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Wild Place

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In the summer of 1989, a local teen goes missing from the idyllic suburb of Camp Hill in Australia. As rumours of Satanic rituals swirl, schoolteacher Tom Witter becomes convinced he holds the key to the disappearance. When the police won't listen, he takes matters into his own hands with the help of the missing girl's father and a local neighbourhood watch group. But as da In the summer of 1989, a local teen goes missing from the idyllic suburb of Camp Hill in Australia. As rumours of Satanic rituals swirl, schoolteacher Tom Witter becomes convinced he holds the key to the disappearance. When the police won't listen, he takes matters into his own hands with the help of the missing girl's father and a local neighbourhood watch group. But as dark secrets are revealed and consequences to past actions are faced, Tom learns that the only way out of the darkness is to walk deeper into it. Wild Place peels back the layers of suburbia, exposing what s hidden underneath guilt, desperation, violence and attempts to answer the question: Why do good people do bad things? From the international bestseller Christian White, Wild Place is a white-knuckle descent into a street near you.


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In the summer of 1989, a local teen goes missing from the idyllic suburb of Camp Hill in Australia. As rumours of Satanic rituals swirl, schoolteacher Tom Witter becomes convinced he holds the key to the disappearance. When the police won't listen, he takes matters into his own hands with the help of the missing girl's father and a local neighbourhood watch group. But as da In the summer of 1989, a local teen goes missing from the idyllic suburb of Camp Hill in Australia. As rumours of Satanic rituals swirl, schoolteacher Tom Witter becomes convinced he holds the key to the disappearance. When the police won't listen, he takes matters into his own hands with the help of the missing girl's father and a local neighbourhood watch group. But as dark secrets are revealed and consequences to past actions are faced, Tom learns that the only way out of the darkness is to walk deeper into it. Wild Place peels back the layers of suburbia, exposing what s hidden underneath guilt, desperation, violence and attempts to answer the question: Why do good people do bad things? From the international bestseller Christian White, Wild Place is a white-knuckle descent into a street near you.

30 review for Wild Place

  1. 5 out of 5

    Carolyn

    In the summer of 1989, seventeen year old Tracie Reed goes missing from Camp Hill, a small Australian town. Having just finished high school, the police think she could have run away in search of brighter lights and a more exciting life, but her single mother who knows her daughter well, is adamant that she wouldn’t have done that and something more sinister has happened to her. Tom Witter, a high school teacher who taught Tracie in his English class, also has his doubts that Tracie has run away In the summer of 1989, seventeen year old Tracie Reed goes missing from Camp Hill, a small Australian town. Having just finished high school, the police think she could have run away in search of brighter lights and a more exciting life, but her single mother who knows her daughter well, is adamant that she wouldn’t have done that and something more sinister has happened to her. Tom Witter, a high school teacher who taught Tracie in his English class, also has his doubts that Tracie has run away and starts to search for clues to her disappearance. This terrific suspense novel peels back the layers of Camp Hill one by one, to expose the ugly secrets hiding below the surface. The characters are all believable, ordinary people, not inherently evil, but capable of lies and deception. Their suspicions and fear of the unknown will lead some of them down a dark path where deterioration of their normally mild-mannered behaviour into brutality feels justified. I enjoyed all the popular culture references and news items that White has woven into his novel to enrich the 1980s vibe of the novel and give a strong sense of place for this small town in Victoria. The pace of the novel is perfect and makes for a totally compelling read and the end of the last chapter is a heart-stopper. With thanks to Affirm Press and Netgalley for a copy to read

  2. 5 out of 5

    NZLisaM

    Christian White, author of The Nowhere Child, The Wife and the Widow, and co-creator of the Netflix series, Clickbait, has done it again. Wild Place – my third five-star read by him – was another twisty, twisted, domestic noir extravaganza, which I read in one day. The year is 1989, and Tom Witter is living the perfect suburban life in Camp Hill with his wife, Connie, and two teenage boys – Marty and Keiran. On summer break from his high school teaching job, Tom is kept busy doing odd jobs around Christian White, author of The Nowhere Child, The Wife and the Widow, and co-creator of the Netflix series, Clickbait, has done it again. Wild Place – my third five-star read by him – was another twisty, twisted, domestic noir extravaganza, which I read in one day. The year is 1989, and Tom Witter is living the perfect suburban life in Camp Hill with his wife, Connie, and two teenage boys – Marty and Keiran. On summer break from his high school teaching job, Tom is kept busy doing odd jobs around the house, attending neighborhood watch meetings, and, most importantly, looking out for his sons. But everything changes when local teenager, Tracie Reed, goes missing. The only thing separating Tom's street from Tracie's is Wild Place – a dense community forest – once welcoming and safe now feels threatening and sinister. Tom is convinced that whatever happened to Tracie is connected to Wild Place, and determined to protect his sons from a similar fate, Tom starts his own investigation, an investigation that will lead him to some very dark places. Wild Place most definitely kept me immersed and guessing, as well as turning the pages at a frantic pace. In the 80's and 90's with the rise of heavy metal music, dark and explicit lyrics, and the Gothic lifestyle, parents – heavily influenced by the media – stupidly feared their kids were being controlled and seduced by the occult, and Satanic Rituals, and, as you will see, Christian White used these themes to create paranoia, hysteria, suspicion and judgement in his characters in a shocking and nail-biting way. In terms of setting and atmosphere, Wild Place was reminiscent of a favourite read of mine from 2019, The Neighbour – Fiona Cummins. Both were psychological thrillers where the mystery centred on a Suburban Street which backed onto a forest, and of course the neighbourhood held many secrets. The publication date is 26th October, 2021, and Wild Place would be the perfect spooky, ominous choice for Halloween. I’d like to thank, Netgalley, Affirm Press, and Christian White for the e-ARC.

  3. 4 out of 5

    PattyMacDotComma

    5★ “There it was again: a soft metallic click, a long, slow creak. A window in one of the other rooms was being slid open from the outside.” Okay – that put me on the edge of my seat! There’s nothing like being home alone and hearing stairs or doors or windows creak. Another terrifying sound is that of a gun being cocked at night in a warehouse where the main character is hunting for someone (or vice-versa). Mostly, though, this isn’t that kind of story. Hair-raising for those involved, but not fo 5★ “There it was again: a soft metallic click, a long, slow creak. A window in one of the other rooms was being slid open from the outside.” Okay – that put me on the edge of my seat! There’s nothing like being home alone and hearing stairs or doors or windows creak. Another terrifying sound is that of a gun being cocked at night in a warehouse where the main character is hunting for someone (or vice-versa). Mostly, though, this isn’t that kind of story. Hair-raising for those involved, but not for us at home, whether you’re in Australia, where this takes place, or not. A seventeen-year-old girl has disappeared before Christmas in the summer of 1989, after saying she was spending the night with a girlfriend. Turns out she didn’t. One of her teachers, Tom Witter, goes to the Neighbourhood Watch meeting where flyers are produced to hand out. He takes them home to show his family and tells his sons, Kieran and Marty, to stay out of the woods, aka the Wild Place. Kieran, though, at thirteen, loves war movies, so he sees the Wild Place through combat goggles. “Wild Place was summed up in the name: a wild patch of land in the middle of the most un-wild place you could imagine. It wasn’t big, exactly, but it was big enough. Any bigger, and it might roll out into the neighbourhood and consume the houses like in ‘The Blob’. According to legend, the bushland was home to a killer clown, was the secret burial place of the Beaumont children, and contained a hidden pit filled with venomous snakes. Kieran didn’t really believe any of that, but he lived in hope.” An obvious suspect is a neighbour, Sean Fryman, Marty’s former best friend and someone Kieran always looked up to. In the last year or so, Sean has turned dark, listening to heavy metal, keeping a pet python, and wearing tattoos with satanic significance. Kieran misses Sean’s company. Marty, on the other hand, seems to have grown out of the friendship, dressing better, behaving better and getting ready to move out on his own to be closer to uni next year. The neighbourhood gets stirred up, grieving parents face the public, and Tom keeps trying to help, trying to find out what happened. This is the busy summer holiday season, when people aren’t following their usual routines, and neighbours begin to stickybeak, watching each other. The only real plans they have are for the New Year's Eve party. Tom decides to do a little stickybeaking himself and visits Sean. After all, this is a kid who was like a third son to him for many years, spending a lot of time, and eating a lot of meals, with the Witter family. How much could he have really changed? He goes to the Frymans’ house and checks Sean’s room. He picks up some record album covers as Sean comes in. “A vampire had entered the room. This man-boy was an undead version of the original. His hair was long and black, and hung in a greasy tangle over his face. It made Tom think of vines growing over the mouth of an ancient cave, filled with monsters.” Yes, Sean had certainly changed. All in all, it kept me reading and wanting to see what would happen next – the test of a good mystery! I didn’t guess the results but I certainly recognised the community and the individuals involved and could see how these things could happen. Some of it would seem a little far-fetched, except that I see even more outlandish news reports these days. There ARE monsters among us! I haven’t yet read White’s second book, The Wife and the Widow, but I enjoyed this one and his debut, The Nowhere Child, which I reviewed here: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show... Thanks for another good tale, Christian White, and thanks to NetGalley and Affirm Press for the copy for review.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Brenda

    Tracie Reed had finally finished school and had everything ahead of her. It was December 1989 in the small suburb of Camp Hill in Victoria, and when Tracie went missing late one night, after having had a fight with her best friend Cassie, then arriving home to her mother Nancy, distraught and shaken – but when Nancy woke the next morning, Tracie was gone. The police said she was a runaway and wouldn’t listen to Tracie’s mother who obviously knew her daughter best. The local neighbourhood watch g Tracie Reed had finally finished school and had everything ahead of her. It was December 1989 in the small suburb of Camp Hill in Victoria, and when Tracie went missing late one night, after having had a fight with her best friend Cassie, then arriving home to her mother Nancy, distraught and shaken – but when Nancy woke the next morning, Tracie was gone. The police said she was a runaway and wouldn’t listen to Tracie’s mother who obviously knew her daughter best. The local neighbourhood watch group came together, printed missing posters and wanted to help. Tom Witter was one of those neighbours and he took the posters and stuck them throughout Camp Hill. Tom was also one of the local high school teachers and had taught Tracie, so he felt close to the situation. Tom wanted to help find her. Eighteen-year-old Sean lived next door to Tom and his family with his mother Debbie. Sean had turned gothic, with dark clothing, tattoos and heavy metal music, causing a certain amount of suspicion to fall on him. But although there were secrets running through the neighbourhood, no one could believe anything bad would happen in their area. Wild Place – the area across the street, which was bushy, and tree filled, was a magnet for teenagers, but was it dangerous? What was happening in the small and usually docile neighbourhood? Wild Place by Aussie author Christian White is a gritty, tense and breathtaking thriller which drew me into the depths of the darkness that people hide each and every day. Tom played an excellent main character and I felt sorry for him many times. Suspicion, guilt, violence and desperation all played a part in Wild Place, and I have no hesitation in recommending it highly. With thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for my digital ARC to read in exchange for an honest review.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Rob

    Stand alone Australian thriller published 2021 An other great 4 star read. Christian White keeps delivering the goods. Lets imagine a room, north facing, with the drapes open. The room is full of light and it feels good and it feels right. But even in this room there are corners that never see the light of day. This exclusion of light can often harbour something better left undisturbed. Such is the case with the Witter family. A family of four, two boys both of teenage years, plus Mum and Dad. This Stand alone Australian thriller published 2021 An other great 4 star read. Christian White keeps delivering the goods. Lets imagine a room, north facing, with the drapes open. The room is full of light and it feels good and it feels right. But even in this room there are corners that never see the light of day. This exclusion of light can often harbour something better left undisturbed. Such is the case with the Witter family. A family of four, two boys both of teenage years, plus Mum and Dad. This is a family where God is in his heaven and all, it seems, is well with the world. That was until the day a fourteen year old female neighbour disappears. The police believe her to be a run away but her mother knows better. The local neighbourhood watch decide that this is a time where actions speak louder than words. So, Tom Witter as part of the group starts putting up ‘ girl missing’ posters all over the place. Tom feels more compelled to help than most of the others as he was one the girls teachers and feels a curious responsibility to find her. And find her they do. Dead in a grave found by a neighbours dog in the local green belt known as the Wild Place. When the news of the girls death reaches the other neighbours they respond with a feral vigilante mentality. Private dark corners will be exposed and what comes into the light of day will be pretty ugly. The end probably could and probably would happen but the injustice left me feeling like I had just sucked a lemon. A page turner with some very interesting twists.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Janelle

    This is a fast paced, twisty thriller about a missing girl in suburban Melbourne. Enclosed between the back fences of two rows of houses is a kind of nature reserve known as Wild Place to the locals. The house of the missing girl backs on to one side and Tom Witter’s, a local teacher and family man backs on to the other. The story is set between Christmas 1989 and New Year, and there’s plenty of references to music and other cultural references of the time, in particular an irrational fear of sa This is a fast paced, twisty thriller about a missing girl in suburban Melbourne. Enclosed between the back fences of two rows of houses is a kind of nature reserve known as Wild Place to the locals. The house of the missing girl backs on to one side and Tom Witter’s, a local teacher and family man backs on to the other. The story is set between Christmas 1989 and New Year, and there’s plenty of references to music and other cultural references of the time, in particular an irrational fear of satanic cults. The local goth kid who listens to lots of heavy metal becomes a natural suspect for all the neighbourhood watch types. While I found this an enjoyable and easy read, I don’t think it’s as good as his first two books. I’m not sure why, it just didn’t surprise me and I found the ending unsatisfying. (view spoiler)[The police work was atrocious. The detective, Sharon goes everywhere by herself. I was upset by the death of Sean, which was probably caused by Sharon turning up alone. That could’ve been done a lot better. (hide spoiler)]

  7. 5 out of 5

    Mike

    Award winning and popular author Christian White returns with his new mystery thriller Wild Place. A domestic noir set in 1989, in a comfortable middleclass Australian suburb with a missing teenage girl. The bordering woodland seems a dark and gloomy place and the rumours of satanic rituals appear all too plausible. Tom Witter, the girl’s school teacher, is not convinced she has run away and so begins to investigate and involves his neighbourhood watch group to assist. Whilst suspicion is cast o Award winning and popular author Christian White returns with his new mystery thriller Wild Place. A domestic noir set in 1989, in a comfortable middleclass Australian suburb with a missing teenage girl. The bordering woodland seems a dark and gloomy place and the rumours of satanic rituals appear all too plausible. Tom Witter, the girl’s school teacher, is not convinced she has run away and so begins to investigate and involves his neighbourhood watch group to assist. Whilst suspicion is cast on the local teenage goth, there are more complications discovered and many people’s actions are called into question. All layers of hidden secrets are at play in the neighbourhood, and suburbia may not be so idyllic as the locals believe. Given White’s previous high standard thrillers, this narrative lacked his usual psychological tension and so only a four-star read rating.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Helen

    This was my first Christian White book and I thoroughly enjoyed it, it takes in the neighbourhood around bushland called wild place which is in the suburb of Camp Hill in Australia, we get to know quite a few of the residents as the author digs deep into their lives when a young seventeen year old girl Tracie Reed goes missing in December 1989, one resident Tom Whitter is sure he knows something about what happened to her, but does he know the full story? Nancy Reed and her husband Owen are getti This was my first Christian White book and I thoroughly enjoyed it, it takes in the neighbourhood around bushland called wild place which is in the suburb of Camp Hill in Australia, we get to know quite a few of the residents as the author digs deep into their lives when a young seventeen year old girl Tracie Reed goes missing in December 1989, one resident Tom Whitter is sure he knows something about what happened to her, but does he know the full story? Nancy Reed and her husband Owen are getting divorced they have a daughter Tracie who is seventeen and she is not happy about it, when she goes missing her mother rings the police but they don’t appear to be taking it seriously they say she has run away but a mother knows that it is something more. The local neighbourhood watch at one of their regular meetings have arranged posters to put up about the missing girl they are determined to help bring her home, one person Tom Whitter takes this very seriously and starts to do some investigating himself convinced that his eighteen year old neighbour Sean knows more that he is saying and questions him. This small suburban town is convinced that there is acts of Satanism happening in the area and are determined to do what they think the police are not doing and it feels like a couple are turning into vigilantism they are so determined to find out what happened to Tracie, Tom Whitter has started the thoughts and continues to push forward. Tom Whitter played such a big part in this story as he uncovers secrets that will shock him no end, he seemed like such a quiet man a local man who now teaches at the local high school the ending rocked me with a big twist and I am still not sure if I think it was the right way for me personally but yes this is a great story and is one that I would recommend to anyone who like a good thriller that has you thinking throughout.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Mandy White (mandylovestoread)

    Wild Place is Christian White's third novel and the 3rd time I have given him 5 stars. I devoured this book over a 24 hour period, it was once again brilliant. After The Wife and The Widow there was a very high bar to reach in my mind and Wild Place did it again. It was clever, addictive and relatable to this child of the 80's. It is summer, 1989 in Camp Hill, Victoria. The kids have finished school and are looking forward to their holidays. But this small and close knit community is rocked by t Wild Place is Christian White's third novel and the 3rd time I have given him 5 stars. I devoured this book over a 24 hour period, it was once again brilliant. After The Wife and The Widow there was a very high bar to reach in my mind and Wild Place did it again. It was clever, addictive and relatable to this child of the 80's. It is summer, 1989 in Camp Hill, Victoria. The kids have finished school and are looking forward to their holidays. But this small and close knit community is rocked by the disappearance of one of their brightest stars. Tracie Reed was all ready to head off to uni and become a journalist. And then she goes missing. Her parents and friends believe something bad has happened to her, but police have written her off as a runaway. He former English teacher joins forces with Tracie's father to try to find out what happened. There is so much to love about this book. The setting, with Wild Place, the community forest which is creepy and dark. The fact that it was the late 80's in Australia with music and TV that bought back some fun memories. And the story was just so clever and never a forgone conclusion. If you have read Christian White before, you will know he is the master of the twist, and Wild Place is no different. You need to read this book. Big thank you to Affirm Press for sending me my copy to read. Could not recommend it more.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Krystal

    A fantastic crime novel with lots of suspicious characters and plenty of twists! Plot: It's 1989, and a girl has gone missing. School teacher Tom suspects the goth kid next door, Sean, but this small town has all kinds of secrets. Firstly, the setting of '89 added an interesting level to the story. I recently went through a 'serial killer podcasts' phase so I know a little about the Satanic Panic, but it was quite fun to see it explored further in this story. There's also that small town communit A fantastic crime novel with lots of suspicious characters and plenty of twists! Plot: It's 1989, and a girl has gone missing. School teacher Tom suspects the goth kid next door, Sean, but this small town has all kinds of secrets. Firstly, the setting of '89 added an interesting level to the story. I recently went through a 'serial killer podcasts' phase so I know a little about the Satanic Panic, but it was quite fun to see it explored further in this story. There's also that small town community coupled with the lack of technology of that time that gave things a more intimate angle. No cryptic text messages here, folks - just nosy Lydia with her Neighbourhood Watch group. The characters are familiar enough, but I never found myself predicting too much of what was to come, which was refreshing. I still called the person responsible but all the twists and turns along the way definitely came out of the blue. Some really fun curves along this path! The writing is clever enough to create tension as it goes, so there's never a dull moment. I was pretty keen on getting back to it every time I put it down, and with it being an e-book and me always choosing paperbacks this was a big deal. So props for that. Overall, it was a highly entertaining, twisty thriller. Highly recommend for crime lovers. With thanks to Netgalley for an ARC

  11. 4 out of 5

    Gloria Arthur (Ms. G's Bookshelf)

    ⭐️5 Stars⭐️ You’ll be transorted to a ‘WILD PLACE’ when you read author Christian White’s latest thriller release! Wild Place is the third novel by Christian White and it’s drenched in suspense. There are heaps of twists and OMG this even got me screaming out NOOOO!!! to myself at a shocking moment in the book! Christian White is a fabulous story teller, I couldn’t put this one down and quickly finished reading it in record time! Why do good people bad things? Dark secrets and desperation are in ⭐️5 Stars⭐️ You’ll be transorted to a ‘WILD PLACE’ when you read author Christian White’s latest thriller release! Wild Place is the third novel by Christian White and it’s drenched in suspense. There are heaps of twists and OMG this even got me screaming out NOOOO!!! to myself at a shocking moment in the book! Christian White is a fabulous story teller, I couldn’t put this one down and quickly finished reading it in record time! Why do good people bad things? Dark secrets and desperation are in force in a idyllic Aussie suburb in the Mornington Peninsula. We travel back to the eighties for this psychological thriller where local teenage girl Tracie Reed has gone missing from her peaceful neighbourhood. Most people assume she’s run away from home and the police don’t seem to be too concerned about her disappearance. English school teacher Tom Witter volunteers to help put up posters for the missing girl through his local neighbourhood watch group and finds himself becoming more involved in investigating her disappearance. He comes to the conclusion that a local boy might have been involved. There are satanic undertones, dark layers, secrets and of course White's shocking signiture twist! I loved the nostalgia of the 80’s, the witty lines and highly recommend this thrlller! Publication date 26th October 2021 Thank you to the lovely team at Affirm Press for sending me an advanced copy of the book.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    Wild Place is an engrossing and twisty mystery-thriller, set in the deceptively idyllic world of 1980s Australian middle-class suburbia. It's the run-up to Christmas 1989 and 17-year-old Tracie Reed has gone missing from her home in the (fictional) suburb of Camp Hill, on the Mornington Peninsula in greater Melbourne. Initially, local police are dismissive, treating Tracie's case as that of a teenage runaway. She'd taken a backpack of clothes, after all, and had been affected by the recent breakd Wild Place is an engrossing and twisty mystery-thriller, set in the deceptively idyllic world of 1980s Australian middle-class suburbia. It's the run-up to Christmas 1989 and 17-year-old Tracie Reed has gone missing from her home in the (fictional) suburb of Camp Hill, on the Mornington Peninsula in greater Melbourne. Initially, local police are dismissive, treating Tracie's case as that of a teenage runaway. She'd taken a backpack of clothes, after all, and had been affected by the recent breakdown of her parents' marriage. Tracie's mum, Nancy is adamant that Tracie wouldn't just disappear and not make contact, and tells the police that Tracie had felt that she was being watched in the weeks leading up to her disappearance. Christmas comes and goes, and there's still no sign of Tracie. The lead detective goes on holidays, and the case is temporarily transferred to Detective Sharon Guffey, who grew up in the area. Meanwhile, local resident Tom Witter, who had been Tracie's high school English teacher, attends his local neighbourhood watch meeting. Tom's family home is located on Keel Street, backing onto the same area of urban bushland reserve, known as "Wild Place", as Tracie's home in nearby Bright Street. For readers who may be unfamiliar, the proximity of areas of bushland is relatively common in suburban areas surrounding Australia's largest cities. Tom is deputed to distribute "Missing Person" posters around the neighbourhood, and becomes preoccupied with Tracie's disappearance. His involvement leads him into contact with the police, and it transpires that he and Detective Sharon Guffey were close friends during their own school days at the high school where Tom now teaches. Both Sharon and Tom's wife, Connie, caution him against intruding any further into the investigation of Tracie's disappearance, but Tom is a little like a dog with the proverbial bone, and starts hypothesising about potential suspects. After the spectre of satanic ritual is raised as a possibility (I remember well the hysteria around this subject that flared now again during the 1980s and 1990s in Australia), his suspicions fall on local "goth" teenager, Sean Fryman. What follows is rather horrifying sequence of violence and xenophobia, during which the layers of this suburban paradise are gradually peeled back, revealing the fear, guilt, blame and jealousies that skulk beneath. Having enjoyed Christian White's previous two releases, The Nowhere Child and The Wife and the Widow, I launched into Wild Place anticipating another multi-layered mystery plot with plenty of twists and surprises. And I wasn't disappointed - this was an engrossing read with a strong sense of setting in time and place. While a couple of aspects of the "big reveal" had occurred to me as possibilities while reading, the conclusion came as a shocking, but fitting, surprise. Christian White has created a cast of complex characters, ranging from the somewhat comical caricatures of the members of the Keel Street Neighbourhood Watch committee to Sean's teenage angst and isolation, to the family relationships within the Witter family unit, to Tom's own intricate knot of motivations and insecurities. While the reader doesn't necessarily support the decisions the characters make (sometimes feeling like yelling at the page; "NO! Don't do that!"), we can't help but understand their motives of self-protection, retribution or bystander curiosity. I'd recommend Wild Place to any reader who enjoys high quality contemporary Australian crime fiction (albeit with a recent historical setting) featuring complex protagonists, multi-layered plot and plenty of twists. My thanks to the author, Christian White, publisher Affirm Press and NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review this title prior to publication.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Marianne

    Wild Place is the third novel by best-selling Australian screen-writer and author, Christian White. When seventeen-year-old Tracie Reed disappears, in early December, 1989, from her Camp Hill home on the Mornington Peninsula, the police soon conclude she’s another runaway. But even though her parents are in the throes of divorce, neither is convinced of this, and both are frustrated at police inaction. Nancy Reed says that her daughter reported feeling watched, and she had changed her appearance Wild Place is the third novel by best-selling Australian screen-writer and author, Christian White. When seventeen-year-old Tracie Reed disappears, in early December, 1989, from her Camp Hill home on the Mornington Peninsula, the police soon conclude she’s another runaway. But even though her parents are in the throes of divorce, neither is convinced of this, and both are frustrated at police inaction. Nancy Reed says that her daughter reported feeling watched, and she had changed her appearance in an effort to thwart this. Nancy is religious in maintaining her daily contact with the police, and vigilant of unusual activity in the area, but three weeks later, there is still no progress. At the Keel Street Neighbourhood Watch meeting, local high school English teacher Tom Witter is tasked with posting fliers about the missing girl: he checks with his sons, who claim only vague knowledge of Tracie. Summer vacation allows him time to take a good look at Wild Place, the community forest backing onto his home, and that of the Reeds, something that brings him to the attention of Detective Sharon Guffey, a former girlfriend, with whom he shares what he has found. When Tom learns of an item found in Tracie’s bedroom, he becomes suspicious of a local youth. An extraordinary Neighbourhood Watch meeting, with Tracie’s father, Owen Reed in attendance, quickly evolves into a witch hunt, and an unwise visit results in accusations and drastic actions that cannot be undone. If this novel is at first a bit of a slow burn, once the action starts it does not let up. White’s plot has a generous helping of secrets and lies, twists and surprises leading up to the climax and, while many readers will reject Tom’s suspicions, even the most astute are unlikely to pick the perpetrator much before the reveal. Most Australian readers of a certain vintage will agree that White’s depiction of both the setting and era are faultless: his use of topical news items, TV, movies, foods, songs, toys and cars firmly cements the story in the late eighties; he easily conveys the accepted attitudes and community mindsets common at the time, and the characters that populate his suburbia are wholly credible. Another Christian White winner. This unbiased review is from an uncorrected proof copy provided by NetGalley and Affirm Press.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Em__Jay

    Whatever the setting, one thing Christian White consistently brings to his plots are well thought-out twists; some you might guess at, others you don’t see coming. He lulls you into thinking you have a good understanding of a character and their motivations, and then *whoosh*, out goes the rug from under your feet. Set in 1989, the story is rich in references of the time. For those of us that were old enough, it’s a trip down memory lane. This is the fun part. Yet scratch the surface of this sub Whatever the setting, one thing Christian White consistently brings to his plots are well thought-out twists; some you might guess at, others you don’t see coming. He lulls you into thinking you have a good understanding of a character and their motivations, and then *whoosh*, out goes the rug from under your feet. Set in 1989, the story is rich in references of the time. For those of us that were old enough, it’s a trip down memory lane. This is the fun part. Yet scratch the surface of this suburb and its inhabitants, and all is not as it seems. Tom Witter, local resident and high school teacher, discovers this when he takes an active interest in helping find the missing teen, Tracie Reed. Is she really the attention-seeking runaway some say she is? Or are other malevolent forces at play? White nicely juxtaposes a seemingly ordinary suburb with the Wild Place – a small forest that backs onto residential properties. Seen in a positive light, the forest view affords residents privacy, as well as a wilderness they can enjoy. Conversely, it’s dense, it’s dark and an ideal place for nefarious activities. White continues this theme with the neighbours; we see what we want to see, or we see the façade presented to us. Throw in the disappearance of a local teenager and a community that starts looking much closer at themselves, and you soon discover that ordinary people are anything but when pushed to extremes. THE WILD PLACE is a really entertaining read. I highly recommend it. Review copy courtesy of the publisher and Netgalley.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Alex Cantone

    ‘The best thing we can do for the kids is to be there for them, together. Just promise me you’ll be careful.’ – ‘Careful?’ – ‘When you tip over the first domino,’ she said. ‘You can’t always control how the rest will fall.’ December 1989. When 17-year-old Tracie Reed goes missing from picturesque Camp Hill on the Mornington Peninsula south of Melbourne, short-staffed police dismiss it as a teenage runaway, pointing to the parent’s messy relationship (they are separated). Her parents believe other ‘The best thing we can do for the kids is to be there for them, together. Just promise me you’ll be careful.’ – ‘Careful?’ – ‘When you tip over the first domino,’ she said. ‘You can’t always control how the rest will fall.’ December 1989. When 17-year-old Tracie Reed goes missing from picturesque Camp Hill on the Mornington Peninsula south of Melbourne, short-staffed police dismiss it as a teenage runaway, pointing to the parent’s messy relationship (they are separated). Her parents believe otherwise and enlist the help of attendees at a local Neighbourhood Watch meeting, including Tom Witter, one of the missing girl’s former teachers, who takes a particular interest. The street backs onto a bushland reserve "Wild Place" and suspicion falls on Sean Fryman, teenage son of Tom’s neighbour, single-parent Debbie. Sean is going through a ‘goth’ stage, engrossing himself in heavy metal rock bands with lyrics and symbolism suggesting Satanism. Sean likens the local close-knit community to that of a snow globe – which is pretty close to the mark - the twitchy curtains and kitchen-sink dramas hide secrets, bringing out old grievances and bullying. Desperation leads to tragedy, drawing three families and the police into an uncomfortable truth. Author Christin White’s 3rd novel is well-written, evoking suburban Australia in the late eighties, but not my kind of book. Verdict: claustrophobic.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Heidi

    I can rarely resist a mystery set in a suburban neighbourhood, especially when it promises time travel back to the eighties. It’s fun to be reminded of a reality where kids played out in scrubland just like “the wild place” and there were no mobile phones to keep track of your every movement, and instead of the nosy parkers on social media there was neighbourhood watch. When a teenage girl goes missing from the suburb of Camp Hill, a close-knit neighbourhood that borders an area of wild bushlan I can rarely resist a mystery set in a suburban neighbourhood, especially when it promises time travel back to the eighties. It’s fun to be reminded of a reality where kids played out in scrubland just like “the wild place” and there were no mobile phones to keep track of your every movement, and instead of the nosy parkers on social media there was neighbourhood watch. When a teenage girl goes missing from the suburb of Camp Hill, a close-knit neighbourhood that borders an area of wild bushland called simply “Wild Place”, the whole community is thrown into turmoil. Worried parents forbid their children to play in the bush. Emergency neighbourhood watch meetings are being hastily arranged. And of course suspicion falls on the one oddball in the neighbourhood, Sean, a teenage boy who has been seen brandishing the tattoo of a pentagram and is spending most of his time indoors listening to heavy metal music. Like most neighbourhood mysteries, Wild Place relies on the slow unravelling of secrets the residents of Camp hill keep close to their hearts. Even Tom Witter, a high school teacher at the local Christian college, is perhaps not as lily white as he pretends to be. As residents decide to take matters into their own hands and point the finger at the most likely culprit – in their eyes at least – things soon escalate. I’m not sure why I didn’t love this book more, seeing it had all the elements I usually enjoy in a slow burning mystery: characters with secrets to hide, time travel back to the eighties and a few twists and turns that surprised me. But somehow I found it difficult to engage with any of the characters at an emotional level, which made this just an ok read for me. I appreciated the author’s tongue-in-cheek humour sprinkled through the pages and the characters’ dialogue; the many references to religion not so much. I also thought that the satanic rituals featured only very peripherally and could have been used much more to create the spooky atmosphere I had hoped for. There were also too many side characters that added little to the overall plot in the end. I remember saying very similar things about White’s first novel THE NOWHERE CHILD, so maybe his style just doesn’t quite gel with me (though I really enjoyed his previous book THE WIFE AND THE WIDOW). That said, this was an easy popcorn read to devour in a couple of sittings and was entertaining enough to keep me reading. WILD PLACE will appeal to readers who enjoy slower, character driven mysteries featuring neighbourhood dynamics and a large cast of characters. Set in Australia, it is also full of that slight tongue-in-cheek humour that charactersises many Australian novels and allows a bit of a chuckle whilst trying to solve the mystery. If you usually enjoy White’s writing style, then you should definitely pick this one up for some satanic time travel to the eighties. 2.5 stars Thank you to Netgalley and Affirm Press for the free electronic copy of this novel and for giving me the opportunity to provide an honest review. *blog* *facebook* *instagram*

  17. 5 out of 5

    Brooke - One Woman's Brief Book Reviews

    *www.onewomansbbr.wordpress.com *www.facebook.com/onewomansbbr **4.5 stars** Wild Place by Christian White. (2021). In the summer of 1989, local teen Tracie goes missing from the idyllic Australian suburb of Camp Hill. As rumours of Satanic rituals swirl, schoolteacher Tom becomes convinced he holds the key to the disappearance. When police won't listen, he takes matters into his own hands along with Tracie's dad and a local neighbourhood watch group. But as dark secrets are revealed and consequenc *www.onewomansbbr.wordpress.com *www.facebook.com/onewomansbbr **4.5 stars** Wild Place by Christian White. (2021). In the summer of 1989, local teen Tracie goes missing from the idyllic Australian suburb of Camp Hill. As rumours of Satanic rituals swirl, schoolteacher Tom becomes convinced he holds the key to the disappearance. When police won't listen, he takes matters into his own hands along with Tracie's dad and a local neighbourhood watch group. But as dark secrets are revealed and consequences to past actions are faced, Tom learns that the only way out of the darkness is to walk deeper into it... This author is one of my favourites so I fully expected to really enjoy this book and lo and behold that's exactly what happened. I found myself racing through the pages, totally absorbed by the story. Suspicion is quickly directed at the local young man who dresses in all black and listens to heavy metal music; one can easily picture the families in suburbia fearing this boy who fits outside the box and I think the author has depicted this very realistically. However, the twists, turns, secrets and red herrings will leave the reader guessing what exactly happened to Tracie and why, until all is revealed by the end. Overall: highly recommend this fantastic novel for any fan of mystery/thriller/suspense fiction.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Angela

    Wild Place by Christian White AA Synopsis / In the summer of 1989, a local teen goes missing from the idyllic suburb of Camp Hill in Australia. As rumours of Satanic rituals swirl, schoolteacher Tom Witter becomes convinced he holds the key to the disappearance. When the police won't listen, he takes matters into his own hands with the help of the missing girl's father and a local neighbourhood watch group. But as dark secrets are revealed and consequences to past actions are faced, Tom learns that Wild Place by Christian White AA Synopsis / In the summer of 1989, a local teen goes missing from the idyllic suburb of Camp Hill in Australia. As rumours of Satanic rituals swirl, schoolteacher Tom Witter becomes convinced he holds the key to the disappearance. When the police won't listen, he takes matters into his own hands with the help of the missing girl's father and a local neighbourhood watch group. But as dark secrets are revealed and consequences to past actions are faced, Tom learns that the only way out of the darkness is to walk deeper into it. Wild Place peels back the layers of suburbia, exposing what s hidden underneath guilt, desperation, violence and attempts to answer the question: Why do good people do bad things? My Thoughts / "When you tip over the first domino", she said. "You can't always control how the rest fall". Let's learn things. Wild Place is the third novel by author and screenwriter, Christian White. White also co-created the Netflix hit Clickbait and, co-wrote the screenplay for the 2020 Australian psychological horror film Relic. Can you remember what life was like in the late 1980's? The music; what cars were popular; what mum cooked for dinner? The fashion?? This is where our story begins, in the final weeks of 1989 in a small community of Camp Hill on Victoria's Mornington Peninsula. A local teenage girl has gone missing and police believe she's a runaway. However, Tracie Reed's disappearance stirs something in our protagonist - Tom Witter (a lifelong resident of Camp Hill and English teacher at the local high school), he remembers that he taught Tracie but can't really recall her. Tracie lived on the other side of a parcel of land the locals have nicknamed The Wild Place, which is where Tom's own house backs onto as well. Tom thinks he may have stumbled upon the reason for Tracie's disappearance, but the police are not taking him seriously. In an attempt to get to the truth, Tom teams up with the missing girl's father and a local neighbourhood watch group and quickly becomes obsessed with solving her disappearance. Wild Place has a few underlying themes - masculinity; grief; secrets. Plus, there is mention of the violence, xenophobia and the wave of hysteria and outrage around "Satanic Panic" that crept into suburban society in Australia during the 1980s. It asks us the question, 'Why do good people do bad things?'. But, back to the story, Tracie's disappearance……are there more sinister and macabre factors at play or is it something far more mundane? Family secrets and the lengths people will go to for their family are in abundance here; whether it be Tom’s relationship with his two sons, one of whom is moving away and the other pulling away, or Owen Reed’s fixation on finding out what happened to his daughter. White does well to make the reader feel like they have worked out the answer before it is revealed, only to pull the rug out from under them. To make all of these twists work, though, White has to hold back critical information, and when these hidden truths are revealed, and more importantly, who knew those truths and when… you will find yourself saying: “Oh, of course! Why didn't I see that!". The epilogue left me with my mouth open as White drops yet another surprise in at the very end. This is a compulsive read and I'm keen to read his previous releases.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Marianne

    Wild Place is the third novel by best-selling Australian screen-writer and author, Christian White. The audio version is narrated by Sam Smith. When seventeen-year-old Tracie Reed disappears, in early December, 1989, from her Camp Hill home on the Mornington Peninsula, the police soon conclude she’s another runaway. But even though her parents are in the throes of divorce, neither is convinced of this, and both are frustrated at police inaction. Nancy Reed says that her daughter reported feeling Wild Place is the third novel by best-selling Australian screen-writer and author, Christian White. The audio version is narrated by Sam Smith. When seventeen-year-old Tracie Reed disappears, in early December, 1989, from her Camp Hill home on the Mornington Peninsula, the police soon conclude she’s another runaway. But even though her parents are in the throes of divorce, neither is convinced of this, and both are frustrated at police inaction. Nancy Reed says that her daughter reported feeling watched, and she had changed her appearance in an effort to thwart this. Nancy is religious in maintaining her daily contact with the police, and vigilant of unusual activity in the area, but three weeks later, there is still no progress. At the Keel Street Neighbourhood Watch meeting, local high school English teacher Tom Witter is tasked with posting fliers about the missing girl: he checks with his sons, who claim only vague knowledge of Tracie. Summer vacation allows him time to take a good look at Wild Place, the community forest backing onto his home, and that of the Reeds, something that brings him to the attention of Detective Sharon Guffey, a former girlfriend, with whom he shares what he has found. When Tom learns of an item found in Tracie’s bedroom, he becomes suspicious of a local youth. An extraordinary Neighbourhood Watch meeting, with Tracie’s father, Owen Reed in attendance, quickly evolves into a witch hunt, and an unwise visit results in accusations and drastic actions that cannot be undone. If this novel is at first a bit of a slow burn, once the action starts it does not let up. White’s plot has a generous helping of secrets and lies, twists and surprises leading up to the climax and, while many readers will reject Tom’s suspicions, even the most astute are unlikely to pick the perpetrator much before the reveal. Most Australian readers of a certain vintage will agree that White’s depiction of both the setting and era are faultless: his use of topical news items, TV, movies, foods, songs, toys and cars firmly cements the story in the late eighties; he easily conveys the accepted attitudes and community mindsets common at the time, and the characters that populate his suburbia are wholly credible. Another Christian White winner.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Andrea

    Christian White's latest mystery/thriller is a good read, but unlike his previous two novels, I couldn't really identify that one thing that would make it stand apart from all the other good Aussie domestic thrillers that are out there. Reading his note at the end, I understand where the inspiration came from and what he thought was the one thing, but for me it wasn't strong enough to make it a memorable read. It's just before Christmas 1989, and Tracey Reed has disappeared from her Camp Hill hom Christian White's latest mystery/thriller is a good read, but unlike his previous two novels, I couldn't really identify that one thing that would make it stand apart from all the other good Aussie domestic thrillers that are out there. Reading his note at the end, I understand where the inspiration came from and what he thought was the one thing, but for me it wasn't strong enough to make it a memorable read. It's just before Christmas 1989, and Tracey Reed has disappeared from her Camp Hill home. At first the police tend to think she has run away, but her separated parents know better. The local, active Neighbourhood Watch group are doing what they can to help, which is why Tracey's former teacher, Tom Witter, is putting up posters around the suburb and exploring Wild Place, the 'community forest' on the edge of the neighbourhood. He knows which house the Reeds live in, because everyone knows everyone, and is dismayed to see that there is a view into Tracey's bedroom from the forest. Someone could have been watching her, as she had told her mother the night before she disappeared. The finger of suspicion is pointed at a number of different people in the community as secrets are revealed and the investigation gradually builds momentum. White captures the era very well and deftly conveys the sense of claustrophobia that can build in a small, suburban community when something goes wrong. If you like your beach reads a little on the darker side, this could be a perfect choice. With thanks to NetGalley and Affirm Press for an eARC to read and review.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Sharon Metcalf

    After reading two Christian White titles in the space of a few weeks I was convinced he was a new favourite author.   Now, having finished Wild Place in the space of two days I'm torn.   I needed to keep reading because it was very good and I loved the twists and surprises his other titles presented.    However,  at the same time I needed to keep putting the book aside because I found myself feeling stressed by these characters.    I was invested in them.   I  liked them but I couldn't tell if I After reading two Christian White titles in the space of a few weeks I was convinced he was a new favourite author.   Now, having finished Wild Place in the space of two days I'm torn.   I needed to keep reading because it was very good and I loved the twists and surprises his other titles presented.    However,  at the same time I needed to keep putting the book aside because I found myself feeling stressed by these characters.    I was invested in them.   I  liked them but I couldn't tell if I was dealing with an unreliable narrator, a genuinely good person making dumb, even dangerous decisions, or something else altogether.   If I wanted to find out I'd need to keep reading so that's what I did.     I'm glad I did as sure enough there were plenty of twists and oh what an unexpected ending. Set in Australia in an outer Melbourne suburb in 1989, Tom Whitter was the protagonist.    He's the protective father of two teen boys Marty and Kieran, husband to Connie, and a teacher at the local  high school.    Wild Place is a section of native land in the midst of the homes. When local teen Tracie goes missing the police treat her as a runaway and are fairly lacklustre in their search efforts.   Three weeks on, the local neighbourhood watch steps in to assist by putting up posters and Tom, having taught Tracie at some point,  takes it a bit further beginning his own investigation.     When his youngest son Kieran owns up to having snuck out to use a Ouija board with next door neighbour Sean - a boy who has recently dressed and behaved strangely, listens to dark music, has a pet snake and a tattoo of a pentagram on his arm -  Tom worries.    He heads to the library and finds himself immersed in theories about satanism and from here his suspicions about Sean ratchet up a notch or two.   It was right around this time my own nerves were jangled. What happened to Tracie on the night she went missing? Could she have run away to get back at her parents for divorcing?    What did Tracie and her best friend fight about on the night she went missing?  Were Tom's suspicions about Sean and Satanism correct?   So many questions and you'll get your answers and  some surprises to boot if you dare to take a plunge into the very well written Wild Place. My thanks to Affirm Press andNetGalley for the opportunity of reading this digital ARC in exchange for an honest review which it was my pleasure to provide.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Greg Woodland

    Wild Place is a polished genre crime thriller, Christian White’s fourth stand-alone crime book. This one revolves around satanism in the suburbs, a middle-class 1989 family neighbourhood and a missing teenage girl who might’ve gotten tied up with satanist psychos. Her teacher as one of the two detectives gives it a unique edge. The writing is taut and spare, full-tilt pace, cliff-hangers abounding and shock revelations from most characters. And quirky humour shining through the darkness. Dev Wild Place is a polished genre crime thriller, Christian White’s fourth stand-alone crime book. This one revolves around satanism in the suburbs, a middle-class 1989 family neighbourhood and a missing teenage girl who might’ve gotten tied up with satanist psychos. Her teacher as one of the two detectives gives it a unique edge. The writing is taut and spare, full-tilt pace, cliff-hangers abounding and shock revelations from most characters. And quirky humour shining through the darkness. Devoured in three long nights, until eyes were like scratched marbles. Christian White’s screenwriting background leaves its stamp on the narrative, which reads at times like a Stephen King movie. Entertaining and dark as pitch in turns. Pure roller-coaster at the end. Four and a half stars rounded up.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Ben Hobson

    Not everybody can do this as well as Christian does. This is so tightly wound I had to devour it in one day. Each part of this book is brilliant but something that stood out to me, without giving too much away, is my admiration for how Christian manages to make motivation so clear, without resorting to info dumps. I got where every character was coming from. Everybody feels authentic. Which made the whole journey even more brutal. So good!

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jessica (bibliobliss.au)

    This is a book thriller lovers will not want to miss. And fans of Christian White, Wild Place does not disappoint! It might just be my new favourite. It’s brilliant! I devoured this twisty and enthralling read. The suburban Australian setting is a familiar but eery backdrop to the story, the cast of townsfolk intriguing with lots of grey, and the time period, 1989 as the new decade approaches, delivered mounting pressure and an excellent dose of nostalgia for this child of the ‘90s. (Think casset This is a book thriller lovers will not want to miss. And fans of Christian White, Wild Place does not disappoint! It might just be my new favourite. It’s brilliant! I devoured this twisty and enthralling read. The suburban Australian setting is a familiar but eery backdrop to the story, the cast of townsfolk intriguing with lots of grey, and the time period, 1989 as the new decade approaches, delivered mounting pressure and an excellent dose of nostalgia for this child of the ‘90s. (Think cassettes & the legendary dessert that is a Viennetta!) Christian White dials the tension and dilemmas up a notch with each chapter and I could feel the screws tightening & the pressure mounting. The very last page had me gasping. The ending was on my mind for days. If you’ve read Christian White’s earlier novels, you must read this book. If you haven’t read his books before, this is a great one to start with! Thanks to NetGalley and Affirm Press for an e-ARC of this book.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer (JC-S)

    ‘Somewhere along the way, something had gone wrong.’ December 1989, Camp Hill, Victoria. Seventeen-year-old Tracie Reed goes missing. The police think she is just another runaway who will turn up in a couple of days. But neither her mother Nancy, nor her father Owen, believe that. The Reeds are divorcing and while that has unsettled Tracie, neither of them thinks she has run away. Camp Hill is a small suburb, the kind of neighbourhood where most neighbours know each other. There is an active neigh ‘Somewhere along the way, something had gone wrong.’ December 1989, Camp Hill, Victoria. Seventeen-year-old Tracie Reed goes missing. The police think she is just another runaway who will turn up in a couple of days. But neither her mother Nancy, nor her father Owen, believe that. The Reeds are divorcing and while that has unsettled Tracie, neither of them thinks she has run away. Camp Hill is a small suburb, the kind of neighbourhood where most neighbours know each other. There is an active neighbourhood watch, and no shortage of people who observe those around them. Oil leaks under cars, missing garden gnomes are important topics of conversation, as are rumours about satanic rituals. When Tracie goes missing, other parents are concerned. Teenagers are told not to venture into the Wild Place, the community forest behind several homes (including Tracie Reed’s). When the Keel Street Neighbourhood Watch meets after Tracie’s disappearance, local schoolteacher, Tom Witter, married father of two sons, is tasked with posting missing person flyers. Tom is surprised that both his sons claim only vague knowledge of Tracie, but he quickly becomes focussed on a local youth. Tom and Tracie’s father Owen go on a hunt of their own which will not end well. The search for Tracie puts this small suburban community under the microscope. Everyone, it seems, has something to hide. An old school friend of Tom’s, Detective Sharon Guffey, becomes involved in the case, bringing back memories for both. There are plenty of twists and quite a few surprises as this story moves to its conclusion. While a couple of aspects can be figured out fairly easily, I was surprised by the final twist. This is Mr White’s third novel, and the second I have read. Highly recommended. Note: My thanks to NetGalley and Affirm Press for providing me with a free electronic copy of this book for review purposes. Jennifer Cameron-Smith

  26. 4 out of 5

    Jeanette

    Many thanks to Netgalley and Affirm Press for the opportunity to read and comment on this new novel of Christian White. This book is pretty fast paced, fabulous and will hold the reader's attention for the whole book. The ending is a little bizarre considering the actions by Tom and more so wife Connie. The story starts within a pretty ordinary neighbourhood and a cul de sac comes to mind, where it's possible to view every house from every other house and the adjoining bushland area, commonly refe Many thanks to Netgalley and Affirm Press for the opportunity to read and comment on this new novel of Christian White. This book is pretty fast paced, fabulous and will hold the reader's attention for the whole book. The ending is a little bizarre considering the actions by Tom and more so wife Connie. The story starts within a pretty ordinary neighbourhood and a cul de sac comes to mind, where it's possible to view every house from every other house and the adjoining bushland area, commonly referred to as the Wild Place. This neighbourhood is popular, a little bit of green amongst the suburban concrete and brick. The community has an active Neighbourhood Watch where most of the residents turn up to the meetings which are pretty low key considering nothing much out of the ordinary ever happens. However when a teenage girl goes missing, the mood of the meeting becomes very different with Tom, the main character bringing along the father of the girl, Owen, who has moved out of home, divorce looming. Owen is a formidable man and Tom is in his moment, a man who throughout his school years at the school he is now teaching suffered terrible bullying due to his "tick" (Tourette) while mild, is still noticeable but now with his conviction of apparent satanic happenings within their perfect neighbourhood he appears to have become another person. The disappearance of Tracie has been met with a pretty lukewarm approach from the Police, given their experience of teenagers. However this is not the case for her mother Nancy after Tracie's strange return to the family home just prior to her disappearance, giving Nancy a shock along with seeing her hair dyed blonde and then voicing her concern of someone watching her she becomes convinced that Tracie has been abducted. Nancy's world is falling apart, the separation caused by Owen's infidelity, her future for her daughter and herself is enough concern without this added anxiety of Tracie's disappearance. Tom and Connie are dealing with their own issues of older son Marty moving out of home to flat with mates. This is having quite an effect on Tom, a bit of a midlife crisis and with the freedom of school holidays Tom's imagination begins to take hold regarding the missing girl after he brings home the posters from Neighbourhood Watch. The photo of the missing Tracie, causes younger son Kieran to panic, meeting up early morning at Wild Place with his mate Ricky, they then go to see Sean, the neighbourhood bad boy who had given them the séance instructions for their ouija board. At the time of Tracie's disappearance they had held a séance in Wild Place, Sean going all weird and having a nosebleed. Kieran is spooked by the coincidence. Tom goes to Wild Place to do a bit of sleuthing only to be spotted, reported to Police and while having a friendly chat with Nancy, he is set upon by those in uniform until Detective Sharon Guffey arrives. Tom is in a desperate state at the thought of being accused of Tracie's disappearance. Fortunately for him Sharon is an old mate from school days so this is put to rest. Returning home he discovers Kieran and Ricky burning the ouija board. Sending Ricky home he then tackles Kieran for his explanation. From here on, Tom is on the case.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Theresa Smith

    This novel just confirms what I have maintained all throughout my life: don’t get involved with your neighbours. Wild Place is the first novel of Christian White’s that I have read although it is his third release. I can see now why everyone loves his books! He writes in a casual manner that makes for deceptively light reading, but beneath the surface is a darkly simmering cesspool of domestic drama that erupts into violence with remarkable ease. I loved the way Christian demonstrated the rapid w This novel just confirms what I have maintained all throughout my life: don’t get involved with your neighbours. Wild Place is the first novel of Christian White’s that I have read although it is his third release. I can see now why everyone loves his books! He writes in a casual manner that makes for deceptively light reading, but beneath the surface is a darkly simmering cesspool of domestic drama that erupts into violence with remarkable ease. I loved the way Christian demonstrated the rapid way in which people fall in with each other. You put a bunch of nosy people together, threaten their orderly existence, throw in a few comments about the virtue of their children being at risk and viola: the witch hunt is on! The consequences of this were far reaching and I was horrified by the eventual outcome and deeply saddened by how judgemental people can be about someone who has chosen to be different. Wild Place is a twisting and compulsive read. I’m keen now to read his previous two releases as I enjoyed his style and techniques of misdirection. Although, I have to say, I had an inkling that a particular character wasn’t all that they seemed and was glad to see my suspicions realised – sometimes I can be a little judgemental on characters, so it was good to see that I was on the mark this time and not just hating on someone for the sake of it. I enjoyed revisiting the late 1980s and felt that Christian did a fantastic job on inserting pop culture references into the narrative to give it an authentic sense of the era. This novel cast my mind back to my teenage years in the early 1990s and the hype around Satanism that was prevalent at the time. I remember the fear this generated back then, and I think he really nailed that in terms of recreating the mood and feel of what was going on at that time. Highly recommended. I challenge you to put it down once you’ve started! Thanks to the publisher for the review copy.

  28. 4 out of 5

    ShrinkReads

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. 2.5 stars. SPOILERS BELOW I loved Christian White's previous two books, but this one just didn't work for me. I don't know if the pacing was off? Or maybe it was because Tom spent exactly one day reading books about satan and (view spoiler)[ off he went to ruin a kid's life (hide spoiler)] ? After reading the author's note, my sense was thematically the book was about what fear can drive ~good people to do, but (view spoiler)[ Tom was just a straight up terrible person. As apparently was his wif 2.5 stars. SPOILERS BELOW I loved Christian White's previous two books, but this one just didn't work for me. I don't know if the pacing was off? Or maybe it was because Tom spent exactly one day reading books about satan and (view spoiler)[ off he went to ruin a kid's life (hide spoiler)] ? After reading the author's note, my sense was thematically the book was about what fear can drive ~good people to do, but (view spoiler)[ Tom was just a straight up terrible person. As apparently was his wife? (hide spoiler)] That didn't get a gasp so much as a huh.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Laura Tee

    Let me preface this review by saying that I’ve enjoyed all of Christian White’s other mystery novels. They’re a bit by-numbers but I’ve always found the resolutions satisfying and even unique. But ‘Wild Place’ is appalling. The dialogue is terrible. The characters are dull and unbelievable. The implicit misogyny is disappointing. And the editing is atrocious (at some point a character accuses someone of “gaslighting” them and it’s set in the 90s). Bad bad bad bad.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Bianca

    Wild Place is Christian White's third novel. It's a short and well-paced crime novel, with the usual red hearings, there weren't many plot holes or unbelievable aspects to it. My rating is about how I felt during and after finishing it, not about the novel's quality. I've got to take a break from reading this genre, no matter how much readers rave about this title or that title. Wild Place is Christian White's third novel. It's a short and well-paced crime novel, with the usual red hearings, there weren't many plot holes or unbelievable aspects to it. My rating is about how I felt during and after finishing it, not about the novel's quality. I've got to take a break from reading this genre, no matter how much readers rave about this title or that title.

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