#aww2021 · 2021 Reviews · Better Reading Preview · contemporary fiction · crime · mystery · new release · suspense · thriller

Better Reading Preview: Cutters End by Margaret Hickey

Title: Cutters End

Author: Margaret Hickey

Published: August 17th 2021

Publisher: Penguin Books Australia

Pages: 384

Genres: Fiction, Contemporary, Crime, Mystery, Suspense

RRP: $32.99

Rating: 4 stars

A scintillating crime thriller, set in the South Australian outback town of Cutters End. A mysterious death on New Year’s Eve 1989 leads to a shocking murder investigation 32 years later . . .

‘Past and the present collide to create a gripping tale of murder and intrigue.’ Chris Hammer

A desert highway. A remote town. A murder that won’t stay hidden.

New Year’s Eve, 1989. Eighteen-year-old Ingrid Mathers is hitchhiking her way to Alice Springs. Bored, hungover and separated from her friend Joanne, she accepts a lift to the remote town of Cutters End.

July 2021. Detective Sergeant Mark Ariti is seconded to a recently reopened case, one in which he has a personal connection. Three decades ago, a burnt and broken body was discovered in scrub off the Stuart Highway, 300km south of Cutters End. Though ultimately ruled an accidental death, many people – including a high-profile celebrity – are convinced it was murder.

When Mark’s interviews with the witnesses in the old case files go nowhere, he has no choice but to make the long journey up the highway to Cutters End.

And with the help of local Senior Constable Jagdeep Kaur, he soon learns that this death isn’t the only unsolved case that hangs over the town…


Award-winning author and playwright Margaret Hickey has a keen interest in rural life and outback communities, which follows her experiences growing up in country Victoria. Cutters End is the culmination of these past experiences and what emerges from Hickey’s recollections is a vibrant Australian crime fiction tale. From the opening hooking prologue to the final page, Cutters End takes the reader on a tumultuous double timeline mystery extravaganza. With twists, turns, deviations, curves and plot spirals, Cutters End is a hardboiled outback crime novel. I enjoyed the process of untangling the many tricky layers crime tale and speculating as to how this puzzling tale would conclude. Cutters End is an assured set piece that is peppered with intriguing characters, interesting dialogue feeds, fast pacing, a plausible narrative direction, credible police work and a robust Australian rural setting. Margaret Hickey has penned a solid crime offering with Cutters End, signalling her easy entry into the burgeoning rural crime fiction genre!

Cutters End by Margaret Hickey is published on 17th August 2021 by Penguin Books Australia. Details on how to purchase the book can be found here.

To learn more about the author of Cutters End, Margaret Hickeyhere.

*Thanks is extended to Better Reading/Penguin Books Australia for providing a free copy of this book for review purposes.

Cutters End is book #78 of the 2021 Australian Women Writers Challenge

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