Great reviews `Summer of Blood'

Great reviews `Summer of Blood'

My twelfth crime novel `Summer of Blood' (Fremantle Press) is out, on the shelves, and getting super reviews from reviewers and readers alike.

There's always some anxiety in the release of a new book. As an author I have to write what I feel and you can't be sure that will marry up with the taste of your audience. I loved the process of this book from the moment of its conception back in 2017 when on the island of Syros with my friends Nik and Elspeth who run `The Good Life Greece'.


The Weekend Australian kicked off the reviews with this fabulous article from Charles Wooley and I am so grateful to the literary editor Caroline Overington for matching the book with a suitable reviewer.

`Summer of Blood' set in 1967 is the follow up from my second novel `Big Bad Blood' which was set in Sydney in 1965.

It has always been one of my favourites though the language can be difficult for non-Australians or even young Australians who don't have an ear for 60's vernacular. Originally published by Random House it is available on-line as an e-book. 

Jeff Popple who has been a t

errific supporter of mine also gave a great review in his blog Murder,Mayhem and Long Dogs. (see below)

It is over twenty five years since Dave Warner’s James Elroy inspired Big Bad Blood first appeared. Set in Sydney in 1965 it was an epic crime tale full of grit and blood.

Now Warner has finally released a follow up novel, Summer Of Blood (Fremantle, 3 October 2023), that takes the two detectives from Big Bad Blood, Ray Shearer and John Gordon, and sends them to California during the Summer of Love in 1967.

Gordon and Shearer are sent to America to find a young Australian student, the son of a friend of the Police Minister’s, who has gone missing in San Francisco. It is a time of change on the West Coast of America and the two Australian police officers find themselves in a strange world, as they follow leads through a maze of new music, free love, drugs and hippie counterculture. They soon come to realise, however, that this isn’t just any ordinary missing person investigation and that something very sinister is happening in the Summer of Love.

This is a big bold tale full of vivid images of LA and San Francisco in 1967 and plenty of violence. The story moves at a good pace and there is an enjoyable of intermingling of fictional and real life characters, particularly Janis Joplin. Warner’s portrayal of the good and the bad of 1967 rings true, and Gordon and Shearer are good guides through this turbulent time, even though they are sometimes completely bewildered by what they see.

The story builds to a tough and violent climax and there are a couple of neat codas back in Sydney.

The telling has a strong James Elroy feel to it at times, but there are also some great descriptive passages in Warner’s own unique style, like this depiction of the congested traffic near LA:

“Like bush flies thickening the nearer you got to dead meat, cars coagulating with every click nearer the city’s heart.”

In all, a terrific read.

Summer Of Blood is out in Australia now. It is available on Kindle and Audible in the United States and the United Kingdom (Audible only). Thanks to the publishers and the Canberra Weekly for a copy of the book for review.

As an extra bonus, Summer Of Blood comes with its own Playlist on Spotify and an eponymous single.

Excellent support too from other bloggers like Mandy Loves To Read, The Burgeoning Bookshelf, Wine and Books. Thank you all, as an Aussie author with an independent publisher I am very dependent on you getting the word out there and very grateful.

There is also an in depth interview with me and Jacqui Lang of Starfish if you'd like to hear from me. 


I suppose we authors only tend to get the good feedback direct. Those readers who don't like a book much usually don't bother to contact the author direct. However, I was thrilled to get this feedback from Greg McKay in Queensland. A friend's dad had just read the book. A very astute  review and I thank him deeply. 


I have had sensational support from various bookshops. My local Humphrey's at Manly, run by the gorgeous Wendy, Abbey's, Dymocks Sydney,Subiaco, Busselton, Kinokuniya Syney. Harry Hartog Bondi Junction, Bookoccino Avalon and many more. Wherever I can I have left CDs of my song `Summer of Blood' as a bonus but if you purchase the book online from me you will also get the single.

Text and Co, Dunsborough

Hobart with Karen Herbert and David Whish-Wilson





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