Book Review: Nikki Mottram’s Crows Nest is an intense, suspenseful thriller set in country Queensland

Crows Nest

Crows Nest is the debut novel from author Nikki Mottram. Mottram, has used her extensive experience in child protection and psychology to great effect, crafting a thriller that is intense and grounded in reality.

The novel is set in the late 90s in Toowoomba, Queensland. It’s a novel that delves into the often secretive world of small towns and the inhabitants who live there. Secrets can be necessary in small towns, but as readers will discover often dangerous.

Dana Gibson has fled her marriage in Sydney and taken a temporary job in Crows Nest as a child protection worker, assessing children in their homes. Not long after she arrives into town two women are murdered. Both women are linked to the children involved in Dana’s first case. Dana’s inquisitive mind means she unwittingly plays the detective in this grisly double murder. But, how far will locals go to stop her uncovering the truth of what happened?

Mottram creates a strong sense of place in the novel. Readers will feel the fog rolling through town, the country laughter, the crusty homes Dana visits and the Queensland heat. You’ll really feel this book in your blood. Crows Nest is that quintessential small town – suspicious of newcomers, plenty of secrets, and just as many suspects. But, as with any good thriller, sometimes the most obvious ones are not what they seem.

Overall I found Crows Nest to be an easy, but great suspenseful read, with relatable and well written characters. I was gripped by the mystery, finding myself grabbing the book each night before bed with the aim to find out whodunnit. I found the ending a little anticlimactic. But, it does make sense. And, there is definitely a door left open for further Dana Gibson stories in the future.

If you enjoyed the book Jane Harper’s The Dry or any of James Patterson’s books, then you’ll love this.


Nikki Mottram’s Crows Nest is available now from University of Queensland Press. Grab yourself a copy from Booktopia HERE.