by  Dinuka McKenzie

Publisher: HarperCollins Australia 2024

Publisher’s blurb

A suicide. A shooting. And a reckoning, decades in the making.

Weeks from Christmas in the sweltering heat of summer, Detective Kate Miles’ estranged brother, Luke Grayling, returns home to Esserton to farewell a childhood friend – Ant Reed, dead by suicide. Within days of the funeral, another young man, Marcus Rowntree, is found shot dead in the back paddock of his property. 

Almost twenty years ago, Luke, Ant and Marcus were best mates in high school and now two of the three friends are dead. A tragic coincidence? Or is there something more sinister connecting the three men?

When Luke is identified as a person of interest in Marcus’s death, Kate once again finds herself in the middle of a media storm, sidelined from the case and battling accusations of conflict of interest. As press attention deepens, and uncomfortable truths about Luke’s personal life and past events come to light, Kate is forced to contend between loyalty to the police force, and the bonds of friendship and blood.


By Lily Malone

Tipping Point is the third book by Aussie author, Dinuka McKenzie, featuring Detective Kate Miles. I’ve read the first, The Torrent, in which Kate is heavily pregnant, but I’ve not read the second book, Taken.
Tipping Point steps in with the second of Kate’s kids now a not-quite toddler. I found myself quickly remembering the characters from The Torrent, such as Kate’s father, Gray; her husband, Geoff, and the mishmash of cop characters: Josh, Darnley and Harris. It didn’t take much to feel at home with the familiar faces and the setting of country town Esserton.
I like rural settings for crime stories, much along the lines of Jane Harper, or Chris Hammer, and I love Australian women writers. So, in short, this book is my kind of jam.
And I did enjoy it. One of the characters annoyed me so much though it meant I didn’t love it. My mum on the other hand, who read it after me – she thought it was great. She didn’t pick the perp and found it an absolute page-turner. Mum hasn’t read the other Kate Miles books.
As the story begins, Kate’s brother Luke heads home to country Esserton, jobless, and heart-broken, to attend the funeral of an old school buddy. For various reasons, Luke quickly alienates his family, and soon, to go with regrets over the incident that lost him his job, he becomes a prime suspect in the death of the second of his former school buddies.
This is about when Luke began to annoy me. There are many spats between Luke, Kate and their father, and Luke keeps running away when he needs to man up and tell the truth about his career and the loss of his job. For someone in the crosshairs of the law as a person of interest, he is incredibly blasé about the trouble he’s in (preferring beers and weed to make it all go away).
Kate as a heroine is easy to root for as she constantly strives for recognition and standing in a mostly male dominated workplace. She’s a new mum with a young family, trying to find time to ‘fit’ everything in and share herself between home and family, plus trying to get her brother and her father back on firmer ground with their own relationship. As a reader, it’s not hard to find a kinship with Kate and wish her well.
We learn quite early in the story that the reason these three old school buddies, Ant, Marcus, and Luke, are in a killer’s sights relates to an incident at a party when they were 18. 
But Luke doesn’t take anything seriously, he’s too caught up in what has gone wrong at his workplace and given he doesn’t connect the deaths of Ant and Marcus to the 18th birthday party, he’s mostly oblivious to any danger he could be in.
While Tipping Point is a solid and enjoyable read, I didn’t quite feel that tension I recall from The Torrent. For me, the crime/mystery element of Tipping Point fell a little short, but I really did enjoy the characters, particularly Kate and her family, and the broader small-town police network and what they go through in the name of the job.