Crucifixion Creek (Belltree)
by Barry Maitland
Cover Artist: Shutterstock
Review by Joseph B. Hoyos
Minotaur Books Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9781250072146
Date: 10 November 2015 List Price $25.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK
Links: Author's Website / Show Official Info /
Barry Maitland, who lives in New South Wales on the Pacific Coast of Australia, is the best-selling author of the superb Brock and Kolla mysteries. Crucifixion Creek is the debut of his new Harry Belltree trilogy. Fast-paced and bloody, it is the most intriguing conspiracy novel I've read in many years. Crucifixion Creek opens with a bloody murder (many more follow) and ends with another bloody murder, the most shocking of all. Gruesome, gut-wrenching discoveries and revelations abound. Harry finds himself up to his elbows in evil assholes. Unfortunately, sometimes he can't distinguish the good guys from the bad guys, because duplicity also abounds.
Despite her blindness, Harry's beautiful wife, Jenny, is extremely congenial. Always remaining optimistic, she is learning to cope with her blindness. She is adept at using a high tech computer designed for the blind. Jenny uses her research skills to find clues for Harry who has been temporary suspended from the police force for not following protocol. Harry also relies on the research skills of Kelly Pool, a gutsy reporter for the Bankstown Chronicle. Another kind soul, she puts her career and life on the line in order to help Harry. Using disposable cell phones, they relay information to each other. Despite their clandestine relationship, Harry receives ridicule from his colleagues who suspect him of being a mole.
Crucifixion Creek is a neighborhood with a dark, bloody history. Today, thanks to an infamous motorcycle gang known as the Crows, it looks like a war zone. Any house that hasn't been burned to the ground has been boarded up. The Crows abduct, torture, and murder per the orders of an evil, perverse men. (Readers should be warned that there are some gruesome scenes, including a rape.) Most importantly, Crucifixion Creek holds an extremely disturbing secret that will churn your stomach. At least it did mine.
Intended for mature readers, Crucifixion Creek is a spell-binding mystery that is part action, part horror, and part romance. Detective Sergeant Harry Belltree is a very likeable hero who really loves his wife, Jenny. (He doesn't fool around with Kelly Pool.) I can't wait for the next novel in the trilogy, Ash Island, slated to be published in America in 2016.