2017 Reviews · action · Australian · contemporary fiction · crime · mystery · Throwback Thursday

Throwback Thursday Book Review: Rough Diamond by Kathryn Ledson


Welcome to a weekly post, Throwback Thursday. This weekly book review post is a way to share some old favourites, books that were published over a year ago and most importantly those books that have been languishing on the to be read pile for far too long!

Today’s Throwback Thursday book review is my own choice, a 2012 contemporary Australian comedy. with crime and mystery elements, Rough Diamond by Kathryn Ledson. Rough Diamond is the first book in a series, featuring unlikely heroine Erica Jewell.  I selected this book to read as this year I have been completing a book challenge with a friend. The category we needed to fulfil was  ‘a comedy’. Whilst Rough Diamond has some humourous and unbelievable elements, I wouldn’t class it as a laugh out loud comedy. It was a fun and light read nonetheless!

Synopsis:rough diamond small

Funny, romantic, and action-packed, Rough Diamond introduces Australia’s own Stephanie Plum – the unforgettable Erica Jewell.

The shock ending to Erica Jewell’s marriage left a huge hole in her bank balance and a bigger one in her heart. And now her life goals make a very short list: no surprises, no debt and, definitely, no men. That is, until she finds one bleeding to death in her Melbourne garden one stormy Friday night.

Jack Jones is a man whose emotional wounds are more life-threatening than the bullet in his shoulder. Under orders, he recruits Erica to his secret team of vigilantes, and Erica suspects her safe, predictable world is about to be turned upside down.

And she’s absolutely right.

My review:

Sometimes you just need a fun, sexy, witty and swiftly paced read. Rough Diamond is the debut novel from Australian author Kathryn Ledson that doesn’t take itself too seriously. It features an amiable heroine, Erica Jewell, who finds herself caught up in a vigilante ring, targeting terrorists actively trying to take down Melbourne. Readers who choose this novel to read are in a for a fast paced adventure ride, with Erica and Jack Jones, her handsome accomplice.

Rough Diamond is the opening book in a series featuring terrorist busting heroine Erica Jewell.  When Erica returns to her home in Melbourne one day, she is shocked to find a mysterious stranger bleeding profusely in her backyard. Erica’s first instinct is to call the authorities and get help for this unfortunate man but he begs her not to do so. Instead, Erica’s encounter with the mysterious man, who goes by the name Jack Jones, leads her to become part of a covert team, who fight terrorism. For this mild mannered and naive PR girl, life becomes a lot more complicated with Jack by her side.

Rough Diamond has been sitting on my shelves for a significant length of time. I recall purchasing this book after I saw more than a few favourable reviews on Rough Diamond by other reviewers I followed at the time the book was released back in 2012. Although much time has passed since I first acquired this book, an opportunity to dust this one off the shelves came my way, in the form of a book challenge I am completing with a friend. Rough Diamond was chosen to fulfil the category of ‘a comedy’. Whilst I will say this book is witty, especially in the banter that passes between the leads and the mishaps they find themselves embroiled in, Rough Diamond wasn’t quite the laugh out loud experience I was expecting. I did have some other great qualities, which I will discuss further in my review.

Firstly, what I appreciated about Rough Diamond was the original and fresh approach to a novel. I can’t say there is anything quite like an Australia’s Stephanie Plum, Janet Evanovich’s well known heroine out there in the Aussie book world. Erica Jewell is by far our country’s best answer to this style of character. I liked the fact that Ledson has given Australian their own answer to Stephanie Plum in Erica. Kudos to Ledson for coming up with an original series idea and heroine.

Erica Jewell is a highly likeable, dare I say even loveable character. I liked her from the outset and I admired her move from PR to terrorist butt kicker! Obviously as she is in quite a dire financial situation through paying her ex husband’s debts. The money this new and dangerous line of work provides is a source of motivation, along with the chance to work alongside handsome Jack, the man who recruits her. It is great to see the change in Erica, from the start of the novel where she is naive and sheltered, to a woman willing to take risks.

We learn early on in the piece that both our leads have suffered heartbreak in the romance department. Jack lost his wife and parents in 9/11. While Erica has a deadbeat ex husband that she is still continuing to clear his debts. Understandably, the two are hesitant to embark on a romantic relationship together due to past hurts. This provides Ledson with the leverage to introduce a slow burn style romance. The heat is definitely evident between the two leads but it is never acted upon. There still seems a possibility of love that could spark between these two in future instalments of the series. In the meantime, it is entertaining observing their banter and comebacks to one another, fuelled by unfulfilled physical attraction.

In terms of content, Rough Diamond runs along at a fast pace from the beginning. Readers will find themselves entertained for the entire novel. My favourite aspect of this novel was the setting, as it enabled Ledson to insert iconic landmarks and places of Australia. It was great to see the Sydney Opera House and the Melbourne Cup included in the events of the novel. The local flavour worked well to draw me into the novel. I will say this book is action packed, but some of the situations the characters are faced with seemed just a little too farfetched for my own personal taste. However, I can see the broad appeal of this novel and I am sure it will capture the attention of many readers.

Rough Diamond by Kathryn Ledson was published in 2012. Details on how to purchase the book can be found here.

To learn more about the author of Rough Diamond, Kathryn Ledson, visit here.



2 thoughts on “Throwback Thursday Book Review: Rough Diamond by Kathryn Ledson

  1. Seems like we both read a comedy that didn’t deliver laugh-out-loud moments but were hugely fun nonetheless. I think I might add her to my to read list and one day before she has a huge backlist of books I’ll have read all three books!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree, both our books selected for the comedy challenge were not lough out loud selections. Nevertheless I think we both appreciated the lightness and touches of humour present in each of our books. Glad to hear you are willing to try Ledson’s work 🙂


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s