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The Love of a Bad Man (Laura Elizabeth Woollett, Scribe)

The Love of a Bad Man offers what feels like a genuinely fresh reading experience: a short-fiction collection that marries true crime with literary fiction. In each discrete story, Melbourne-based author Laura Elizabeth Woollett focusses on a duped (or duplicitous) real-life woman who attaches herself to a criminal. From the wife of Hitler to the sister wives of Charles Manson, we enter their minds and try to fathom how they fell into the clutches of these very bad men. The book ends with a brief appendix, which outlines the history of each couple and their heinous crimes. Of course, such details only make a second reading all the more chilling. This is a book best devoured in small doses. Amid the mind games and bloodlust, there’s barely a chance for the reader to breathe. It’s therefore best reserved for mature readers. Interestingly, Woollett’s debut novel, The Wood of Suicides, was released in early 2014 by a small US independent but news of it barely registered in the author’s home country. Her 2016 release is part of a two-book deal with Scribe, and following this accomplished collection we’re sure to hear a lot more from this talented writer in coming years.

Emily Laidlaw is a Melbourne-based writer and editor


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