Pine Creek

Fiction - Crime
410 Pages
Reviewed on 07/25/2023
Buy on Amazon

This author participates in the Readers' Favorite Free Book Program, which is open to all readers and is completely free. The author will provide you with a free copy of their book in exchange for an honest review. You and the author will discuss what sites you will post your review to and what kind of copy of the book you would like to receive (eBook, PDF, Word, paperback, etc.). To begin, click the purple email icon to send this author a private email.

This author participates in the Readers' Favorite Book Review Exchange Program, which is open to all authors and is completely free. Simply put, you agree to provide an honest review an author's book in exchange for the author doing the same for you. What sites your reviews are posted on (B&N, Amazon, etc.) and whether you send digital (eBook, PDF, Word, etc.) or hard copies of your books to each other for review is up to you. To begin, click the purple email icon to send this author a private email, and be sure to describe your book or include a link to your Readers' Favorite review page or Amazon page.

This author participates in the Readers' Favorite Book Donation Program, which was created to help nonprofit and charitable organizations (schools, libraries, convalescent homes, soldier donation programs, etc.) by providing them with free books and to help authors garner more exposure for their work. This author is willing to donate free copies of their book in exchange for reviews (if circumstances allow) and the knowledge that their book is being read and enjoyed. To begin, click the purple email icon to send this author a private email. Be sure to tell the author who you are, what organization you are with, how many books you need, how they will be used, and the number of reviews, if any, you would be able to provide.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Nino Lobiladze for Readers' Favorite

Len Hamilton's farm near Pine Creek, New South Wales, keeps a dark secret. In the winter of 1989, a teenage boy named Alec Stynes was found dead. The police concluded that Alec was the victim of a random hit-and-run. But Sara Hamilton suspects that Alec's case is not as easy as it seems. Sara was just 15 years old in 1989. Her overly strict and controlling father, Len, used to intimidate Sara, her mother, Elena, her sister, Anne, and her brother, Robbie, with horrifying outbursts of anger. Sara wanted but never dared to befriend Alec, a bright and talented kid always wearing a distinctive, colorful jacket. At that time, the world was terrified by a pandemic called AIDS. Almost every person standing out from the crowd was considered gay and blamed for spreading the deadly disease. Ten years after Alec's death, Sara was tortured by guilt and a broken heart. But the truth started to resurface and shake the very foundation of Pine Creek's community. Pine Creek by Kamille Roach is a breathtaking read for fans of the thriller, suspense, crime, and family drama genres.

Pine Creek is around 400 pages, but you will forget the book's length when you open this captivating novel that leaves a lasting impression. The tension builds from the first page and every new turn in the plot leads to another unexpected revelation. At the same time, Pine Creek is almost a mundane story. Any family can become the victim of a domestic tyrant. Len Hamilton is a perfect example of what we now call toxic masculinity. His cruelty is senseless and unbearable. But this thoughtful author reveals that Len's demeanor has its roots in his family tragedy. Pine Creek's other characters are believable as well. "She knew that some of the deepest bruises were invisible," writes author Kamille Roach about Sara, who suffers from anxiety and panic attacks. I felt a deep emotional connection with Sara, traumatized but determined to find the truth about her family's possible involvement in Alec's death. Kamille raises her voice against intolerance toward gay people, foreigners, or insecure single mothers. She describes a small town full of hypocrisy and prejudice, warning us against this. Overall, Pine Creek, a powerful social and family drama novel, is on par with other great Australian and world literature works.

Alma Boucher

In Pine Creek, a crime novel by Kamille Roach, Lillian Stynes was divorced and lived in Pine Creek. Her son Alec lived with his father in Sydney and visited Lillian at weekends. There were rumors that Alec was gay, and his behavior and clothing added to the speculation. The Hamiltons were Lillian and Alec's neighbors, and Sara Hamilton was intrigued by Alec. She wanted to warn Alec about the gossip doing the rounds since she had witnessed a vehicle stopping and a man throwing a stone at him. Alec went missing, and Sara was interrogated in her father's presence. Sara was unwilling to tell everything that she knew in front of her father. When Sara went back to the farm ten years later, she uncovered secrets that had evaded her when she was only fifteen.

Pine Creek by Kamille Roach is complicated and intriguing. I was on an emotional roller coaster. The story is fast-paced and full of action. There was always a surprise waiting around the corner and the suspense kept me on the edge of my seat. It was a page-turner, and I could not put it down. I was hooked from the first page. The characters were authentic and relatable. My favorite was Sara. Despite her age, she just wanted to do whatever she could to help her mom and Alec. The book was brilliantly written, and the sensitive topic of homosexuality was handled with great care. This story was much more than I expected. I had to wait until the end to find the answers that I sought. I could not have wished for a better conclusion.

Rosie Malezer

In Pine Creek by Kamille Roach, Sara Hamilton is a sixteen-year-old farm girl who lives with her sister, brother, and parents at Hamilton Farm. Sara's father raises his children with an iron fist and is physically and verbally abusive to their mother. When the Styne family moves in next door, the rumor mill goes into overdrive about Alec Styne's sexuality. AIDS is first and forefront in the news each evening, as it is killing so many people. Being branded gay is a death sentence to most, depending on whose ears the rumor reaches. Starring in his school's upcoming musical, young Alec Styne rehearses his singing on the farm and is labeled as a gay man rejected due to his flamboyance and love of music. Interested in befriending Alec, Sara leaves a note in his letterbox that she wants to meet him. That night, Alec is found dead. Written off as a suicide or a hit-and-run, time passes as the Hamilton children grow up and leave the farm. When Sara returns to care for the farm ten years later, she is assaulted by a masked attacker. Sara's mind goes into overdrive, and she slowly starts to remember and begins to find clues as to the real reason Alec Styne died all those years ago, with each clue more shocking than the one before. If only she can stay alive long enough to tell Alec's story.

Kamille Roach's incredible tale of murder and mystery is one which I chose because I grew up on a farm in Queensland. Pine Creek is written beautifully, with such vivid detail that it easily took me back to my childhood. The whodunit aspect was quite clever, as glimpses of Sara's childhood memories take her back to places she had not thought of in a long time. With neighbors living so far away (compared to suburbia), making friends with new people was difficult. I started to get nervous toward the end of Pine Creek as all the clues led to something so shocking that I wanted to cuddle up with my pets so that they could keep me safe. The familiar surroundings, the wonderful 80s music, and the native animals that make Australia so perfect were warmly welcome to this Aussie expat, and I longed for my days on the farm to be relived; however, not in such a harrowing and terrifying way as those memories in Sara Hamilton's childhood. I look forward to reading more amazing books by Kamille Roach and recommend Pine Creek to readers who truly enjoy brilliantly written murder mysteries. Great job.

Anne-Marie Reynolds

Pine Creek by Kamille Roach is crime fiction at its best. It was 1989, and a bitterly cold winter’s night in Pine Creek. Alec was 14 years old, a real city boy at heart, and before he went to bed, he told his mom a secret. She would never see him again. In the weeks leading up to his disappearance, Sara, their new neighbor, observed things. Not allowed near Alec or his mom, she saw a stranger threatening Alec, and then she saw Alec meeting in secret with someone Sara knew. These events meant nothing on their own, but when Alec disappeared, they suddenly become important. However, Sara’s father was not to be trifled with, so she kept her mouth shut. Ten years on, Sara returned home, still tormented with guilt over what happened. But what she then uncovered would haunt her even more as she discovered that some secrets are never too far away from your front door.

Pine Creek is Kamille Roach’s second book. This is a crime story you won’t want to put down. It draws you in, gradually drags you into its net, and holds you fast until you are done reading. Even then, you won’t forget it in a hurry. It’s a spine-chilling story but heartbreaking at the same time as it talks of abuse and its far-reaching effects on the victims. The characters are amazing, developed into real people that you will find likable and relatable. The plot thickens as you read, gradually unfolding before you as it twists and turns its way to the end. This is one of the most riveting stories you will ever encounter, and you’ll get through it quickly simply because you’ll do it in one sitting. A great book and Roach is a must-read new author.

Antoinette Wessels

Pine Creek by Kamille Roach is an exceptionally great mystery set in the countryside of Australia. It follows the life of Sara Hamilton and the effect the death of her next-door neighbor, Alec Stynes, has on her life. Sara is raised on a farm with her brother, Robbie, and sister, Anne. Her father is an extreme male chauvinist, who manages his household with an iron fist, and her mother is the one who tries to keep the peace. After the death of Alec, the Hamilton household starts to unravel, and one after the other, the children, including Sara, leave in search of something better. Returning after ten years, Sara discovers more to Alec’s death than meets the eye. And some family secrets are better kept in the dark.

One thing that stood out immensely for me in Pine Creek’s pages was the excellent character development. Sara starts as a meek young girl who follows the rules and does not question her father’s authority. She ends the story as a strong independent character who grew through life’s hard lessons. Kamille Roach’s descriptions of each scene were written in a way that made me feel as if I was right next to the character, experiencing everything they did. The story takes turns and twists I never expected, and the eventual outcome of Pine Creek is one I will not easily forget. To say the eventual turn of events surprised me is putting it lightly. This novel is a must-read, and I enjoyed it greatly.