Book Review: When We Fall by Aoife Clifford

About the Book:

In the wild, coastal town of Merritt, Alex Tillerson and her mother make a shocking find on the beach. The police claim it’s an accidental death but there are whispers of murder and that it is not the first.

Bella Greggs was found dead at the bottom of a ravine but drowned in salt water. Maxine McFarlane was pulled from the ocean but with no water in her lungs. Black feathers were found with both bodies but what do they mean?

As Alex fights for answers to honour the dead, and to discover why her mother fled town as a teenager, good people keep looking the other way, memories become unreliable, and secrets threaten to reveal the past.

Alex discovers the truth never dies but it can kill…

Published by Ultimo Press

Released 2nd March 2022

My Thoughts:

With its moody and atmospheric cover, the scene is immediately set within Aoife Clifford’s latest release, When We Fall, and it’s a slow burning, yet entirely addictive read. This was my first taste of her writing, although a fellow blogger and friend had nothing but praise to share with me about her, so my expectations going in were high. I am happy to say, they were definitely met.

I’m not usually a fan of the amateur detective, preferring my crime fiction to be more police procedural, but perhaps it was Alex’s foot in the law that swayed me, I’m not sure, but I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and found Alex’s personal interest and layman investigations entirely credible.

There are plenty of red herrings within this story, doubt cast left, right, and centre. I actually guessed the killer, not my usual talent, I’ll admit. I almost never see it coming, but in this case, something rang a bell for me, and I was pleased to discover that my hunch was right. Although, there is more than one crime within these pages and more than one perpetrator, and I didn’t guess the full story!

I wasn’t overly keen on Denny, Alex’s mother, to be honest. I feel a bit bad admitting that I didn’t like a woman with dementia, hopefully that doesn’t cast too much of a murky light on me! My main issue with Denny was her silence about who Alex’s father was. I feel like this was the one area of the story that wasn’t resolved fully to my liking. But that is honestly the only sticky point for me.

The way in which art and environmental activism underpinned the story appealed to me greatly. I am fond of art and love books that can effectively incorporate that into the story with visual impact. Aoife did an amazing job with weaving art into her narrative. I could picture the paintings and works of art as they were described. I also really appreciated the intent of a character communicating what they know of a crime through a work of art. Visionary!

Fans of Australian crime fiction should add this one to their reading lists, I highly recommend it and will be eagerly awaiting Aoife Clifford’s next novel.


Thanks to the publisher for the review copy.

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