The Wombat Strategy by Claire McNab: Book Review

The Wombat Strategy by Claire McNabThe Wombat Strategy by Claire McNab is the first book in the Kylie Kendall Mystery Series. 

Kylie Kendall has spent the majority of her life in the small town of Wollegudgerie in Australia. Her life took a dramatic turn for the better (or maybe the worst) when her estranged father dies and leaves her with fifty-one percent of the Kendall and Creeling detective agency in Los Angeles. Everything about Los Angeles takes Kylie’s breath away, even her business partner— the mysterious, gorgeous and aloof Ariana Creeling. Kylie wants to become a private eye but Ariana is not pleased with her sudden arrival and she does not want Kylie underfoot. No matter how hard Ariana tries to persuade Kylie into selling her share of the business— Kylie refuses and Ariana intends to be cold and abrupt with her until she changes her mind. Kylie is smitten with Ariana but she does not want to say anything to make matters worse between them. 

Their disagreements take a backseat when a prominent and affluent psychiatrist by the name of Dr. Deer, hires them to investigate the death of a world renowned film director because he was one of his clients. Dr. Deer does not want the death of his client to be confirmed as a suicide because his reputation would be destroyed, therefore, he spares no expense by hiring the detective agency to prove that his client was murdered. Will Kylie ever get the courage to tell Ariana how she feels about her? Will Kylie and Ariana be able to put their differences aside and work together to solve the case?

The Characters

Kylie Kendall has just arrived from Australia and she wants to become a private eye. She has no idea what she’s getting herself into but she’s willing to make a name for herself. There were times where I really struggled with choosing a favorite character in a story but Kylie stole my heart from the first page! Kylie is so naïve but she is honest, down-to-earth, fun-loving and humorous. She is always willing to consider another person’s feelings and she comes up with creative ways to solve difficult problems.

Ariana Creeling is a professional private investigator. She is the co-owner of Kendall and Creeling Detective agency and she runs it with an iron fist. It took me a while to warm up to Ariana but she eventually won me over with the tender and nurturing side of her that she hides beneath a mask of cool indifference. 

The Writing Style

The author did an amazing job with bringing the characters to life for me and I just love the quirky Australian sayings! I am so delighted that I got to experience Los Angeles through Kylie’s eyes because I got a crystal clear description of the busy and vibrant landscape and the unique characters who interacted with her. 

The Pros

Any story that makes me have a hearty laugh no matter where I am and keeps me anxious to find out ‘who dun it’ is definitely a winner!

The Cons

You won’t get any complaints from me! 

aprils favourite booksThe Conclusion

Trust me, you won’t be disappointed with this hilarious and captivating story! The witty banter between Kylie and Ariana blends so well with the disdainful clients they serve and the baffling cases they have to solve. I was anchored to my comfy beanbag chair all weekend and I did not want to put my kindle down until I got to the end of this story.

I really hope that one day, in the not too distant future—scientists would invent a machine where the reader could enter the book they are reading because I wished that I could have got in on some of the action (I think Kylie and I would have made an awesome team! I’m pretty short so I would be able to hide anywhere to do a stakeout…)

Excerpt from The Wombat Strategy by Claire McNab

Waving me to a chair—a spindly thing with a tall back and a sort of black leather sling for a seat—she said, “I’m very surprised to see you here, Ms. Kendall. I had no idea you were visiting the States. If I’d known, I’d have arranged for someone to meet you at the airport.”

“Call me Kylie. Everybody does. Sorry to lob in on you like this, but I didn’t know I was coming until the other day. Sudden impulse, know what I mean?”

This one looked like she’d never had a sudden impulse in her life, but then again I’d only just met her, so it wasn’t fair to judge. 

“You’re here on vacation?” she asked. 

“Business, really.” She raised one eyebrow just a fraction, so I added with my best mischievous grin, “To be straight-up with you, I’m here to collect my inheritance.” 

Crikey, that got a reaction. “Pardon me?” When this Sheila frowned, it was like a light went out in her face. “Your visit isn’t necessary,” she snapped. “My attorney has been in touch with your…” She waved a hand around, searching for the word. I noticed she was wearing a heavy gold signet ring. 

“Solicitor,” I said helpfully. “That’s what they’re called in Oz. Bluey Bates. He’s the best solicitor in Wollegudgerie. Not hard to be, since he’s the only one.” She didn’t crack a smile at that, so I went on, “Bit of a bush-lawyer, but Bluey’s got his head screwed on right. He told me you want to buy the fifty-one percent of Kendall & Creeling my dad left me.”

I hadn’t believed it when the Los Angeles lawyers had got in touch and said Dad’s will gave me a controlling share of his private-eye business, a chunk of money, plus some old car he’d restored. 

Ariana’s eyes were like twin blue lasers. “I have forty-nine percent, as you know. I need to consolidate in order to run the company effectively. I believe my offer’s a fair one. However, I am willing to negotiate—”

She broke off as the phone on the desk shrilled. Excusing herself, she picked up the receiver. “Melodie? Oh—Lonnie. Melodie’s not back yet?” She listened, then said, “He’s here already?” She checked her watch, a neat gold number. “Give me a couple of minutes, then show him in.”

I got up, clutching the mug of pretend tea. “You’ll want me to make myself scarce, then?”

“If you don’t mind. I have an appointment with a client. We can continue our conversation later, but I do want you to think about my offer. As I said, it’s negotiable.” 

“Fact is,” I said, “I’m thinking about staying in L.A. I was born in the States, and I’ve got a Yank passport, so no worries about working.”

“Working?”

“I know I’ll have to do some pretty tough training, but I’ve never been afraid of hard work. And I’ve done the self-defense course the Wollegudgerie Police Club put on.”

“The Wollegudgerie Police Club?”

I ignored the hint of incredulous amusement in her voice. “Too right,” I said. “And I’m not skiting, but I wasn’t too bad, if you can believe it. Tossed the captain of ‘Gudge’s footy team over my shoulder, no trouble.”

Ariana didn’t look the slightest bit impressed, so I went on, “I’m not a total no-hoper, you know. For one thing, I’m a crack shot with a rifle and fair enough with a shotgun. Never fired a handgun, though. You can’t get them in Oz the way you can here.”

She was tense as a coiled spring behind her desk. “Why are you telling me this?”

“I’m deadest keen. You won’t be sorry.”

Her jaw absolutely dropped. “Oh, no, you’re not…”

“Yeah,” I said, “I’m thinking of becoming a private eye. Like, how hard can it be?” 

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Series

The Kylie Kendall Mystery Series

The Wombat Strategy 

The Kookaburra Gambit 

The Quokka Question 

The Dingo Dilemma

The Platypus Ploy

Bits and Bobs

  • ISBN number: 9781594933295 
  • Publisher: Bella Books

Claire McNab Online 

  • Website 

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The Wombat Strategy Book Cover The Wombat Strategy
Claire McNab
Australians
2012-06
188

Running a pub in the tiny Australian outback town of Wollegudgerie doesn't offer much fun or future to knockabout Aussie dyke Kylie Kendall. So when the father she never knew leaves her 51 percent of his Los Angeles-based detective agency, it's bright lights, big city for Kylie. Not so happy about her arrival is her partner in the business, the beautiful, enigmatic Arianna Creeling, who wants to buy out Kylie and gives her a decidedly chilly reception in sunny California. But the two women soon have other matters besides their bickering to attend to. A psychiatrist to the stars whose "slap, slap, get on with it" approach has made him a celebrity, hires them to investigate the suicide of a successful but almost universally reviled film director. Concerned for his reputation, Dr. Deer would much prefer a finding of murder. As the sparks between Arianna and Kylie fly, the City of Angels has turned out to be much more difficult and dangerous than Kylie had imagined.