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An Isolated Incident

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I enjoyed this very much. The main character was not always lovable but by the end of the book I felt like I understood her.
What stood out the most to me was how much the author made me hate the journalist. They always seem like slime trying to make a buck off other people's tragedies, and at the beginning when she was just doing her job, I HATED her. Once the story got under her skin and she decided she wanted answers, she became much more likable. I was very impressed with how that played out.

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The author did a great job with this crime novel, as it took a different approach than others. The author decided to focus on the impact that a murder had than on the investigation of the crime. I found this to be an interesting approach and it made me love this book even more!

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An Isolated Incident by Emily Maguire is a highly recommended novel which focuses on an act of violence against a woman, the grief of losing a loved one, and media scrutiny of crimes against women.

Chris is a barmaid at a local pub in the small town of Strathdee, Australia. When her younger sister Bella is found brutally murdered, not only must Chris deal with her unimaginable grief and persistent questions of why Bella and who would do this, she also has to deal with the media storm that descends on the city. Her ex, Nate, comes to stand by her side as he also mourns Bella. Chris is a tough character who is used to using her assets, so to speak, to get better tips as well as other compensation. The community is silently judging her while upholding the proper, loveliness that was Bella. The whole town is mourning.

Reporters are ascending upon the town and are ruthless. May Norman is a reporter who has just broken up with her married lover and has been sent to Strathdee to cover the murder. She is writing about the crime while missing her lover and thinking about him a lot. Her goal is to get a one-on-one interview with Chris for more inside information to sell a bigger story.

This is more an examination of the trauma that survivors experience when a loved one is murdered and there are no suspects. While the police investigation is certainly part of the story, the novel is not a murder mystery and does not carefully follow the investigation. Instead, chapters alternate between the points-of-view of Chris and May. The two women reflect upon their lives and what they are going through. Setting the murder aside, it is in many ways a novel of gender inequality and explores what many women encounter at the hands of men. There are also supernatural elements as Chris experiences what she feels is Bella's presence.

The writing is compelling and I wanted to find out what happened to Bella and who the perpetrator was, but the ending was actually a huge let down. The novel does conclude, but it's all rushed, matter-of-fact information. This is an uneven novel that will hold your attention throughout, but you may feel as I did, dissatisfaction with the ending.

Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of Eye Books.

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Thanks to Netgalley and Eye Books for a copy of the eARC in exchange for a fair review.

Chris knows when the police arrive at her door it isn't a good thing, and since Bella has been missing for a few days Chris knows this means they found her body. Everything that happens after that is a bit of a daze, and Chris more than thankful for ex, Nate who has shown up to support her.

As the days go past without anyone being arrested, suspicion and gossip begin to grow out of control, but still no one really tells May (the reporter snooping around) the whole truth. Chris is struggling to be in control, but most days she is a hot mess just trying to be normal. It really isn't working and as things get uncovered Chris falls apart even more.

Eventually she begins to suspect everyone, and is barely seeing anyone except her unlikely friendship with May, who has been writing a series of articles covering Bella's death and the investigation.

I thought this would be more a thriller and more of a mystery, but it was more a look at what happens to the family. It is a bit of a slow burn, and I still found it good. It just wasn't quite what I expected. I thought Chris would be finding out who killed her sister, instead the police solved with good old fashioned police work while Chris fell apart and May the reporter tried to keep her afloat.

So if you are looking for a thriller, this is isn't it. It does solve the mystery but the focus isn't what happened to Bella, but how Chris deals with the aftermath of the murder.

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This book will forever hold a special place in my heart because it's the first ARC I was ever given to review!

This book is good. This book is very good. A murder mystery set in Australia, it's told through the voices of a newspaper reporter and the sister of the victim. The reporter was fine; her chapters were good but the voice that really pulled me in was Chris, the sister of the young woman who was murdered.

I loved reading from Chris's perspective. She's an imperfect person who really doesn't care that you know that about her right off the bat. She does morally questionable things, she doesn't mind using her physical assets to get more tips as a bartender, and she really doesn't care who knows how else she supplements her income. Her life is messy, but her childhood was messier, so she's a success. She's also devoted to protecting her younger sister when things get rocky in their childhood, which is why, when we meet Chris, she is overcome with grief, alternating between depression and rage. She couldn't protect her sister this time.

While I was reading this mystery I got the same feeling that I get when I watch an episode of Dateline. It's chilling, it's harrowing, and you can't look away. It was the perfect book to finish reading on Halloween night. I can't wait to read more by Emily Maguire!

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I am admittedly a prude about sex. I don't naturally gravitate toward books with graphic sex. So part of the reason, this book was not my cup of tea was the take on sex partners and how many there were. If that doesn't bother you, then you may enjoy this book more. I also didn't enjoy the descent into grief. This book was more focused on how a person's life is destroyed when a loved one is violently snatched than on the whodunnit part. I think others will really resonate with the book.

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Bella Michaels was last seen leaving from her job on a Friday evening. Her friends and family are concerned when they can't get in touch with her over the weekend. They contact the police, but since she is twenty-five years old, they assume she's taken off for the weekend with friends. Her family and close friends think; differently, her sister Chris refers to her as the "the world's youngest grandma" she's very responsible and would never do anything to worry her family.
Her brutalized body is discovered the following Monday on the side of the road leading out of town. Strathdee is a small town in Australia, that's pretty safe, so this murder rocks the community. Everyone seems to know everyone, and they all loved Bella, she was a special young lady that was beautiful, yet extremely kind.
Her older sister, Chris is utterly unhinged after she has to make the identification of the body and speak with police. Chris is several years older than Bella and works in a local pub, and after her divorce, it's common knowledge that she's taken up with several truckers who have stopped off at the pub while driving through town for a night of fun after work.
Chris is an attractive woman for her age, but she's all heart. Her ex-husband Mack comes down to help her deal with the death of her sister, Bella. The last thing Chris wants is to deal with all the media; not to mention some of the detectives' innuendo of her free spirit lifestyle compared to Bella's they are as different as night and day.
This case is going nowhere; the media has lost interest and left, Chris is trying to deal with this as best she can. At first, she goes back to work until she starts suspecting everyone around her as the monster who killed her sister. Chris finds herself immobilized by this fear that eventually takes over her life.
This is an excellent psychological thriller, Ms. Maguire pulls you in from the beginning and holds your attention to the very end. At times it's like the protagonist, Chris is speaking to you the reader directly which made it even more interesting. The way she weaves Chris's grief and torment it keeps the reader wondering what is fact and fiction. It really does begin to play on your mind.
Disclosure: I would like to thank the publisher and NetGalley for providing me with a copy of this e-galley in exchange for my honest opinion, the opinions I expressed above are my own.

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The rape and murder of Bella in the small town of Strathdee is the catalyst for her much older and more worldly (for lack of a better word) sister Chris to take a look at her life and how she's living it. Told from the perspective of Chris and May, a journalist who has come to town to cover the story, it's about more than Bella. Chris and May both have expansive, unsatisfactory relationships with men and this dominates the book. It's well written and an intriguing portrait of three women, although Bella remains only a shadow off which the others ping. Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC.

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I have long been offended by the phrase 'incident' when news people use it to describe an atrocity. I understand exactly where Emily Maguire is coming from with the title of this novel. This sort of crime in way beyond an incident, and much to far from isolated.

I adored Bella from the git-go, and identified with both May and Chris. We follow Chris, older sister of Bella, and May, relatively untried journalist on her first serious story. Both find their worlds constricting to a minute circle around the idea of Bella's last moments, her lost life. And the knowledge that whoever committed this atrocity, he who took this gentle soul through such horrid pain and torment, is still out there. Still walking around, free and alive, and able to do this to some other sweet soul. Willing and able.

We are with Chris and May from the day Bella's body is found on April 6, 2015, two days after she disappeared going from her job to her car at 5:00 in the afternoon, until her murderer is caught in June. It is a hard story. There are times you have to close the book, get a snack, walk the dog, before you can come back into this world. But it is a must read for women and those who love them. Because this isn't an incident, and it isn't isolated, and enough of us, understanding the radiating circles of pain, can make a difference.

I received a free electronic copy of this timely novel from Netgalley, Emily Maguire, Pan Macmillan AU and Trafalgar Square Publishing in exchange for an honest review. Thank you all for sharing this serious work with me.

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When Chris's younger sister is murdered, she is put in the spotlight in her small town. Who would have wanted Bella dead?

A bit of a slow read for my taste but interesting nonetheless. Chris was an interesting character. People see her as a laid back woman who has a bit of a crappy life. But Chris is a street smart woman who has tried to make the best of life.

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This is another case of poor marketing for a book. I pick the books I want to review on the Netgalley platform based on the synopsis and the genre. I was a bit on the fence about this book but it was classified as a mystery/thriller so I thought I’d take a chance on it.


This book isn’t a mystery or a thriller. It’s an exploration into the aftermath of a brutal murder and it’s not super strong on that front. If this book had not been placed in the wrong genre, I wouldn’t have read it and I wouldn’t be giving it a bad review. Please stop marketing books this way. I don’t like being played for a fool and if I’d paid for this book, I’d be even angrier.

Get your book into the hands of people who WANT to read it. Not the people who don’t.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I was not paid for this review.

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Thanks for the early review copy!

This was a interesting, well-written thriller with intriguing characters. I recommend this book to fans of adult mysteries and thrillers

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An Isolated Incident by author Emily Maguire is a really good mystery/thriller with well developed characters and a decent plot line. I would recommend this book.
Thank you Netgalley and the publisher for a copy of The Isolated Incident in exchange for an honest review.

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An Isolated Incident
By Emily Maguire
2016 Pan MacMillan, AU
Expected pub. date 11-1-2018

Bella Michaels, a 25 year old, good natured girl who works at a home for the aged, is well liked in the community of Strathdee, South New Wales. Everyone is stunned when her brutally beaten and murdered body is found. The media goes crazy with the need to find the truth. Sensationalize the story, its what sells papers.
Bella's older sister, Chris, is a popular and friendly bar maid at a local pub, whose life is put in a state of turmoil and paranoia as she searches for clues, answers, anything that could lead her to the cause her sisters death, but the more she uncovers the less she begins to trust those around her....her friends, ex-husband, bar acquaintances...someone somewhere knows what happened. Someone somewhere has the answers. Chris knows it. But how do you tell the good guys from the bad guys?
Issues of domestic violence, and male entitlement and sexualzation are still prevalent in our declining state of a trustful, responsible society. Was Bella a victim? Someone is responsible but Chris is only feeling more paranoid as she learns the facts.
This whole book was really timely and wonderfully done. The last few chapters blew me away. They were mind blowing and unforgettable.
Thanks you to Lightning Books and NetGalley for this ARC.
#AnIsolatedIncident #NetGalley

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When 25-year-old Bella Michaels is brutally murdered in the small town of Strathdee, the community is stunned and a media storm descends. Unwillingly thrust into the eye of that storm is Bella’s beloved older sister, Chris, a barmaid at the local pub, whose apparently easygoing nature conceals hard-won wisdom and the kind of street-smarts that only experience can bring.
Emily Maguire is shortlisted for the Miles Franklin Litterary award and rightfully so, this is the brutal look at a murder in a small town and the effects grief and despair has has on everyone involved down to the journalist sent to investigate the crime. I was emotionally drained after finishing this book, the author captures the raw feelings, and the frustrations a family member feels with media and police and how the sensationalism of ceime desensitizes society. The journalist reminded me of Michelle McNamara and how she never gave up on finding justice for Bella and stayed behind even after she was fired from her newspaper. The portrayal of Chris was a world view of society's mysogny towards women, she was looked down upon, and used; at the end of the day only the journalist May helped save her from the psychological torment , and the haunting of what death leaves behind. I did not like the ending, i feel like there were chapters that must have been cut in editing, and I would have liked May to interview the killer for the book she had begun to write to give more closure to the main character and the reader. I truly thank Netgalley, Pan MacMillan publishing and Trafalgar press for the opportunity to read and review this book..i give 4 out of five stars!

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I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

“An Isolated Incident” by Emily Maguire tells the story of the gruesome murder of Bella Michaels and how it affects the people in her life, mainly her sister Chris. The story is told from two perspectives, Chris’s and May’s a reporter sent to cover the story. This book is not so much about the investigation of the crime, but rather an examination of the impact of the horrific crime.

The two main characters, Chris and May, were both way too obsessed with their relationships with their ex-partners and used sex as a way not to think of them. They aren’t the best female role models especially in a book about violence against women and misogyny in general. I didn’t really care about either of these characters although I did feel sympathy for Chris for loosing her sister. The only likable character was Nate, Chris’s ex-husband and Bella’s ex-brother-in-law although he too had a history of violence against women.

I understand the setting of this book is a small, rural town where everyone knows each other and turns a blind eye to what people do behind closed doors. The problem is that there was nothing to show how these views can hurt women and even lead to a violent murder. There was nothing written to show how a murder such as the one of Bella Michaels could bring a town together and change these bad behaviors for the better.

I struggled with my review of this book. I didn’t like the writing, and still can’t figure out who Chris was telling had story to. There were side plots that weren’t clear if they had anything to do with Bella’s murder or not - dead animals, other murders, ghost stories. None of these side plots were fully written about so there was no closure, and it was confusing to the story.

The ending was the worst part of this book. Introducing a new character at the last minute just to have the murder solved made no sense especially when the entire book was about how our relationships can lead to violence and at times murder. It would have made sense if the killer was someone Bella knew. It was as if the author didn’t feel like giving the book and Bella the proper ending they deserved. I would not recommend this book.

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Bella's body is found at the beginning of the book, a horrific murder that rocks the small town.

The chapters are back and forth between Chris, Bella's sister, and May, a journalist who has relocated to the small town to cover the story. Writing about Bella's death while battling her own demons.

While Bella's death is at the forefront of the story, this book was not really about a murder, or the mystery to be solved as it does not deal heavily on the investigation, or suspects and clues.
This book was a look at society and they way women are viewed, treated and objectified in life as well as in death.
It paints a picture of the modern woman, whether bar maid, or journalist, and the struggle women face in the workplace, domestic relationships or simply taking a jog down the street.
It was a raw look and what it is like to be a woman.

The book was definitely deeper than I was expecting. While I found the book compelling and while I agree that the overall message is important and timely, the actual murder and investigation was completely bypassed and rushed. I was still interested in Bella's story and I just wish a little more time had been set aside for the actual mystery.

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I received this as an ARC and had high expectations after reading the overview. I was expecting a thriller with twist and turns as you weaves through the “who done it”. There was a lot of Chris’s story and it flipped between what felt like her telling the reader a story and then the reader being a witness to her life. The “loose ends” were tied up in a very anti climatic way at the very end. Overall, I was disappointed by this book.

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When 25-year-old Bella Michaels is brutally murdered in the small town of Strathdee, the community is stunned and a media storm descends. Unwillingly thrust into the eye of that storm is Bella’s beloved older sister, Chris, a barmaid at the local pub, whose apparently easy going nature conceals hard-won wisdom and the kind of street-smarts that only experience can bring.

I have to be critical about this book, unfortunately. The book was slow. For this to be marketed as a thriller, this book needs a bigger punch and needs to get a stake earlier. There were a lot of disjointed plot points. Maybe the author wrote this book over a long time and forgot what she was writing?

I’m not sure this book is going to be successful. With poor characters, disjointed plot, and disgusting amounts of sexism, I just can’t see this book be successful. There’s also no suspense-which is critical for a thriller book.

This book might be for someone but definitely not for a trained reader who knows what to look for in plots.

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This book is entirely different from all other mystery crime novels. 25 year old Bella is brutally raped and murdered in a small town in Australia. This book revolves around Bella's sister Chris Rodgers and crime reporter May Norman. If you are expecting a book about the police solving the crime then you will be very disappointed.

Both of these women are highly flawed but very real. The amount of growth and strength they develop throughout the story is hopeful and true. It took a while to get into and that is probably because I was expecting a detective whodunit but once I got it in my head the story that was being told I enjoyed it.

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