Only Killers and Thieves: A Review


I received an early copy of this book as Bookperks PageTurner! Bookperks is hosted through Harpercollins publishing.  It is intended to be a way for readers to provide input into the publishing world.  It does have its perks….since all I did was fill out a survey of what books I enjoy reading and then received this in the mail.  No problem Harpercollins.  I shall provide my thoughts to you. Please continue to send me books!

It is 1885 and the McBride family are trying to survive a crippling drought that is slowly eroding their lives and hopes: their cattle are starved, and the family can no longer purchase the supplies they need on their depleted credit. When the rain finally comes, it’s a miracle. For a moment, the scrubland flourishes and the remote swimming hole fills. Returning home from an afternoon swim, fourteen-year-old Tommy and sixteen-year-old Billy McBride discover a scene of heartbreaking carnage.

I have to say that I really enjoyed this debut novel. Harpercollins is really standing behind this one and I totally get why now that I have completed it. I  would not have picked this up on my own.  I found this to be a meaningful and sweeping epic tale of two brothers seeking revenge while learning what it really means to be a man in the Australian Outback of the 1880s.

I was incredibly impressed by the realness of the characters. This is a tale of savagery and race which is in no way sugar-coated. The issues of race in this novel are raw, realistic and potent. The struggle  the main character of Tommy is experiencing especially powerful. Tommy is on the brink of being a man but more importantly he is struggling to understand what it means to be a good man. After a horrific event within his family he is thrust into a potentially transformative experience. Will he follow the expected path or will stay true to himself. The beauty of this novel is that sometimes you really wonder if he going to make it thru.

If you are looking for a sweeping epic tale that contains well-developed characters then this is the perfect book for you. I found myself disgusted with certain characters and heartbroken for others. That is the beauty of a well written novel. When you find yourself hating a fictional character that means you are truly invested in the story.



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