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WAKE : 2023 Ned Kelly Awards Best Debut Winner - Shelley Burr
Crime & Thriller Staff Pick

WAKE

2023 Ned Kelly Awards Best Debut Winner

By: Shelley Burr

Paperback | 31 May 2023 | Edition Number 1

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SHORTLISTED FOR THE DEBUT FICTION INDIE BOOK AWARD 2023

A Top Ten bestseller, WAKE is a searing debut crime novel where the grief and guilt surrounding an unsolved disappearance still haunt a small farming community . . . and will ultimately lead to a reckoning.

Evelyn simply vanished.


The small town of Nannine lies in the harsh red interior of New South Wales. Once a thriving outback centre, this ghost town now has one sinister claim to fame: the still-unsolved disappearance of Evelyn McCreery nineteen years ago from the bedroom she shared with her twin sister.

Mina McCreery's life has been defined by the intense and ongoing public interest in her sister's case. Now a reclusive adult, Mina lives alone on her family's sunbaked, destocked sheep farm. The million-dollar reward her mother established to solve the disappearance has never been paid out.

Enter Lane Holland, a private investigator who dropped out of the police academy to earn a living cracking cold cases. Lane has his eye on the unclaimed money, but he also has darker motivations.

WAKE is a powerful, unsparing story of how trauma ripples outward when people's private tragedies become public property, and how it's never too late for the truth to set things right.

About the Author

Shelley Burr grew up on Newcastle's beaches and her grandparents' property in Glenrowan, and on the road between the two. When not writing, Shelley is working to establish a small permaculture farm and is studying agriculture at the University of New England, with a focus on soil science. She is an alumnus of the ACT Writers Hardcopy program (2018) and a Varuna fellow. WAKE won the CWA Debut Dagger Award in 2019, and was shortlisted for the Indie Book Awards Debut Novel Award, the Kill Your Darlings Unpublished Manuscript Award and the Bath Novel Award. It was a Top Five bestseller. RIPPER is her second novel.
Industry Reviews
'Politically savvy, cleverly plotted . . . the kind of book that invites the ravenous language of binge reading: compulsive, propulsive, addictive' - NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW

'It is hard to believe WAKE is a first novel. Plot, pacing and characterisation are so finely judged that it feels more like the work of a past master' - TIMES

' WAKE is blazing its own trail. A yarn that feels so plausible and terrifying, it stays with you' - AUSTRALIAN WOMEN'S WEEKLY

'Outstanding . . . This is both a well-plotted, gripping mystery and a sensitive exploration of the aftermath of trauma' - THE GUARDIAN

'One of the year's best debuts. Intriguing and compelling. Shelley Burr is a bright new talent in Australian crime fiction' - CHRIS HAMMER

'My crime novel of the year . . . Intense and evocative, it tears at the heart-strings' - DAILY MAIL

'We devoured this stunningly drawn, deeply compelling mystery in one day' - MONTHLY (UK)

'Burr brings a piercing psychological acuity, creating a nuanced examination of the emotional and reputational stakes of a murder investigation' - CANBERRA TIMES