I am pleased to be sharing my review of Small Sacrifices with you today as part of the blog tour with Rachel’s Random Resources. Thank you so much to Rachel and the author for my space on the tour and for my gifted copy of the book.
The blurb …
Be careful what you wish for.
She wanted to be famous. But not like this.
Ellen Gibson always dreamed of being a star. At a young age those dreams were shattered.
Discovering she holds the winning ticket in a 55-million Powerball jackpot, Ellen sees it as her opportunity to be in the limelight. But at what cost?
Detective India Hargreaves and her small team are called in to investigate the disappearance of five- year-old Joshua Gibson, but the investigation is taken over by the big guns from Police Headquarters when it turns out to be a kidnapping.
When the media and the lead investigator suspect Ellen of being behind the kidnapping, her fame disintegrates into a nightmare and she seems powerless to stop events spiralling out of control …
My review …
This is the second Australian crime novel, or outback noir, that I’ve read this month and I must say that I’m really warming to this genre and I thoroughly enjoyed this story. This is the third book in a series featuring Detective India Hargreaves but it is definitely a standalone novel.
Set in Windsor in New South Wales we are introduced to unhappily married Ellie and Max Gibson and their five-year-old son Joshie. Money is tight in the Gibson household and Max keeps a tight reign on the household spending much to Ellie’s dismay. They always buy tickets for the Power Ball Draw and when Ellie hears on the news that the $55,000,000 jackpot has yet to be claimed she wonders whether Max put a ticket on that week. When she eventually finds Max’s mislaid ticket, her and Joshie go to their local store to check their numbers and sure enough, against all odds, they are the lucky winners!
Ellie can’t help causing a joyous scene at the busy store which attracts the press to her sensational story. When Ellie was young she was a very talented dancer and it was expected that this would bring her fame, but an injury snatched away her chance to fulfill her dreams and she has been longing for the limelight ever since. This motivates Ellie to lap up the attention caused by her big win and as such, she agrees to several press interviews at her home and glams herself up for photos of her with Joshie. Unfortunately, she never stops to consider the unwanted attention such publicity could attract.
When Max returns from work to a media frenzy outside his home, he wonders what on earth in happening. He is a completely different character to Ellie so when he realises what is happening he can see straightaway how foolish Ellie is in courting so much attention at their home and especially featuring Joshie in the newspapers. Unfortunately, neither of them could possibly imagine the dire sequence of events that Ellie had unwittingly set into motion.
Ellie dismisses Max’s fears and the next day, when he has gone to work, Ellie accepts another press interview. She sends Joshie out into the yard to play so that she can speak to the journalist in peace and this is when Joshie disappears and Detective India Hargreaves steps in to lead the investigation into what turns out to be Joshie’s kidnapping.
As we follow the investigation we see that Ellie’s actions drive a wedge between her and Max and they become more distant as they blame each other for Joshie’s disappearance. While Ellie’s desire for fame causes her to come under suspicion, the media turn against her and it’s interesting to read how the media behave in such situations and the influence they have on public opinion.
There were lots of different intriguing characters here and I admired The Detective as a strong female lead in this story, she is committed to her career and doesn’t let her emotions or personal life interfere with her job. At times I thought that the writing was so clean and to the point that it was missing some emotion. I thought Ellie’s reaction to the disappearance of her son was underplayed and although she was a strange character, it didn’t seem quite right to me, but it absolutely didn’t take away from my enjoyment of the book.
This is a cleverly plotted and well written novel and I thoroughly enjoyed following Detective Hargreaves and her team through the Australian outback, as they tried to piece together exactly what happened to Joshie. The story has a great pace to it and it took me no time to finish as I couldn’t put it down and it comes highly recommended from me.
About the author …
L.E. Luttrell was born in Sydney, Australia and spent the first 21 years of her life there before moving to the UK. After working in publishing for a few years she trained as a teacher and from the 90s spent many years working in secondary education, although she’s had numerous other part time jobs. A frustrated architect, L.E. Luttrell has spent much of her adult life moving house and renovating properties. Although she has written many more ‘books’, Small Sacrifices, is only the third of her books to be published. More will follow.
She currently lives in Liverpool, Merseyside – although if it hadn’t been for Covid 19 she would have been with family in Brisbane, Queensland.
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Thanks for reading