2022 Reviews · contemporary fiction · new release · suspense

New Release Book Review: Deception Creek by Fleur McDonald

Title: Deception Creek

Author:  Fleur McDonald

Published: November 2nd 2021

Publisher: Allen & Unwin

Pages: 376

Genres: Fiction, Contemporary, Rural, Suspense

RRP: $29.99

Rating: 4 stars

A returned criminal, a cult-like family and cybercrime all clash against the backdrop of the Flinders Ranges in this thrilling new rural suspense novel from the best-selling Voice of the Outback.

‘If you’re looking for a gripping rural crime thriller, look no further. Deception Creek is an excellent addition to the Dave Burrows series and the perfect gift for the upcoming Christmas season.’ Better Reading

Emma Cameron, a recently divorced farmer and a local in Barker, runs Deception Creek, the farm that three generations of her family have owned before her. Every day Emma pushes herself hard on the land, hoping to make ten-year-old memories of a terrible car accident disappear. And now there are more recent nightmares of an ex-husband who refuses to understand how much the farm means to Emma.

When Joel Hammond is released from jail and heads home to Barker, Detective Dave Burrows and Senior Constable Jack Higgins are on high alert. Joel has a long and sorry history with many of the townsfolk and they are not keen to see him home to stay.

Not all of the Barker locals want to see Joel run out of town, though. Some even harbour doubts about Joel’s conviction. The town finds itself split down the middle, families pitted against each other with devastating outcomes.


Deception Creek is the eighteenth novel from bestselling outback fiction author Fleur McDonald. The undisputed ‘Voice of the Outback’ brings us a new story that highlights issues of trauma, justice, truth, conviction, the past, responsibility and divided opinions. Mysterious, hard hitting, conflicting and compelling, Deception Creek is another fantastic rural composition from Fleur McDonald.

Deception Creek follows a local divorced woman who runs her family’s farm. Emma Cameron’s farm has been in the family for a number of generations and she is intent on keeping it close. But a threat from her ex-husband and the haunting memories of a horrific car accident over a decade ago puts Emma on the edge. When a local man named Joel Hammond comes back to the area after a stint in jail, local officers Detective Dave Burrows and Senior Constable Jack Higgins are hot on Joel’s tail. Joel has a suspect past and the local community are very suspicious of this ex-con. But opinions are split in the community around Joel’s crime. While some believe Joel was guilty, others in the town are not so sure. With the local community at loggerheads, will this outback township unite or splinter?

Esperance based author and mother Fleur McDonald has written almost twenty outback stories over her successful career. I’ve been a fan of one of our country’s leading specialists in rural fiction for many years now. Deception Creek was a book that I have been looking forward to reading for some time. Yet again I was afforded a great reading experience thanks to Fleur McDonald’s latest rural delicacy, Deception Creek.

Deception Creek is another detective Dave Burrows and Senior Constable Jack Higgins tale. There was a sense of comfort that washed over me and a keen sense of familiarly that followed the moment I stepped into the pages of this novel. Deception Creek takes these two very likeable characters and extends their personalities, as well as life situations further. I appreciated how McDonald elongated the respective lives of these characters and issued both men with new tensions to deal with. These conflicts helped to drive the story in a forward motion. Adding in new players and mounting problems for the local town to deal with rounds off this engaging rural suspense narrative. I really felt like a part of this community fold for the duration of Deception Creek. McDonald renders her outback floor extremely well thanks to the powerful settings descriptions present in this latest rural melody from the bestselling author.

With a collective storyline focus on police investigations, traumatic incidents, past mistakes, relationships and atonement in an outback setting, combined with agricultural issues affecting the industry carefully inserted within this novel, Deception Creek is an involving tale. There is a high emphasis on the past, tragedy, justice, right versus wrong, innuendo and the pitfalls of living in a rural dimension. With such a good serving of mystery, conjecture and lively town politics, Deception Creek is a thought provoking read. McDonald is the master in terms of setting and she again conjures up an authentic rural atmosphere in her eighteenth release.  The cast in Deception Creek have plenty to offer, thanks to Fleur McDonald’s special page-based treatment. It was a great feeling to return to Dave, Jack and company via Deception Creek. This is another illustrious outback thriller from hallowed Australian author, Fleur McDonald.

Deception Creek by Fleur McDonald was published on 2nd November 2021 by Allen & Unwin. Details on how to purchase the book can be found here.

To learn more about the author of Deception Creek, Fleur McDonald, visit here.

*Thanks extended to Allen & Unwin for providing a free copy of this book for review purposes.

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