you very much, Writenote1 for sharing your interview with Honey Brown. Folks, do have a look. And I’m glad to hear that you enjoyed Six Degrees. I hope that one makes its way into the US market.

  13. tracybham

    I have also found it harder to get books by some Australian authors, Margot, and it is frustrating. I will add Honey Brown on a list of authors to look out for.

    • It is frustrating, isn’t it, Tracy? I wish there were a good solution to that problem. If you do get your hands on a Honey Brown book, I hope you’ll like it .

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