Review: The Rush by Michelle Prak

Adelaide author Michelle Prak's debut is a tense outback thriller, set in the midst of a flood. The first drops of rain have just started to fall when Quinn--on her way to shelter at the pub where she works--discovers a body. Meanwhile at the pub, owner Andrea is waiting with her three-year-old son for her husband to return, when a bikie who was giving her trouble earlier in the day bangs on the door and begs to be sheltered from the storm. Cut between these stories is one that unfolds a day earlier of a group of four backpackers on a journey from Adelaide to Darwin. They are not long into the journey when it becomes clear that something isn't quite right in the group. But who is it Hayley and Livia should fear most? Hayley's controlling boyfriend Scott, or arrogant Joost? Or should they fear both.

The Rush is an interesting outback tale in an unusual setting, with the characters isolated by storms and an impeding flood, rather than the typical hot outback terrain. As the story cuts between two different timelines I found myself wondering just who from the group Quinn had found and which of the others would survive (if anyone). Author Michelle Prak does an excellent job of depicting the isolation of the flooded outback, and the vulnerability of the main characters. Quinn, Andrea, Hayley and Livia were all quite believable. My heart broke for Hayley, the fun loving eternal optimist who just wanted to have a holiday in the hope of getting things back on track with Scott. The commentary on toxic online communities and how young men can become indoctrinated was also quite interesting.

Overall The Rush is an original and well crafted thriller that works all the better for its unusual setting.


Thank you to Simon and Schuster Australia for my copy of The Rush.


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