Geoffrey McGeachin

Ranty Roundup – February

Well February seemed to fly by.  I had a really good reading month, but a not so good blogging month – but I’ll just smile and be happy that the reading slump is not only over, it has been decimated! I read 11 books in Feb, which is probably a record for me, especially considering I didn’t read for a whole week while I was away. My favourite book was certainly The Call of the Wild by Jack London – I wasn’t expecting to love it as much as I did. An honourable mention must go to Stuart MacBride’s Logan McRae series – I’ve read six of his novels over the past two months, and they are some of the longest mysteries I’ve encountered, but I’m in love – with Roberta Steel.


Onto personal matters, I’ve been having issues with my right eye (I’ve been unable to watch TV or be on the computer for more than an hour at a time) and the many doctors I’ve been seeing have no idea what is wrong. They have just said I have to deal with the discomfort and pain and hope that my vision doesn’t get any worse – I’m already at the point that the right eye is useless, the left eye does all the work. That has put a dampener on my life, but certainly meant I got lots of reading done!

Uni goes back during March, and I’m finally getting to see the light – one more year of study and then I can look forward to full time teaching. However, it also means that I am going to have less time to read this month – I’ve got a good buffer on my Goodreads goal of 52 books in 2015, so I’m not going to pressure myself to read too much. However, as I can’t watch TV, most of my spare time will be spent with a book. I’ve also gone back to working nights, which gives me about two hours of reading time each night, so I’m hoping to read 6 books during March.


Total Books Read in February – 11 books

The Forsaken – Ace Atkins – 4 stars

Flesh House – Stuart MacBride – 3 stars

Blackwattle Creek – Geoffrey McGeachin – 3 stars

The Call of the Wild – Jack London – 5 stars

San Francisco Night – Stephen Leather – 3 stars

Rules of Honour – Matt Hilton – 4 stars

Blind Eye – Stuart MacBride – 3 stars

The Lawless Kind – Matt Hilton – 3 stars

Dark Blood – Stuart MacBride – 3 stars

Shatter The Bones – Stuart MacBride – 4 stars

Death Force – Matt Lynn – 4 stars


Continuing Reads

Sandakan – Paul Ham – 250p in


March TBR (more a suggestions list besides the top three)

Finish Sandakan – Paul Ham

Fire Force – Matt Lynn

Shadow Force – Matt Lynn

Start Vampire Academy series

Start Sniper Elite series


Bloggy Stuff

Well, I’ve decided to set myself a couple of goals to do with the blog and share them. I’ve got some excellent opportunities this month, for starters I am going to go see Geoffrey McGeachin’s talk on Thursday at Adelaide Writer’s Week, so I will hopefully give a recap of what that experience is like – I’ve reviewed all of his Charlie Berlin series on this blog and they have certainly become a favourite of mine.

I am also going to make it a habit to do mini reviews – I’ve been thinking that I need to write massive reviews of every book I read, and then scaring myself from actually doing the review (do I actually have enough to say about this?) so instead I’m going to aim at once a week having a feature where I review the book(s) I’ve read – in 100 words. If I find I have more than 100 words, I can publish it as a standalone, otherwise, it will go in my weekly wrap up.

Finally, I am thinking of tackling Ulysses during the next Bout of Books – would anyone out there be interested in doing this with me? (please!?) Or even just offer advice (besides the advice my sister gave me: Run away! Run, run FAR AWAY!) of the best way to tackle this?

So hopefully there is more happening on this blog this month, and hopefully I don’t break down and cry when all my uni work starts rolling in! For all those who stuck it out to this conclusion – you deserve cookies (but I can’t bake, so what you deserve and what you get are two different things).


Oz Book Review: Digger’s Rest Hotel by Geoffrey McGeachin


Diggers Rest Hotel by Geoffrey McGeachin, 2010, kindle ebook, 336p.

Quite a while ago I read the third book in the Charlie Berlin series, St Kilda Blues, and reviewed it. After my overwhelmingly positive experience with that book, I picked up the first one, Diggers Rest Hotel, on kindle. It was strange for me to read a first in the series after reading a later book first, I feel like I have missed out on some of the character development that McGeachin executes so well.

In Diggers Rest Hotel Charlie Berlin is certainly an unliked detective, which is similar to St Kilda Blues, but in his debut outing, he has yet to really prove his skill in solving crimes. Throughout this book, you get to see Berlin become enthralled in his case, and juggle being in an unfamiliar environment and a new romantic interest.

Like last time, one of my favourite parts of the Berlin series is the authentic Australian feel – so much of the small town revolves around AFL, which is very accurate, even today. I read so much British and American fiction that when I visit Berlin’s Australia I get a little bit angry – why don’t I read more Australian fiction? Why isn’t there more thrillers set in Australia? I’m to blame, I pick up an established British author over a little known Australian one, and I should be doing the opposite.

I’ve got the second book in this series from the library, and am looking forward to visiting my own country once again – and hopefully I can refrain from getting too angry in the process.

Oz Book Review: St Kilda Blues by Geoffrey McGeachin


ImageSt Kilda Blues by Geoffrey McGeachin, Netgalley, published 28th May 2014, 304p

Overall enjoyment rating: 8 out of 10 possible golden stars.

A serial killer’s work goes unnoticed until Detective Berlin is on the case in this third spine-tingling Charlie Berlin novel.

It’s 1967, the summer of love, and in swinging Melbourne Detective Sergeant Charlie Berlin has been hauled out of exile in the Fraud Squad to investigate the disappearance of a teenage girl, the daughter of a powerful and politically connected property developer. As Berlin’s inquiries uncover more missing girls he gets an uneasy feeling he may be dealing with the city’s first serial killer.

Berlin’s investigation leads him through inner-city discothèques, hip photographic studios, the emerging drug culture and into the seedy back streets of St Kilda. The investigation also brings up ghosts of Berlin’s past as a bomber pilot and POW in Europe and disturbing memories of the casual murder of a young woman he witnessed on a snow-covered road in Poland in the war’s dying days. As in war, some victories come at a terrible cost and Berlin will have to face an awful truth and endure an unimaginable loss before his investigation is over.

St Kilda Blues is Geoffrey McGeachin’s seventh book and third in the Charlie Berlin series. The first Berlin novel, The Diggers Rest Hotel, won the 2011 Australian Crime Writers Association’s Ned Kelly Award for Best Fiction with the follow up book, Blackwattle Creek, also winning the Ned Kelly Award for Best Fiction in 2013 – summary shamelessly stolen from


I’ll come out and just admit it now – if Charlie Berlin wasn’t a fictional character I would stalk him. I’d follow him around and watch him do his thing – solve crimes and engage in general acts of heroism. Berlin feels real, and his interactions with the other characters makes for riveting reading. The strangest thing about my stalker urges is that I was introduced to this series with book three, normally I much prefer to read books in order.

The plot of St Kilda Blues is enjoyable and well structures, although it is formulaic. There was not much mystery as to why the killer was, although it was amusing to watch Berlin tell all the other policemen that they were doing it all wrong. The use of photography throughout the book was excellent, and I enjoyed learning something I have no clue about.

McGeachin weaves themes of war and history through St Kilda Blues effortlessly, and uses Berlin’s veteran history to further the story. I was also captivated by Berlins struggle through what would today be termed PTSD. The period that this book is set in, the Vietnam War, free love and drug use are all well-handled and provides a colourful canvas for the mystery that builds.

One of my favourite aspects of St Kilda Blues is its vibrant depiction of Melbourne. Although I live in Adelaide (unashamed croweater), the familiar things in the novel made me very happy. The Arnott’s biscuit truck stood out, as did the fact that they drove around in Commodores and Fairlanes. Also, the constant references to the AFL was fine by me – at least I know something about the sport. All of this is something that I find I miss out on in foreign novels, and I only realize that I am missing it when I read a book set in Australia.

I will certainly be picking up the previous Berlin books – I just purchased The Diggers Rest Hotel on Kindle for free, so I certainly am not complaining! I just hope that it is as good of a read as St Kilda Blues.