Cover image for Blood junction
Blood junction
Carver, Caroline, 1959-
Personal Author:
Warner Books edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Mysterious Press/Warner Books, 2002.

Physical Description:
323 pages ; 24 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
X Adult Fiction Mystery/Suspense
X Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks
X Adult Fiction Mystery/Suspense

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A Mystery Guild Featured Alternate In a stunning debut novel that won her the prestigious Crime Writers' Association New Writer's Award, Caroline Carver presents a gutwrenching, provocative adventure thriller set against the eerie, exotic backdrop of the Australian Outback--where a woman's search for the truth about horrific crimes will bring her to the crossroads of her life.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

With the exception of Patricia Carlon's noir thrillers, the Australian outback has been underused as a setting for crime fiction published in the U.S. Don't be surprised if this strong debut from U.K. native Carver starts a trend. We feel the alien outback landscape immediately as Sydney journalist India Kane arrives in the remote town of Cooinda for a reunion with an old friend and walks into a scene right out of Bad Day at Black Rock--tight-lipped townspeople clearly hiding something. It gets ugly quickly when the friend turns up murdered, along with a local cop, and India, the outsider, is targeted as the killer. From there, the plot spreads its wings (a bit too widely) to encompass the 50-year-old massacre of an Aboriginal family, the development of a deadly new biological weapon, and the mystery of India's heritage. Carver has some trouble keeping all her thematic balls in the air, but that typical rookie shortcoming pales beside her charismatic heroine and her marvelous ability to use landscape to create mood. This could be the beginning of something special. --Bill Ott

Publisher's Weekly Review

This award-winning debut (Crime Writers' Association Debut Dagger) flings journalist India Kane into a nightmarish adventure of close calls and surprising escapes. India (yes, sometimes people call her "Indi") travels to the remote Australian bush town of Cooinda (aka Blood Junction) to visit best friend and fellow journalist Lauren Kennedy. Instead of meeting her friend, India finds herself with a broken-down car, a busted alibi and a mob of town folk ready to hang a murder charge on her. In 1952, machete-wielding men massacred an Aboriginal family. What's the connection between this crime and Lauren's murder? Carver isn't afraid to take chances as she pushes the limits of credulity by dropping India into a situation where all the odds are against her and she must find allies and answers in the most unlikely places. Allies like Polly, a shy, sly Aboriginal girl or the unknown, unseen benefactor who takes India's part on occasion. Our heroine must not only use her journalistic training and instincts to uncover the evil secrets hidden in Cooinda but also draw on all her inner strength and survival skills. Carver wrings plenty of suspense, even terror, out of India's predicaments without ever resorting to the "buckets of blood" approach. The author vividly renders the harsh Australian outback and candidly and effectively presents Australia's shameful treatment of "Abos" (Aboriginals). This exceptional first mystery should find as eager an audience here as it did across the seas. Agent, Elizabeth Wright. (Sept. 24) Forecast: A British native who spent 10 years in Australia, Carver completed the London to Cape Town 4x4 Adventure Drive in 1998. Her unusual background would make her a natural for the talk-show circuit. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

In her stunning debut, Carver depicts the Australian outback with a precision reminiscent of Nevada Barr, while her characterizations and plotting echo Denise Mina's gritty Glasgow series. This taut thriller opens with the deadly massacre of an Aboriginal family, which took place almost 50 years ago in the town of Cooinda, earning it the nickname "Blood Junction." A half-century later, journalist India Kane is drawn to the town with the promise of information about her own past. What she gets instead is jail time, having been arrested for a double murder. India knows no one and must rely on strangers in her efforts to figure out the connections among the murders, the lost generation of Aborigines, and her own tangled history. Though the novel is set in present-day Australia, the author deftly evokes the claustrophobic feeling of a 19th-century Western frontier town, with no way out for India. This winner of the Crime Writers' Association's Debut Dagger Award is highly recommended for all public libraries. Jane Jorgenson, Alicia Ashman Lib., Madison, WI (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.



1999 INDIA KANE LOOKED UP AND DOWN THE ROAD. THE WIND was blowing hard from the north, hot as a blowtorch and whipping fine grains of sand in her face. The air scorched her nostrils as she breathed. There was no shade, no respite from the sun and sand. She was already thirsty, but caution prevented her from drinking any water. She'd save the small amount she had for when night fell, when it would do her most good. Hypnotized by the raw heat, she stared southwards, where the road curved around a large clay pan. Then she gazed northwards, at the broad sandy arrow streaking relentlessly into the distance. No cars, no trucks, no rescue in sight. The horizon seemed to waver as she stared, but it was only the heat haze and her dried scratchy eyes playing tricks. India turned to her stricken Toyota Corolla and cursed it under her breath. Then she cursed the wind and heat and the interminable flies, Toyota generally, the rental-car company and then her work, for putting her here. She'd been stranded in this flat baking tray of scalding wilderness for three hours now and the worm of worry that another vehicle might never come along had grown into a snake that writhed and squirmed in her belly. The only car she'd seen since she had turned off for Cooinda had been a 4 x 4 ute, a pickup, travelling in the opposite direction. That had been around twelve-thirty, four and a half hours ago. In silent desperation, she tried the ignition again. Nothing. No electrics, no power, nothing. The inside of the car was like a furnace and smelled of hot plastic. She clambered back outside and stared at the engine block for what must have been the twentieth time. What she knew about engines she could write on a pinhead. What she knew about survival was fractionally more and she had no intention of putting herself at risk by leaving her car yet. She was pretty sure Cooinda was only thirty or forty kilometers away, but she'd last two seconds in this heat. She would wait until it was dark, then follow the road into town. There was no point going the other way. The last homestead she'd seen was about the same distance away as Cooinda. India sat huddled beside the flank of the car, trying to shelter from the dry, insistent wind. She cupped both hands over her nose in an attempt to prevent herself from breathing more dust, but it didn't seem to help. Her nose and lungs and mouth were being layered with the stuff. She wanted to light a cigarette but it was too windy. She thought about her friend Lauren, waiting for her at the Royal Hotel in Cooinda. Thought about an ice cold beer, ice cold water, any water. Pulled her mind back to practicalities. Found enormous comfort in knowing Lauren would raise the alarm at the end of the day, come looking for her. Maybe she wouldn't have to walk into town after all. She rested her head against the car's bodywork and closed her eyes. Breathed in dry air like fire. She was dozing when she thought she heard a faint hum in the distance. From the south. She scrambled to her feet, praying it wasn't a plane, or a tractor or a four-wheel-drive car taking a shortcut off the road. Then she saw it, a glimmering black saloon going like a rocket. All four wheels were locked as it drifted around the clay pan, settled briefly, then surged forward with no apparent lessening of power. India decided against standing in the middle of the road and simply stood by her car with her arm out, knowing the raised bonnet would have the desired effect; the outback code was always to help another in need. The car hummed towards her, gravel and dust pluming behind it like a meteor tail. India gave a little wave. The car shot straight past her without stopping, a BMW with smoked-glass windows. India stood in great choking clouds of grit and sand with her eyes shut. When she opened them, the flat-six engine note was at least a kilometer away. "You little shit," she said, astonished. Unless she'd witnessed it with her own eyes, she'd never have believed a fellow Australian would abandon a stranded motorist in the outback. Perhaps he's from the City, she thought, and doesn't realize that in the bush things are different. That the wind sucks all the moisture out of you until your lips crack and start bleeding, and your throat is so dry you can't swallow. That if you're stranded for several days twenty liters of water per person will only just suffice, and I've only two. That if you don't die of thirst or sunstroke, you might die of snakebite. Brown snakes live out here. Their venom is one of the most potent known. And should you disturb one, the brown snake won't think twice, it will attack with a ferocity and viciousness you won't believe. India stood and watched the dust settle behind the BMW. I don't care where the little sod is from, she suddenly thought with a spurt of anger, because if I ever come across that shitty BMW again, I will lob it with Molotov cocktails. Not that I know how to make one, but I'll learn. Then she looked upwards into the dazzling blue-white skies. Please, God, don't let every driver do that to me. I don't want to die out here. (Continues...) Excerpted from Blood Junction by Caroline Carver Copyright © 2001 by Caroline Carver Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.