Australian novelist Tom Gilling may not be that well known outside of his native Australia, but if his latest book is any indication he surely should be. The surprisingly funny mystery/thriller “Seven Mile Beach” is far more interesting than any of the last few John Grisham and Dean Patterson tomes lining the book shelves.
In “Seven Mile Beach,” Gilling introduces Nick Carmody, a lowly tabloid reporter who decides to take on someone else’s identity after he is talked into lying about being behind the wheel of a distant friend’s car on New Year’s Eve. After taking a payoff from the friend’s rich father, Nick is hounded by cops and his own newspaper. Finding an apparently abandoned van, he ditches his car and his former life and takes on the identity of the van’s owner.
Coming in at just over 200 pages, Gilling uses the most of his time and space, filling the pages with original intrigue from the very beginning. His knack from writing compelling characters and use of dark humor in even the most suspenseful turns will remind readers of the greats like Stewart O’Nan. The book ends as quickly as it begins and is satisfying throughout. Here’s hoping the rest of the book buying public realizes there is more to life than Dan Brown’s next Bible mystery.