Category Archives: Catherine Jinks

Review: The Attack by Catherine Jinks

Title: The Attack by Catherine Jinks
Publisher: Text Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery, Suspense
Length: 336 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


Robyn Ayres works as the camp caretaker on Finch Island, a former leper colony off the coast of Queensland. Her current clients are a group of ex-military men who run a tough-love program for troubled teens.

The latest crop looks like the usual mix of bad boys and sad boys. Then Robyn takes a second look at a kid called Darren. Last time she saw him his name was Aaron, and Robyn was his primary school teacher. And she was somehow at the centre of a vicious small-town custody battle involving his terrifying grandmother.

Bruising classroom dynamics, manipulative parents and carers and horrendous small-town politics form the backdrop to a nail-biting thriller in which the tensions of ten years ago start to play themselves out, building to a violent climax in the present day.

Robyn escaped the past once. Now it’s back—and this time there’s no way out.


The Attack by Catherine Jinks is a suspenseful, engrossing mystery.

In 2009, Robyn Ayers is an experienced teacher starting over in new town after a heartbreaking betrayal. She is a kindergarten teacher whose school year starts off with a bang.  A couple of her students are a bit of handful but six-year-old Aaron Rooney is troubled with a difficult home-life. Robyn does her best to adhere to school policies and maintain a professional distance but that soon becomes impossible. Aaron is destructive and wildly out of control which she believes is the result of possible abusive. Aaron’s grandmother, Joyce, is caustic, disruptive and prone to making unfounded accusations. Aaron’s mum, Krystal McCall obviously loves her son, but Robyn has trouble keeping her on topic during school meetings. The situation reaches a shocking crescendo that leaves Robyn picking up the tattered pieces of her life once again.

In 2019, Robyn is lives alone on isolated Finch Island where she takes care of the historic site that was at one time a leper colony. She spends most of her days in solitude ensuring the visitors abide by the rules. The island is also used by a group of former military men who run a boot camp for troubled and at-risk boys. This latest group’s behavior is quite challenging right from the very start. Adding to Robyn’s uneasiness is her certainty that teenager Darren King is, in fact, Aaron Rooney. When it appears someone is targeting her, Robyn at first believes Darren/Aaron is responsible. But the quiet teenager’s behavior is quite different than when he was younger and he is asking worrying questions about Krystal. Robyn does not want to probe too deeply and she has enough to worry about with the other antics that are occurring. With the boys’ “graduation” fast approaching, will Robyn finally learn the truth about what happened to Aaron ten years earlier?

The Attack is a tense mystery that seamlessly moves back and forth in time. In 2009, Robyn is a bit idealistic and ill-prepared for teaching in a small town. She quickly discovers the worst part of small-town life occurs when power falls into malevolent hands. Robyn is out of her depth right from the start and when the situation spirals out of control, she learns the hard way the town protects its own. In the 2019, Robyn is suspicious, gruff and outspoken as the boot camp gets off to a rough start. Both iterations of Robyn are likable since it is easy to understand how life has shaped her and her reactions. The well-developed storyline steadily moves toward past and present colliding as Robyn finds herself in increasing danger. With stunning plot twists, Catherine Jinks brings this brilliant novel to a breathless, edge of the seat conclusion.

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Filed under Catherine Jinks, Contemporary, Mystery, Rated B+, Review, Suspense, Text Publishing, The Attack

Review: Shelter by Catherine Jinks

Title: Shelter by Catherine Jinks
Publisher: Text Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery, Suspense
Length: 327 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


Meg lives alone: a little place in the bush outside town. A perfect place to hide. That’s one of the reasons she offers to shelter Nerine, who’s escaping a violent ex. The other is that Meg knows what it’s like to live with an abusive partner.

Nerine is jumpy and her two little girls are frightened. It tells Meg all she needs to know where they’ve come from, and she’s not all that surprised when Nerine asks her to get hold of a gun. But she knows it’s unnecessary. They’re safe now.

Then she starts to wonder about some little things. A disturbed flyscreen. A tune playing on her windchimes. Has Nerine’s ex tracked them down? Has Meg’s husband turned up to torment her some more?

By the time she finds out, it’ll be too late to do anything but run for her life.


Shelter by Catherine Jinks is a poignant mystery set in the Australian bush.

After her divorce from her abusive husband, Keith, Meg Lowry starts over with the couple’s only daughter, Emily. But when Emily moves away, Meg purchases land and a house outside the small town of Bulwell. She does not have much but she is content working a couple of days a week in town. Given her own struggle to escape her marriage, Meg is quick to say yes when a friend asks her to allow Nerine and her two daughters to stay with her for a short time.  Meg soon has serious reservations about Nerine who is jittery and frightened her violent husband Duncan will find her and their daughters, Analiese and Colette.  Exhausted and worried, will Meg give in to Nerine’s pressure to borrow a gun to protect them?

Meg has serious regrets about not leaving Keith sooner so she does not hesitate to help Nerine. She knows the detrimental effects abuse has on children, so she does not allow her own concerns to change her mind about assisting Nerine and the girls. While Nerine is difficult to calm down, Meg adores Ana and Colette.

Nerine does not like the isolation and wide open spaces which make up Meg’s property.  She has wild mood swings and she refuses to believe Meg’s reassurances they are safe. As strange things begin to occur around her house,  Meg cannot decide whether her Keith is to blame or if Duncan has found them.  Nerine is fixated on obtaining a gun and Meg’s resistance begins to wane. Will borrowing a gun calm her temporary houseguests fears?

Shelter is a dark and gritty mystery that has a unique plot and an atmospheric setting.  Meg is a sympathetic character who is flawed yet likable. Nerine is irritating but her children are absolutely adorable. Meg’s property and the surrounding area spring vibrantly to life. With stunning plot twists, Catherine Jinks brings this riveting mystery to bittersweet conclusion. I thoroughly enjoyed and highly recommend this brilliant mystery to fans of the genre.

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Filed under Catherine Jinks, Contemporary, Mystery, Rated B+, Review, Shelter, Suspense, Text Publishing