A suited man runs from a burning tower in Melbourne as bodies rain down upon him.
Before the city’s millions can compose, he boards a train into the countryside. Hiding his identity and changing his appearance, the man finds his way to Sulley Ridge, a lawless town in the heart of the harsh Victorian outback.
The following day, a burned man wakes up in a hospital bed. Surging with rage, he speaks a name. Within an hour, the suited man’s face is across every screen in the country. It’s the greatest manhunt Australia has ever seen.
But as he tries to camouflage in Sulley Ridge, he soon realises the town has its own problems. Under the iron fist of a violent leader, the locals are trapped within slow and torturous decay…
As we learn more about the night of the burning tower, the connection between the suited man and the burned man threatens to leave a trail of destruction across the state.
Here is the story of a man on the run from his past, as the line between sanity and evil is danced upon.
Here is the tale of This Strange Hell.
What I Thought:
There is a lot of great fiction coming out of Australia at the moment – fantastic, gripping thrillers that keep you guessing, and This Strange Hell is no exception.
The intrigue builds quickly as we switch between the suited man and the burned man, whose relationship we don’t yet know and follow the suited man into hiding in a rural town. Things in Sulley Ridge, however, are not as they first appear – local drug lord Siphon runs things in Sulley Ridge, and there are no police in town for a reason.
All of the scenes in Sulley Ridge have a touch of the Wild West about them, as the author expands on Siphon’s presence and history in the town and with the inhabitants, and one resident who has recognised the suited man as Brady Lockhart – suspect number one for the Melbourne fire – realises that this might be their one chance to get rid of Siphon for good.
There’s no question that this book is violent – sometimes extremely so – but it is never gratuitous and all helps to build a picture of the desperate residents of Sulley Ridge, and a man who is seemingly above the law. Some upsetting scenes very firmly root the reader on the side of the residents and the suited man, even with the knowledge that he is connected with a fire that has killed hundreds.
Although there are some beautiful descriptions of rural Australia, they manage to conjure an image without being overly wordy. The book itself is compact which helps to keep it fast-paced and full of action – even when some characters are shown a reflective mood, the action is never far away.
Thoroughly recommended for action fans, I’ve grabbed C. J. Sutton’s first book – Dortmund Hibernate – too, as (at time of writing) it’s only 99p in ebook.
This Strange Hell is independently published.
This post is part of a blog tour to celebrate the release of This Strange Hell. for more reviews and exclusive content, you can check out some of the great blogs below…
Please note: I was sent a copy of this book for review. All opinions are, as ever, my own.