Book Review

Red Dirt Road by S R White | Book Review

Red Dirt Road by S R White
Release Date: 16th February 2023
Genre: Adult, Crime
Source: Publisher, NetGalley
Rating: ★★★

One outback town. Two puzzling murders. Fifty suspects.

In Unamurra, a drought-scarred, one-pub town deep in the outback, two men are savagely murdered a month apart – their bodies elaborately arranged like angels.

With no witnesses, no obvious motives and no apparent connections between the killings, how can lone police officer Detective Dana Russo – flown in from hundreds of kilometres away – possibly solve such a baffling, brutal case?

Met with silence and suspicion from locals who live by their own set of rules, Dana must take over a stalled investigation with only a week to make progress.

But with a murderer hiding in plain sight, and the parched days rapidly passing, Dana is determined to uncover the shocking secrets of this forgotten town – a place where anyone could be a killer.

I have to admit, I picked up Red Dirt Road because I looove The Dry and other novels by Jane Harper and I’ve been craving a similar setting. I really enjoy thrillers set in the outback because I feel like the climate adds an extra element to the isolation of the characters and the murder or mystery that has taken place.

Red Dirt Road was just okay. The mystery itself was intriguing to begin with, but I felt like it all felt very surface level and it was easy to predict what was going on.

I didn’t feel a connection with the main character Dana at all. She seemed to have little personality, and at the end she went all Poirot and her explanation to the killer about how she figured it out went on for what felt like forever. Seriously, it was pages and pages of “I know how you did this and this is how I reached this conclusion and these are all the ways in which you messed up”. It became tedious and wasn’t really a “gotcha” vibe.

I might have cared more about Dana if I had read the first two books in this series, but I doubt it. All I knew about her in this one was she was good at maths and she had a plastic kneecap, which never really came up again after the first quarter of the book.

The setting was also a bit of a letdown because I felt like the author could have described it more and really made the reader feel as though they’re stuck in a drought in the desert. Nothing was really described other than the characters saying they were in a drought. It’s something that I felt was really lacking.

All that said, Red Dirt Road isn’t a bad book, it was just very mediocre. It entertained me for a few hours but I won’t be reaching for this author’s other books because nothing really drew me in.

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