Posted by: Lisa Hill | November 6, 2020

Dark Wave (2020), by Lana Guineay (2020 co-winner of Seizure Viva La Novella Prize)

Joint winner of the 2020 Viva La Novella Prize, Lana Guineay’s debut novella Dark Wave is ideal for both AusReading Month 2020 at Brona’s Books. and Novellas in November hosted by Cathy at 746 Books and Rebecca at Bookish Beck.

This is the blurb from the back cover:

George hasn’t heard from his ex, Paloma, since she returned to her family home on Songbird Island in the Whitsundays. Now she’s asking for his help to uncover the mystery of who is stealing the family’s wealth, but what they discover is much worse than a case of fraud.

With luscious prose and a sumptuous setting, Lana Guineay’s debut novella is a brilliant reworking of the classic crime novel.

The crime in this case begins with embezzlement which, when fear of discovery looms, leads to murder.  The principal character, George Green, is the archetypal sad sack private investigator but there is a love interest (the beautiful Paloma) whose only flaw is that she is obscenely wealthy, and the social chasm looms wide.  Plus, George is obsessive about surfing, so he’s always ready to drop everything if there’s a prospect of a good wave.  This, as you might expect, puts a strain on his relationship.  Putting a good wave ahead of a good woman is probably not the path to True Love.

But George is still carrying a torch for Paloma so when she calls on him for help he abandons his downmarket accommodation and business premises in Bronte (a beachside suburb of Sydney), and sets off for the (mythical) Songbird Island in Queensland, owned by Paloma’s father and lush with beautiful scenery and lavish tourist accommodation.  (Think luxury-market Orpheus Island rather than family-friendly Hamilton Island).

The ins and outs of the plot are best left to the reader to discover, though I did wonder a bit about the way the mainland police acquiesce to letting the PI access evidence. Maybe I’ve watched too many Father Brown episodes where the dour police detective is forever trying to get Father Brown out from underfoot.

However, what interested me most was the plot complications of a possible cyclone.  As it happens, I am also reading Cyclone, a novella from 1947 by Vance Palmer, and I am pursuing this unlikely reading task (since I haven’t previously found Palmer to be exactly riveting reading) because I’ve been sent a book of LitCrit called Cyclone Country, the Language of Place and Disaster in Australian Literature by Chrystopher Spicer. While this kind of academic study is not the kind of book I usually read, I was lured into it because Patrick White’s The Eye of the Storm is included in the study.  And, on a whim, because Spicer told me that Vance Palmer’s Cyclone was also included, I decided to dig up a copy and I’m currently about half way through it.

I should add that I have resolutely not even opened the Spicer book yet, but already I can see from reading Cyclone why ‘the language of place and disaster’ is an interesting topic for study.  Cyclone‘s blurb begins with the statement that it’s a story of conflict and tension accentuated by a brooding cyclone.  Half way through it, there’s a character whose dilemmas are so overwhelming that he almost wishes the cyclone would hit the town and blow all his troubles away.  So when a cyclone looms in Dark Wave, it’s more than just a storm.  It’s a complication that can wash away evidence, evacuate possible witnesses and suspects, and destroy the wealth that separates The Path of True Love.

Enough said, or I’ll give the game away!

Author: Lana Guineay
Title: Dark Wave
Cover illustration by Sam Paine
Publisher: Seizure by Brio Books, 2020
ISBN: 9781922267252, pbk., 197 pages
Personal copy, purchased from Seizure Online $6.99

You can buy the book from Fishpond, Dark Wave, direct from Seizure, or from good bookstores everywhere.



  1. […] Dark Wave by Lana Guineay (reviewed by Lisa at ANZ LitLovers) […]


  2. […] Dark Wave by Lana Guineay (reviewed by Lisa at ANZ LitLovers) […]


  3. Sounds intriguing Lisa!


  4. I do like the sound of this Lisa. Seems like it ticks off all the novella marks as well.
    I’m not into gory crime or forensic details or serial killers run amok, but a good classic crime with a plodding PI sounds perfect. I also like it when Mother Nature or the environment plays a factor in the crime (not that I can think of another example right now!)
    Thanks for joining in AusReading Month & Novellas in November.


    • I know what you mean, it was a gory blood-spattered one that put me off crime altogether. And the preoccupation with serial killers, ugh!
      So it’s good when I come across something that’s different. I know one I think you’d like, it’s called City of the Dead, A Claire DeWitt Mystery, by Sara Gran, and it’s set in New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Thanks for sharing your thoughts Lisa


  6. […] Lana Guineay – Dark Wave (review by Lisa @ANZ Lit Lover […]


  7. […] Lana Guineay | Dark Wave (novella) | reviewed by ANZ LitLovers […]


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