“Mad, Bad and Dead” by Sherryl Clark – Review

A dead employee. A missing child. Anonymous phone calls in the dead of night. Judi Westerholme’s troubles aren’t over…

Already struggling to juggle co-running Candlebark’s pub/bistro along with her new childcare responsibilities, what Judi doesn’t need right now is more stress. Yet, as usual, it arrives in spades: she starts receiving threatening, late night phone calls before discovering one of her best employees, Kate, shot dead in her bed.

Once again, Judi finds herself at the center of a murder investigation, as well as the hunt for the Kate’s fourteen year-old daughter who has been missing since the murder. Add in the uncertainty of her relationship with D.S. Heath and the fact that her estranged mother’s nursing home keeps calling to urge her to visit, and Judi might finally be at breaking point.

Get your copy instore and online (paperback or ebook): Mad, Bad and Dead

My Review

My rating: *****

Judi Westerholme is working hard to get her life back on track and set up a gastro pub with friend Andre in the rural town of Candlebark. She has been receiving some threatening phone calls but is prepared to ignore them as a prank until her waitress, Kate is murdered. Judi is thrust into a new and dangerous mystery as she attempts to locate Kate’s missing daughter and provide safety for her young ward, Mia.

Mad, Bad and Dead is a rollicking ride that keeps you on your toes from start to finish. It is an easy read and a captivating story that is hard to put down. Clark offers a tantalising visual taste of rural life in Australia, with colourful (and accurate) descriptions of both rural Victoria and Melbourne. Her characters are well-rounded, deeply flawed and immensely likeable (well, most of them).

Mad, Bad and Dead is the third book in the Judi Westerholme series. It is a stand-alone story and can be read without the benefit of having read the first two (although once you start, you’ll want to.) It is a great addition to the growing collection of Australian Rural Noir. I am looking forward to going back to read the first two books in the series.

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.

About the Author: Sherryl Clark

Some of my first short stories were crime fiction, and although in the last 20 years I have focused a lot more on writing children’s and YA books, I’ve kept going with my crime writing. The first two novels are now stowed somewhere in the back of my filing cabinet! But “Trust Me, I’m Dead”, first draft written in 2009, was shortlisted for the CWA Debut Dagger and then published by Verve Books in the UK. What a journey with that novel. I love the character, a grumpy woman (secretly modelled on a young Judi Dench), and couldn’t let go of the story. Nine drafts later …
More about my crime writing and books at www.sherrylclarkcrimewriter.com 

I have been writing poems and stories for over twenty-five years, and have two collections of poetry published. Perseverance really does count, I think, for all kinds of writing.

In 1996 I wrote my first children’s book, “The Too-Tight Tutu”, which was published in 1997 by Penguin Australia. I have since written over 60 children’s and YA books, which are published around the world.

My verse novel “Farm Kid” won the 2005 NSW Premier’s Literary Award for Children’s Books. “Sixth Grade Style Queen (Not!)” was a 2008 CBCA Honour Book. My YA novel “Dying to Tell Me”, published in the USA by KaneMiller, has also been published in Australia by me. 

I’m a teacher in creative writing at Victoria University TAFE. My author website is at www.sherrylclark.com. I also work as a freelance editor, manuscript development editor and mentor – information on these at www.sherrylclarkwritingcoach.com.
And yes, I also teach people how to develop their own blogs and websites!


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