Aussie Book Review: Rough Diamond by Kathryn Ledson

Rough DiamondMy rating: 3 of 5 stars

ARC provided by Penguin Australia (Michael Joseph)

Due for release 30 January 2013

The Blurb
“Funny, romantic, and action-packed, Rough Diamond introduces Australia's own Stephanie Plum – the unforgettable Erica Jewell.
The shock ending to Erica Jewell's marriage left a huge hole in her bank balance and a bigger one in her heart. And now her life goals make a very short list: no surprises, no debt and, definitely, no men. That is, until she finds one bleeding to death in her Melbourne garden one stormy Friday night.

Jack Jones is a man whose emotional wounds are more life-threatening than the bullet in his shoulder. Under orders, he recruits Erica to his secret team of vigilantes, and Erica suspects her safe, predictable world is about to be turned upside down.
And she's absolutely right.”

Erica Jewell is having a bad day! And it looks like it’s about to get a whole hell of a lot worse!

After separating from her “lying-cheating-bastard husband”, Dan, she’s been enjoying her single, quiet life, slowly working towards getting rid of the debt her estranged husband left her with.

Arriving home from work one night, she finds a bloody, semi-conscious man on her doorstep issuing her with half-lucid instructions not to involve the authorities but to call the number on a card he manages to hand to her.

Of course, she doesn’t realise that her safe, predictable and cheap life as a media relations office for Dega Oil is about to take a decidedly twisted and dangerous turn!

Commitment phobic Jack Jones is the mysteriously injured man and after her and her best friend (who just happens to be a nurse) manage to help him on the road to recovery, he proceeds to disappear again, showing up a few days later with a rather lucrative but dangerous proposition – for her to become part of his highly organised vigilante team.

And so begins the reluctant heroine and Jack’s dangerous liaison – in more ways than one. Whilst trying to second-guess would-be terrorists, escape bombs and attempt to find the perpetrators of the heinous crimes being committed in Melbourne, they are not only putting their lives on the line, but their emotions too.

My Thoughts
I loved Erica’s character and thought that a lot of her actions – and reactions – were hilarious. In particular, I enjoyed the somewhat comical (or not) situations she found herself in and actually found myself laughing out loud, in particular with the antics at the dinner table scene and the quote “I pictured her disapproving face; lips pursed so tight her mouth would look like a cat’s bum”.

Kathryn Ledson's writing style is a bit different, having written this novel in the first-person singular narrative. She uses a lot of “telling” and not much evocative description. However, her characters are realistically portrayed with their typical Aussie lingo and a lot of humour. Although I personally find that this way of narrating limits the way in which the other characters’ motivations unfold, it does tend to be a bit more realistic as, in every day life, we do not get to hear what another’s thoughts are.

Whilst initially I thought this was going to be “just another” traditional romance, I was most pleased that this tale had a somewhat unpredictable conclusion.

The fact that the book is based in Australia is an added bonus and, having not yet visited Melbourne and Sydney, I loved the snippets shared by the author.

Delightfully funny, light-hearted and fast-paced, Kathryn Ledson managed to keep me entertained with a few tummy-tingling moments thrown in, and I am looking forwarding to Erica’s next rollicking adventure!

Move over Stephanie Plum – Erica Jewell is in the house!!

I wish to thank Penguin Australia (Michael Joseph) and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC for review.

About the Author (Adapted from information on the author’s website)

Kathryn Ledson is a former PA and spent some time during her 25 year career on Hayman Island working for its PR department where she met an array of fascinating folk, including some rich and famous ones and was privy to things the paparazzi would envy her for.

After travelling through Europe for 12 months she returned to a job offer as Peter Ustinov’s PA for his 1990 Australian tour. With one thing leading to another, she found herself on the road again with rock bands Dire Straits and AC/DC.

Having completed a writing and editing diploma, she assumed she’d resume her corporate life as a writer and dabbled in various bits and pieces including poetry, short stories and travel writing, which all went unpublished, but discovered a natural ability for editing.

Whilst trying to be sensible, and set a new career in motion, Erica Jewell’s will and need to exist were so powerful that Kathryn abandoned all other writing and editing efforts and eventually landed a publishing deal with Penguin Australia.

Kathryn likes to hang out with family and friends, sharing her time between Melbourne and Aireys Inlet on Victoria’s famous Great Ocean Road where she lives with her husband and a big woolly dog and is currently working on the second book in her Erica Jewell series.

This is the fifth book I have read for the 2013 Australian Women Writers' Challenge.

View all my reviews


  1. Great review Marcia! I tend to be a little ambivalent about first person stories, but I think it made this story so much more fun because Erica is such a great character!


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