From the Archive Review: Vodka Doesn't Freeze by Leah Giarratano

Friday 10 July 2015
Title: Vodka Doesn't Freeze
Author: Leah Giarratano
Publisher: Random House Australia
Reviewed on Goodreads: 12th August 2013
Publication Date: 1st May 2010
Pages: 322
Source: Purchased
Rating: 5/5
Purchase: Amazon
When a middle-aged man is brutally murdered in the dunes overlooking a children's pool, it's immediately clear to Sergeant Jill Jackson that this was no ordinary victim: someone has stopped a dangerous paedophile in his tracks. Knowing first-hand the impact of such men on their prey, Jill is ambivalent about pursuing the killer, but when more men die - all known to police as child sex offenders - she is forced to face the fact that a serial killer is on the loose.

As the investigation deepens, Jill unearths a long-established Sydney paedophile ring - a club of wealthy men who have thought until now that that they are untouchable. Despite the deaths of some of its members, the club is still operating and until Jill can shut it down, children are still in grave danger. As she faces predators and their victims, a psychotherapist losing her mind, and her own nightmares come to life, Jill is forced to decide whether or not she really wants to catch this killer.

Today's From the Archive review is for Leah Giarratano's Vodka Doesn't Freeze which for crime fans taking part in #NewAuthorForMe is a series I highly recommend. It is quite expensive on Kindle, but I picked up a secondhand copy from the Amazon marketplace a couple of years ago. 

A while ago I searched for crime fiction set in Australia and found this series by Leah Giarratano. After finishing Vodka Doesn't Freeze I am kicking myself for not reading this series sooner. The subject matter made this a pretty disturbing read at times but other than that I enjoyed it immensely and cannot recommend it highly enough.

I read a lot of crime fiction, though this book was more psychological thriller I felt and I was happy about the fact it was the first in a series because I love series crime fiction. Series allow you to not only read a mystery story but also get to know the main character rather than each book having a generic detective who tries to solve a crime. Jill Jackson is the main character here and she was fantastic, well drawn and with enough about her to intrigue most readers and leave them wanting more when we leave Jill at the end of the story.

Jill has demons of her own and knows all too well about the affect paedophiles have on their victims. So when called to the scene of a murder of a paedophile Jill has to question whether the killer should actually be found, after all the killer is only ridding the world of probably the worst kind of human beings. But at the same time her job is to prevent crime and so along with her partner Scotty they try to work out who the killer can be when more bodies turn up and various connections begin to appear.

The focus of the book was just as much on Jill as it was on the rest of the story. We learn about her childhood, how she was a victim of abuse herself and how all of those things have made her the woman, and police officer that she is today. There were some comedic elements to the book with the police politics and the troubles she has with some of her idiotic colleagues. Some readers may find parts of the book tough going but it all felt very true to life and it was clear throughout the whole book that the author was a professional in the field she was writing about and not just another crime author trying to shock or sell a book.

Overall I really enjoyed this and only wish I had read it sooner. I have a to read list that will never be completed but the rest of the Jill Jackson series will now be placed somewhere near the top with the hope of reading them soon.

I have also reviewed the second book in the Jill Jackson series, Voodoo Doll on the blog here

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