Remote Tasmania is such a great location for creepy crime novels. Debut novel The Bluffs by Kyle Perry is Picnic at Hanging Rock meets Some Girls Are.
Four teenage girls go missing from a school camp in Tasmania’s Great Western Tiers. The residents of Limestone Creek start searching for the missing and are soon joined by a hoard of well-meaning volunteers rustled up by social media influencer and mean girl Maddison.
Up in the hills, he hides and kills.
Down in the caves, he hides and waits.
The Hungry Man, who likes little girls,
with their pretty faces and pretty curls.
Don’t believe what the grown-ups say,
the Hungry Man will find a way.
So I won’t walk alone by the mountain trees,
or the Hungry Man will come for me.
The mystery deepens when one of the missing girls is found mauled at the base of a cliff, her shoes neatly tied and placed at the spot from which she fell. As the story unfolds, the suspects pile up – the local drug dealer and father of one of the missing girls, the mythical bear like creature – the Hungry Man, and one of the school teachers are all suspects.
Detective Badenhorst, still stuggling with PTSD from another case has to negotiate a labyrinth of community suspicions, police corruption, folklore, and teenage politics to try and find the missing girls.
The story is told predominately from three points of view which aids to maintain the uncertainty, misdirection and foreshadowing that holds through the novel. There’s a lot of action and tension in The Bluffs, a twisty, atmospheric page turner with flawed three dimensional characters, all with something to hide.