Smart debut novel that's a thrilling page turner

THEY say every journalist has a good book in them. But it's not every journalist that gets down to penning a novel, let alone getting it published which is why Sally Murrer's debut tome is nothing short of remarkable.

It can take an accomplished author months, if not years, to write a book.

Yet, According to Bella, a brilliantly crafted work, took Sally Murrer less than six weeks to produce. But it's not surprising, Sally Murrer is a home-grown success story, a talented journalist and prolific writer whose words fly off the keyboard quicker than you can shout Hold the Front Page.

Like any good author Sally draws on real life experience and succeeds in painting a colourful landscape and portraits that

spring off the pages and invade the imagination and psyche.

The story centres on Bella, a reporter on a local newspaper who tumbles on a dead body.

Her investigative instincts come to the fore and, if she can outsmart the police and solve the murder, she can present her editor with the scoop of the century.

The heroine is a single mum who may be a version of your friend or mine, women with issues, dilemmas and insecurities – people that readers

can identify with.

Naturally enough there is an element of man interest which introduces more than a subtle touch of romance and humour to the story telling.

Like any good rom com or chick flick the story is as much about how the heroine gets her man and how her personal exploits weave around the

central plot.

It's a terrific first novel, a fast paced page turner and gripping read. The characters are real, believable and convincing. Close your eyes and you are transported into Bella's chaotic world and sitting at her kitchen table with daughter Em – eating chocolate! You can empathise with her and feel an overwhelming desire to jump between the

lines of text and sit down for a natter.

Sally Murrer has spent a career spanning 30 years writing for national

magazines and local newspapers. In 2007 was arrested and charged with obtaining police information illegally – a charge that potentially threatened the rights of every journalist in the country.

The case against her was thrown out of court in November 2008 and the 'Murrer case' became a landmark triumph for press freedom.