blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: Outback – Michael Davies

The Sequel to Desmond Bagley’s DOMINO ISLAND

Insurance investigator Bill Kemp had never wanted to trek deep into Australia’s remote interior. But when his clients Sophie and Adam Church inherit an abandoned opal mine, triggering some explosive long-lost secrets, they – and Kemp – find themselves facing an unknown enemy even more deadly than the vast, forbidding wilderness of the Outback…

The Desmond Bagley centenary novel honours the legacy of the bestselling thriller writer with a new adventure featuring Bill Kemp, described by Jeffrey Deaver as ‘part James Bond, part Philip Marlowe, and all hero’. Writer Michael Davies, who completed the first Kemp novel Domino Island for publication nearly 40 years after the author’s death, now weaves an original tale of danger and death under the blistering Australian sun.

Michael Davies began his career as a newspaper journalist and editor and a professional theatre critic. Since moving into fiction, his writing has appeared on stage, screen, radio, the printed page and online. His debut play won a national competition, and subsequent work includes Tess – The Musical, an adaptation of Thomas Hardy’s classic novel Tess of the d’Urbervilles. He is a lifelong Desmond Bagley fan, and in 2019 reworked one of Bagley’s abandoned drafts into the highly acclaimed novel Domino Island.

Desmond Bagley was a multi-million-copy selling author of 16 adventure thrillers. Moving to South Africa after WW2, his transition from unskilled printer’s apprentice, aircraft engineer, mine worker, photographer and author.

My thoughts: this was really good, I thoroughly enjoyed it. Bill Kemp was a fantastic protagonist, brave, a little foolhardy, clever and persistent. Even when the odds seem stacked against him – the Australian landscape, the weather, a plane with a gunman in it, slashed tyres, he never lets up trying to get to the bottom of this knotty inheritance.

Helping out an old friend by looking into the life of an old man who lived in the middle of nowhere, nearest town Coober Pedy (the note on how the name is the mispronunciation of the Aboriginal name did make me chuckle – typical white people) who never went anywhere and whose opal mine was worthless, but apparently worth killing over.

His niece Sophie (lovely) and her new husband (very annoying) have come over from the UK to see her inheritance. But as things start to happen, from threatening notes to an awful hit and run, Sophie doesn’t turn tail, she digs in. The results are explosive. Turns out someone really doesn’t want her to inherit.

The writing hooked me straight in, from the Sydney harbour to the unforgiving Outback itself, the geography of Australia is mind-boggling. The place is huge. But why is someone so obsessed with a chunk of desert? There was a lot of action, and several suspicious people around but the final twist – did not see that. You won’t either.

I know this was to carry on the legacy of Bill Kemp’s original creator, Desmond Bagley, but I think Michael Davies has a great character here who could go places and I hope there’s more to come.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

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