Twenty-five year old Bella Michaels is found brutally murdered in the small town of Strathdee. The media from descends on the community wanting to find out who did it. Bella’s older sister, Chris, not only has to deal with the grief of losing her sister in horrific circumstances, but also has to manage the media hounding her while suspecting the townsfolk of murder.
As every little detail about Chris and Bella’s life is uncovered by the media, Chris waits desperately for police to find the killer. However, over time, she begins to suspect everyone around her.
Who in their small town could have assaulted and killed Bella?
When I first read the blurb of An Isolated Incident, I was under the impression I was reading a murder mystery. However, as I read the book, I soon realised the mystery was secondary to the social message. The book shines a light on society as we know it. One where the woman is blamed for being raped and murdered. Where certain professions are looked down upon. Where time and again, the media can make a tragedy worse. Where the deaths of some women take priority over the deaths of others. Where domestic violence and violence against women in general is ignored. Where some blokes are just ‘top blokes’ no matter what.
It is a stark reminder of the Australia we continue to live in even though it’s set in a small town.
By the end of it, to me, it didn’t matter whodunit. Because in a way, the patriarchal nature of society is to blame.
This is the first book I’m reading by the author and I was hooked from the start. While it is a dark theme, it’s the experiences of the characters that speak volumes. Through Chris and the female journalist, we see how double-standards are rife when it comes to women’s actions. We know we live in a society that treats women differently to men and An Isolated Incident highlights exactly that in a raw and brutal manner.
An uncomfortable read but a highly recommended one.
***This has been read and reviewed for the 2017 Australian Author Challenge and the 2017 Australian Women Writers’ Challenge. Also linking up with Alicia for Open Slather and Denyse for Life this week***
Until next time,