Cold cases, murder, lies, and an unimaginable truth.
Sydney detective August Shaw has spent the last decade of work solving cold cases. Since the death of his boyfriend eight years ago, August works alone, lives alone, is alone — and that’s exactly how he likes it. His work is his entire life, and he’s convinced a string of unsolved cold-case suicides are linked to what could be Australia’s worst ever serial killer. Problem is, no one believes him.
Senior Constable Jacob Porter loves his life in the small town of Tallowwood in the middle of the rainforests in northern New South Wales. He runs summer camps for the local Indigenous kids, plays rugby with his mates, has a close family, and he’s the local LGBTQIA+ Liaison and the Indigenous Liaison Officer.
When human remains are found in the camping grounds at Tallowwood Reserve, Jake’s new case turns out to be linked to August’s cold cases, and Jake agrees they’re not suicides at all. With Jacob now firmly in August’s corner, they face one hurdle after another, even when more remains are found, they still can’t seem to gain ground.
But when the body of a fellow police officer turns up under the same MO, it can’t be ignored anymore. August and Jake must trace the untraceable before the killer takes his next victim or before he stops one of them, permanently.
I truly enjoyed Tallowwood. I love suspense and I love NR Walker's story telling and Tallowwood was damn near perfect. And while there are a couple things that would have increased my enjoyment of this story, it was so well done and I'm definitely recomending it.
August Shaw is a detective in Sydney who works cold cases. He has very personal motivation to do his job and he hates that so many people haven't gotten justice. He's a loner on the force, keeping to himself and working his cases alone, and he's good with that. His desire to be around people died with his boyfriend, Christopher, 8 years before. That Christopher is one of at least 8 murders that were set up to look like suicides isolates him even more, because no one will believe him.
Jacob Porter is a small town cop in Tallowwood, who has looked up to August for years. Being a gay cop in a small town is never easy, but Jake loves it and loves his work, and being Tallowwood's LGBTQIA+ Liason Officer as well as it's Aboriginal Liason Officer are things he is quite proud of. He loves playing footy and working with kids and being around his family and friends. Jake is very grounded and was such a calming influence in Tallowwood I could not help but be soothed by his presence almost as much as August was.
I enjoyed the mystery and the process of solving it and even though I had trouble reconciling the fact that even with the exact same MO, August's fellow officers wouldn't see the deaths as murders, I was able to suspend my disbelief there. Of course, since the victims were all gay men, maybe it shouldn't surprise me since law enforcement doesn't exactly have a good track record there.
From the start, I saw August and Jake's chemistry. I loved just how focused and confident Jake was, without ever coming off as arrogant. August hasn't had anyone on his side for so long, he doesn't know how to cope at first, but he and Jake make an amazing team, both on the job and off. I loved how the mystery unfolded and how I was right about some things, while wrong about others. And I love it when I'm inspired to Google things I'm reading about, and that happened here, too!
As is typical of this author, there isn't much steam, but I loved the romance and chemistry and the HEA was perfect.
ARC of Tallowwood was generously provided by the author, in exchange for an honest review.
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