#20BacklistIn2020 · #aww2020 · 2020 Reviews · Australian · contemporary fiction · crime · mystery

#20BACKLISTIN2020 Backlist Book Challenge: Second Sight by Aoife Clifford

2020 backlist challenge graphic

In a desperate bid to reduce the books that are collecting dust on my TBR shelves, I have decided to collaborate with another avid reader and fellow book reviewer, Nicole from Certified Book Addicts. The #20BACKLISTIN2020 challenge is a self paced challenge hosted by Jaylamm.ReadsReading and Sunshine, and Cassidys.Bookshelf. The overall goal of this challenge is to read 20 titles from the backlist books that are currently sitting on your TBR pile. For this challenge I will be reading non review books and taking my selections directly from my chock-a-block TBR bookcases (there are two shelved back to back). I will be publishing my reviews of these books on my blog and social media sites on the first and third Tuesday of the month.

Book #5 in the #20BACKLISTIN2020 challenge

Estimated TBR Shelf Life: 1.5 years

When Eliza Carmody returns to her hometown after a destructive wildfire, she witnesses secons sight smalla crime that draws her back into the mysteries of a childhood she thought she’d left behind for good.
When the biggest legal case of her career brings Eliza Carmody back to Kinsale, the hometown she thought she had left forever, she witnesses an old friend commit a crime that sends her on a dangerous quest to uncover the mysteries of her childhood that the rest of the town seems willing to ignore.
With her friend on the run and the police investigating the bones on an unidentified dead body at a historic homestead near town, Eliza becomes convinced that the truth lies in her memories of the New Year’s Eve years ago when her friend Grace disappeared from Kinsale forever.
With the town still reeling from the devastating fire and powerful local families determined to protect young men from the consequences of their actions, Eliza begins to suspect that no one – even those she needs to trust the most – is telling the truth.


Second Sight by Aoife Clifford is a 2018 publication from Australian publishing house Simon and Schuster. This latest production from Clifford offers a convoluted story of twisted small town secrets, guilt, retribution and revelations. The quintessential Australian setting proves to be the ideal breeding ground for an enthralling crime based story.

Reeling from a fire that ripped apart the small rural town ship of Kinsale over two years ago, the local community has become more protective than ever in its efforts to recover from such a devastating blow. Former Kinsdale resident Eliza Carmody returns to her home town to provide legal support to the corporation charged with a class action suit by the Kinsdale community for the fire. Eliza finds her homecoming immediately unwelcoming. She witnesses an old school acquaintance commit a terrible act of violence, she is threatened and the recent unearthing of a set of bones at a local site sends Eliza is a spin. Second Sight sees Eliza confront her difficult past, while also dealing with the strained relations of her legal case. Memories of the past come flooding back and Eliza finds it increasingly hard to trust anyone, or anything in Kinsdale.

I have had Second Sight occupying a place on my bulging bookshelves since this book was first released in mid-2018. The book has recently seen a reprint, with an eye-catching and distinctly Australian feel cover. The flying black cockatoo on the updated cover version caught my eye in the shops, along with the front cover tagline ‘A TOWN BURNED TO CINDERS WITH FIRE… AND LIES’. With bushfires recently raging all over our country, I felt compelled to investigate this novel. Second Sight is centered on a small rural township devastated by a fire and a town determined to seek justice for the cause of the fire. Second Sight proved to be a powerful and timely read, given our current climate in Australia and the grief we have collectively felt as a nation for the deep loss of environment.

Aoife Clifford is an author who has successfully managed to launch herself into the Australian rural crime genre, a burgeoning category, with Second Sight. Although I try not to compare releases by the same author, I did find Second Sight contrasted to All These Perfect Strangers. Second Sight is a book that is deeply entrenched in the Australian way of life. It is dripping in atmosphere. The piercing sense of menace established and carried through this novel is undeniable. I appreciated Clifford’s approach to this book, the stylised format of alternating Eliza’s present day happenings, with events in the past was tumultuous. I was equally invested in both timelines presented by Clifford. I liked how the narratives gravitated around one another and then eventually crossed over. I also admired Clifford’s approach, which I found to be clever and intricately plotted.

Eliza’s goes through a significant amount of turmoil as the book progresses. There are the events of the past and the loss of her best friend in unsolved circumstances, which has clearly haunted her. Then there is the burden of her father’s care and the tension that arises from her legal work back home. I had a deep appreciation for Eliza’s inner strength, guts, determination and her ability to prevail in difficult circumstances. Ultimately, I wanted Eliza to succeed and come out the other side. I also wanted Eliza to put some of the demons of her past to rest. Clifford does a fine job of outlining Eliza’s journey, which is intertwined with a new case and a cold case. While the looming presence of the catastrophic bushfire two years ago looms over the unfolding story.

There were some surprising revelations, plot twists, digressions and detours thrown at me by Clifford, which I didn’t mind at all. Questions of trust, guilt, blame, recovery, acceptance and self-preservation play a heavy part of this electrifying crime novel. I certainly held my breath a few times!

Second Sight is a blazing and intense novel, underpinned by a visceral tone and a stifling small town atmosphere. In her follow up novel to All These Perfect Strangers, Aoife Clifford proves that she is a top notch Australian crime novelist, who is doing great things for this thriving genre.

****  4 stars

Second Sight by Aoife Clifford was published on 18th June 2018 by Simon & Schuster Australia. Details on how to purchase the book can be found here.

To learn more about the author of Second Sight, Aoife Clifford, visit here.

Second Sight is book #20 of the 2020 Australian Women Writers Challenge


4 thoughts on “#20BACKLISTIN2020 Backlist Book Challenge: Second Sight by Aoife Clifford

  1. It’s a great cover! I must Google her name as I have no idea how to pronounce it lol. You’re getting through some wonderful backlist books! Love this review!
    To keep up or not lag behind I’m just about to finish my next backlist book and start another one, of course I’ve written the titles down on paper with the Tuesday posting dates so there’s no confusion.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Sue, I love the cover too and with the cover update, it encouraged me to find my copy from my shelves and finally read it.

      The author’s name is Irish, I have a friend with a child Spencer’s age named Aoife. Aoife Clifford has another book which I’ve read, All These Perfect Strangers. I have much to choose from for this challenge lol, I had a look last night for my next backlist read and I had no idea what to choose as there are too many books on my shelves! I ended up picking up a book for the Pop Sugar Challenge instead lol!

      Great to hear you are making great inroads with the challenges! Good idea to keep records, I have mine logged in on my paper diary.


      1. I’m always surprised when people choose foreign names as the child will always have to spell out their name and Irish names are tricky. A friend of mine had a baby recently and she named him Owen but she spells it Eoin and the only reason I knew how to pronounce it was because of the comedian Jimeoin. The name has grown on me but I love the more modern names or the cool vintage names like Henry, Lloyd and Jack. So, I did google how to pronounce Aoife and it’s a pretty name just the spelling seems more boyish.

        Oh that’s so funny that you picked up a book for the Popsugar challenge instead of a backlist book. I had all 20 backlist books chosen in a matter of 2 minutes and that’s not a lie LOL. More trickier for the Popsugar books but I do have 9 books ready to go just need to find time to read them as most of them are not coffee table or backlist books.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Good point Sue and yes I loved the traditional names, hence Oscar and Spencer! The Irish names are beautiful though, we have a big Irish family at school and they all have interesting names! Some are easy to pronounce others took a while for me to get my tongue around them!

        Glad to hear the selection process for the backlist challenge was easy for you and fast too. Yes it is the time to read them rather than the choosing part! Looking forward to your upcoming reviews!


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