The Second Stella Hardy Novel
Too Easy Synopsis :
Wisecracking social worker Stella Hardy returns, and this time she’s battling outlaw bikie gangs, corrupt cops, and a powerful hunger for pani puri.
On a stormy Halloween night, Stella gets a call from her best friend, Detective Phuong Nguyen. Phuong has a problem. Or rather her lover, Bruce Copeland, does.
Copeland has been implicated in a police-corruption scandal, and the only person who can help prove his innocence has disappeared. The missing man is Isaac Mortimer, a drug dealer associated with the notorious motorcycle gang The Corpse Flowers. Reluctantly, Stella offers to help track him down — and it isn’t long before she is way in over her head: evading bikies, drinking tea with drug dealers, and, worst of all, hanging out in the Macca’s carpark with a bunch of smart-alec teenagers.
Then, when Stella discovers that local street kids are being groomed for some sinister purpose — and that a psychopath with bust face tattooed across his knuckles is pursuing her — she realises she has her work cut out for her.
Sounds easy? Too easy.
(Scribe Publications, 2017)
I was thoroughly entertained by J M Green’s 2015 debut novel Good Money (Stella Hardy Novel #1), and now the inimitable Stella Hardy is back… bigger, better and funnier than ever in Too Easy.
Stella Hardy is a wonderfully ‘modern Australian’ diamond in the rough. She forgives herself for the occasional error in judgement, lets her curiosity guide her and is quick to back herself in a fight (quite literally). She exudes guile, resilience and grit, in a similar vein to Shane Maloney’s ‘Murray Whelan’ and Peter Temple’s ‘Jack Irish’. But in my opinion, no one has summed up Stella Hardy quite so perfectly as author/actor William McInnes:
Stella Hardy is wonderful — all over the place, like a broken compass, and yet she always manages to head in the right direction. Funny, complex, and very human, in Stella, J.M. Green has created a character readers simply love.’
In Too Easy Green pits her leading lady against some nasty characters involved in a complex web of crime and corruption, at a time when she’s already got her plate full mending fractures and fending off trespassers in her personal relationships.
When Stella smells a rat, she’s like a terrier snapping at the big boys heels, from drug lords to government ministers. If not floored by her caustic humour and sarcasm, they will inevitably will be undone by her street smarts, and at times bloody-minded scheming and resourcefulness.
But of all this novel’s strengths, what stood out most is how Green has outdone herself in terms of inner dialogue. I found the deliciously dry, dark humour woven into any occasion, from life or death moments through to something as mundane as a quick stop into a grocery store, extremely funny.
J M Green’s Too Easy is a cracking read – the ultimate Aussie crime page turner. Do yourself a favour and make your next read a Stella Hardy novel.
BOOK RATING: The Story 4.5 / 5 ; The Writing 5 / 5
Genre: Thriller, Mystery, Crime-Detective, Action-Adventure
About the Author, J M Green
J.M. Green is a crime writer based in Melbourne’s western suburbs. Her debut novel, Good Money, the first hardboiled-crime novel featuring Stella Hardy, was shortlisted for a 2016 Ned Kelly Award, the Sisters in Crime’s Davitt Award for best debut, as well as the 2014 Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for an Unpublished Manuscript. She divides her time between writing in her backyard studio and working as a librarian. Too Easy is her second book.
* My receiving a copy from the publisher for review purposes did not impact the expression of my honest opinions in the review above.