Author: S.R. White
Published: August 25th 2020
Publisher: Hachette Australia
Genres: Fiction, Contemporary, Crime, Mystery
Rating: 3.5 stars
Riveting, atmospheric and unforgettably original, HERMIT is perfect for fans of acclaimed crime authors like Jane Harper, Chris Hammer, Tana French and Susie Steiner.
HE DISAPPEARED FOR 15 YEARS…SHE HAS 12 HOURS TO FIND OUT WHY.
Compulsive, atmospheric and stunningly accomplished, HERMIT introduces a thrilling new voice in Australian crime fiction, perfect for fans of Jane Harper and Chris Hammer.
‘I mean, look here: no hesitation marks and just one stab. And the trajectory, straight between the ribs and into the heart.’ She looked up. ‘That sounds a little slick for an apparent hermit who didn’t take a weapon along, don’t you think?’
A murder, a disappearance and a baffling crime defines S.R. White’s novel, Hermit. A slow burn psychological thriller that takes you one way and then another, Hermit will challenge the mind of any astute crime thriller fan. Hermit is original, volatile and full of conjecture.
Set in the heart of the Australian bush, Hermit rips apart the circumstances surrounding an unusual death. Detective Dana Russo is charged with the difficult task of dissecting a possible confession from the chief suspect of a crime scene that he ran from some fifteen years earlier. This suspect has lived in isolation for over a decade and it is up to the formidable Detective Russo to gain a full understanding of what happened and why this recluse has lived a life in silence for so long. With a lack of police clues and evidence, the task Dana Russo is issued with seems impossible. Russo must summon all the strength and expertise she can to elicit a response from this troubled man. Questions arise over his motives, guilt, innocence, involvement and possible violent intent. But as Russo races against time to get to the bottom of the truth, old wounds from her own past arise, which threaten to take over her ability to crack this puzzling case.
Praised by well lauded fellow crime novelist Peter May, S.R. White has made quite a splash on the contemporary Australian crime fiction scene with Hermit. With echoes of great writers such as Jane Harper and Chris Hammer, readers with a vested interest in crime thrillers with an Australian bushland setting will definitely gravitate towards this new release.
The sense of place soon got to me when I read through the first few lines of Hermit. The reader is literally plonked smack bang in the wilds of the Australian bush. This heartlands region offers up plenty by way of atmosphere. We have an isolated and desolate central locale, which is simply ripe for the picking in terms of a crime scene. S.R. White really pulls out all the stops in this department, heightening the mood and the setting base of Hermit to play out successfully.
We have two significantly damaged leads who help to draw out proceedings in Hermit. Nathan, the central suspect, along with Dana, the lead detective assigned to the core mystery of this novel, bounce off each other very well. I enjoyed the interplay between these two prime characters. Each is fragile and damaged in their own way, but both have truths and secrets to reveal. There is a strong feeling throughout that Dana is trying to pull back and tear herself away from Nathan. Trying to attain an objective point of view in regards to this case proves to be difficult and emotionally fraught for Dana. The inner struggle Dana faces in regards to her own personal trauma, which threatens to come to blows with this case was handled well by the author. Likewise, I appreciated the genuine realism that was expressed between Dana and her team. With over a decade on the front line as a police officer in the UK, S.R. White has utilised this experience to produce an authentic police procedural. I also think that the reader will be receptive to all the interactions that take place in this book, they are reactive and understandable.
Hermit is defined by plenty of tension, which I think can be attributed to the location and the intense interrogation episodes featured in this novel. This one did rise and fall for me pace wise. I was definitely interested in where it would all go, but I wasn’t completely glued to Hermit. I think the book builds to a quite shocking conclusion, where not areas of the book were adequately tidied up. However, S.R. White has opened up the possibly for a continuation of this book into a possible sequel or series. We will see what the future holds!
Hermit by S.R. White is published by Hachette Australia on August 25th 2020. $32.99.
*Thanks is extended to Hachette Australia for providing a free copy of this book for review purposes.