The Quarry by Kim Hunt
The Quarry by Kim Hunt

The Quarry by Kim Hunt

I’m glad I get to add Kim Hunt to my list of authors to watch out for

I didn’t read the first Cal Nyx book, The Beautiful Dead, before I read this one and I wish I had. I don’t think I missed anything in this story because of that but I like learning about characters as they came to their creator, and I’m also pretty sure I now know things that are spoilers for book 1 – some of which you’ll know too if you keep reading this review. And it was a Ngaio Marsh Awards finalist (best first novel) in 2021, so it must be good. Hopefully as good as The Quarry is – which is very good.


At the beginning of The Quarry, Cal is off work, grieving the loss of her aunt. She gets a message from her foster brother Dif, who has witnessed something that puts him in danger. Dif is a rough sleeper, who is rightly wary of the police. The first chapters follow Cal while she tries to get to him, using teeny tiny tips he leaves like crumbs wherever he goes, always on the move in order to try and stay safe. Cal’s smarts and her interesting network of people who don’t let laws constrict what they can or can’t find lead her to answers as well as on the path of danger.

The Quarry by Kim HuntThe characters are well-defined and layered. Cal, of course, but also Dif, who I look forward to getting to know better in the next episode, Liz Scobie as well, and even smaller secondary characters like Pirate feel fleshed out. To me, the story could have been told from a single point of view (Cal’s), maybe two (Dif’s), and the secondary characters’ sides could have been summarized in dialogue, which would have kept the book a bit shorter. As it is, it’s definitely long, though not boring. That said, I listened to this great interview of the author and not everyone agrees with me, so it could be a matter of personal preference.

Besides the complex and well-thought-out plot, I liked the mood, the atmosphere very much. It’s gritty and real, not too gory, not bland either. There’s a lot of action, even as Cal drives up and down the New South Wales coast several times. I was very happy to read a book set in Australia and would love to read the author’s next book, which will take place in New Zealand (the author is from New Zealand and lived in Australia for many years). It’s always a nice change from stories set in the US, and I also love that the author didn’t Americanize it. Travelling through books is one of the reasons I love them so much and I don’t want everyone to talk the same way or eat the same food. And Hunt incorporates a lot of nature elements in her descriptions, sounds, colours, small details that make the reader feel “there”.

I enjoyed the twists and Cal’s fallibility and loved Scobie’s will to deal with whatever Cal’s insecurities send her way. The romantic arc is secondary but genuine, not an afterthought, just enough to add to the complexity of the MC without distracting from the mystery.

All in all, it was a great surprise and I’m glad I get to add Kim Hunt to my list of authors to look out for. I look forward to book 3, The Freezer, announced for 2024. I’ll try to read book 1 before then. 4.5 stars

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