I think often about what it means to stand in a spot in one place and to take it all in. To live in a place long enough to be someone who understands how life works its way through that spot’s particular urban or rural landscape.
And how it feels like saying hello to an old friend when you pick up a book to find yourself in a place that is both that place you know and also perhaps for the sake of the work, not quite that place either.
But that’s just the start of what surprises you about the Tara Sharp series by Marianne Delacourt, pseudonym of Marianne de Pierres. It’s set in Perth and some places you can nod your head and go “Ah yes, I know that street, that neighbourhood, I know what you mean when you talk about classes and cliques dictated by history and geography.” and then others you realise, you know are shorthand. Shorthand for places perhaps not present in Perth in the same way but if they were that’s what their names would be, that’s what they would like.
On top of that is this zany character Tara Sharp who finds herself solving mysteries and crimes and, since Marianne has one foot permanently planted in all things sci-fi, she does so with the aid of reading body language but also this innate talent of seeing auras.
Perth. Former basketball player. Auras. Crime. They seem disparate but they come together. And you do find yourself relating to Tara, she does not play it safe and she knows this about herself but nevertheless bounding off into danger she goes without anything to protect her. Into the criminal underworld of drugs and… given that it is Perth, mining.
The best thing about this book I find is the unashamed honesty. From the writing style to the characterisation – the book tells it like it is. And the reason you want to continue reading is because well, damn it, you want to know what happens. You want to know who is following her, who is kidnapping her pet birds, and why she has to chase burglars over her neighbour’s fences sans pants in the first place.
It’s madcap mayhem, mystery and my word, Nick Tozzi hello there you dark horse you. There are two more after Sharp Shooter and Tara Sharp 4 is apparently on its way to release. And once you are done with Tara there is Parrish, in futuristic Australia, to devour as well.
Author: Marianne de Pierres also writing as Marianne Delacourt
Title: Sharp Shooter
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Publication Date: 2009
Genre: Crime fiction