Adult book reviews, Book Reviews

Criminals by James O’Loghlin – ARC Review




My Rating ~ Five Stars


RELEASE DATE:  5 July 2022

Format: Paperback

Pages: 326

Publisher: Bonnier Echo

Source: DMCPR Media





One robbery. Three people. No heroes. Much loved ABC presenter James O’Loghlin’s novel explores why and how ordinary people turn to crime.

What makes a criminal? One May 2019 morning, two masked gunmen rob Blacktown Leagues Club. What happens next will change the lives of three people. Twenty-three-year-old Dean Acton is a heroin addict trying to get off the break and enter treadmill by pulling one big job. Sarah Hamilton, also twenty-three, is a police officer on stress leave, working behind the bar, trying to forget the mistake she made that caused the death of her fiancée. Mary Wallace, a forty-five-year-old ex-schoolteacher who lives and drinks alone, feels that her life is already over, and has made plans to formalise that arrangement.

When Sarah realises there is something familiar about one of the gunmen, she is drawn back to the thrill of investigating, and can identify Dean. Dean is overjoyed at his $12,000 haul, but before he can decide whether to spend it on a new start in Queensland or a few months’ worth of heroin, he’s arrested, and in Long Bay jail everyone wants to find out where he’s stashed the cash.

Mary is inspired by the robbery. Pottery and French classes haven’t jolted her out of her depression, but perhaps embarking on a life of crime will. She starts small, and then ups the ante. When she, too, is arrested and her lawyer tries to discover why a respectable middle-class woman would steal constipation medication, will she be able to reveal what caused her to give up on teaching and everything else?
Dean learns that the only person who identified him at the robbery was Sarah and is tempted by a plan that will ensure she won’t ever be able to give evidence against him. But is he prepared to go that far? And if he does, will he ever come back?

As Dean’s trial approaches, Mary, Dean and Sarah must work out why they have become who they are, and whether they have the courage to change.





Thank you so much to DMCPR Media for providing me with a copy of this book, in exchange for an honest review!


Dean is scrambling through life, break and enter, head to the dealer, score, shoot, repeat. Sick of the small time cash he’s making from house break ins, he decides to go for the big score. An armed robbery at the local club. They’re just replica guns, so if his mate Kenny can keep his mouth shut, they should be in and out and set for …well, a while at least. What could possibly go wrong?

Of course, the plan goes up the creek when the bartender is a cop on stress leave, and even worse, Dean recognizes her from school and club regular, Mary, has chosen that particular day to leave the world, so she won’t be taking any orders from the likes of Dean and Kenny. 

I absolutely loved this book! Watching Dean, Sarah and Mary’s lives unravel and discovering all that had gone on in their past, had me feeling shocked and sad, but honestly, Dean still managed to make parts of the book so damn funny. I was bouncing from tears of sadness to one’s of laughter all over the place😄 

Criminals felt like pure 90’s Aussie humour to me and hey, I have no idea if that will translate well to other countries, but that’s ok, it was damn perfect to me 😄 If you’ve been feeling like your crime books are getting a bit same old same old lately, make sure you drop everything and jump right into this one!




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