About the Book:
Written with Fleur’s trademark warmth and outstanding storytelling, newly badged Detective Dave Burrows and his reluctant wife arrive in the West Australian goldfields town of Barrabine where gold stealing is rife and the prospectors live by their own tough rules.
‘To Dave, the posting to Barrabine was exactly what he’d wanted – it was a town on the edge, the wild west. There would be excitement, mystery and intrigue here. Everything a detective looked for.’
Detective Dave Burrows’ first posting to the far west goldfields town of Barrabine in 1997 holds everything he’s looking for, but Melinda, his wife of two weeks, is devastated at leaving behind her family, friends and career. More comfortable in heels than RM Williams, Melinda walked away from her much-loved job in the city as a paediatric nurse to follow Dave into the bush.
Dave settles in easily to the plain-speaking toughness of his new town, determined to do well, knowing that Barrabine could be his stepping stone into the elite stock squad. But will his marriage last the distance? As Dave investigates reports of mysterious late-night trespassing, a missing person, and guns being drawn on strangers, a local prospector phones in with horrific news that could hold the key to everything.
Fleur McDonald’s bestselling rural storytelling takes her popular detective, Dave Burrows, back to his compelling and exciting beginnings.
Fool’s Gold heralds the beginning of a series revolving around an old favourite for fans of Fleur McDonald: Detective Dave Burrows. We meet Dave as he begins his first posting as a Detective, way back in 1997, in a far flung Western mining town called Barrabine. Married only for two weeks, Dave and his wife Melinda must navigate their new marriage in a new town with new jobs and new friends. Dave jumps right in, eager to be there and keen to earn his stripes, but Melinda struggles, ill at ease with her surroundings, mourning the loss of her job and no longer being close to her family. Within days of beginning his new job, Dave scores a murder case, pulling him further into his new life and leaving Melinda to her own devices. Fortunately, a wake up call is on the horizon for Melinda, and she soon has a focus of her own that in no small way solidifies the pair back onto the same united path.
Fool’s Gold has all the ingredients necessary for a cracking good book. I’ve always been keen on police procedural stories. In combining this focus with a rural setting, Fleur has established a firm grounding for a series that promises much and delivers even more. Detective Dave Burrows is an interesting character. Some past baggage, but not too angsty, I was pleased that he begins this journey married. The lone detective who just can’t commit because of the job is all too common and a tad overdone. Melinda, likewise, appealed to me greatly. I’ve been in a similar position to her when I moved out west so my husband could take a job. Leaving your own job, your friends, your regular outings and swapping it all for a dusty mining town in the middle of no where is a tough gig. Like Melinda, things didn’t fall into place for me until I had a job I enjoyed. My ability to relate to Melinda and the setting on such a personal level no doubt greatly enhanced my enjoyment of this novel.
Fool’s Gold also contains a short story at the end which tells of Dave’s expulsion from his family farm. This was a nice little addition and provided some valuable context on Dave’s farm to police force sea change. Fleur has tapped into some serious issues in Fool’s Gold as well as harnessed many themes common to living in remote communities, both good and bad. There’s a natural flow to the narrative that speaks of life experience, insider knowledge, and solid research. I think both Dave and Melinda offer much in terms of solidity as characters at the core of a new series. As much as I liked Dave’s police work, Melinda’s work as a community health nurse was equally as engaging.
I highly recommend Fool’s Gold to readers who are new to Fleur McDonald – established fans would no doubt have already read it or at least have it on their list! It’s the sort of novel that suits readers of all tastes, making it an ideal gift choice.
Thanks is extended to Allen and Unwin for providing me with a copy of Fool’s Gold for review.
Behind the Pen with Fleur McDonald:
I was lucky enough to have Fleur drop by for a Behind the Pen chat, so I took the opportunity to find out about a few of her favourites…
Over to you Fleur! What is your favourite…and why…
Character from one of your books?
Detective Dave Burrows and his wife Melinda are my favourite characters to write; they’re fun and down to earth, and they have the fabulous relationship with each other. I’ve always loved reading mystery and crime novels, so it seemed obvious to me I should have a detective in the books I write. When I created Dave, I certainly didn’t expect how much my readers would love him too!
Scene from one of your books?
Oh now that’s a tricky one! I think I love all the scenes which involve farming. I’m a details girl and every time I write something to do with the land, I can see it playing out in my mind like a mini-movie. It’s the small details which makes my writing authentic and having lived and farmed on the land for twenty years, I know it like the back of my hand. Writing about it reminds me how wonderful that kind of life is.
Movie of all time?
Pretty Woman… I’m still waiting for my very own Richard Gere!
Book that you always keep a copy of and recommend to others?
The Poet by Michael Connelly. I’ve loved Michael’s writing since 2004. I was heading to hospital for surgery and knew I’d want something to read, so I headed into a bookshop and found the biggest book I could – a three-in-one collection of his novels. I inhaled the whole book but re-read the Poet about four times. That’s the perfect setup of keeping the reader in suspense until the very final pages!
Fashion accessory that despite having plenty of, you still keep collecting?
Earrings. When you’re working on a farm, it’s really unsafe to wear much jewelry, so it wasn’t something I wore at all. Of course, then, when I’d put on a bracelet or ring, it would feel foreign and uncomfortable, so I never bothered. But earrings – I wear most of the time. In fact, if you see me without earrings, you’ll know I’m not feeling well!
Drink that you enjoy everyday?
I could say wine, but I’m doing my best to give that up! So, let’s stick with coffee. There’s nothing more lovely than a morning cup of steaming hot coffee, while I sit on my verandah and plan my day. I’ve usually got three dogs sitting at my feet when I do that, so really, what more could you ask for?
Treat you indulge in?
I’m not a sweet tooth at all; my vice is chips – hot or packet. Doesn’t bother me. But again, I’m trying to give these up…
Place to be?
My favourite place in the entire world is sitting on the bank of the creek at my mum and dad’s station in the Flinders Ranges. I love lots of places; Denmark and Margaret River in WA, Tamworth, anywhere in the Snowy Mountains, but the creek is the best. It seems to pack some kind of healing and peaceful qualities about it, so by the time I leave, I feel refreshed and ready to face the world.
Person you admire?
Far too many to mention! Catherine Marriott is one of my besties and I’m always in awe of what she’s achieving and the difference she’s making in the agricultural world.
Season of the year?
Winter; hot chocolates, beef stews, fresh bread and red wine. Do I need to say more?
More About Fleur:
Fleur McDonald is one of Australia’s leading rural literature authors, with her books becoming best sellers almost as quickly as they hit the shelves. She has solidified her position as one of the country’s favourite storytellers.
Fleur draws inspiration from having lived and worked for much of her life on a farm – including early life on her parent’s property in regional SA, and more recently on her 8000acre property in regional WA.
Fleur likes to write about strong women overcoming adversity, drawing inspiration from her own experiences in rural Australia. She is the best-selling author of Red Dust, Blue Skies, Purple Roads, Silver Clouds and Crimson Dawn, Emerald Springs, Indigo Storm, Sapphire Falls, The Missing Pieces of Us and Suddenly One Summer, as well as the eBook exclusive If You Were Here. Fool’s Gold begins the story of the popular Detective Dave Burrows.
She lives in Esperance, WA with her two children, Rochelle and Hayden, a Jack Russell terrier, Rocket.
FOOL’S GOLD by Fleur McDonald is published by Allen & Unwin, RRP $29.99, out now!