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Reviews - Jinx

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 Jinx named in Top 10 Aussie crime reads!

A highly entertaining caper that will have you up all night.

280 steps, Crime fiction down under, 10 novels that everyone should read


A desperate phone call interrupts Catherine Kint’s leisurely breakfast. It’s the start of a complex and highly entertaining crime caper. McGinlay has created an offbeat, likeable heroine in Catherine. I look forward to more of her adventures.

— Mike Daly, Alternative Law Journal 


I stayed up till 3:30 this morning finishing Jinx, my heart pounding, my eyes tired but glued to the pages, yet laughing out loud at the witticisms in such a tense plot ... I consoled myself that it was the first in a series so it was likely there would be a relatively happy and 'safe' ending.

— Melissa O'Donovan's comment

Set within the hipster world of inner Melbourne lane-ways, cafes and bright young things, Jinx is the debut crime fiction novel from local musician and writer Hugh McGinlay. A light-hearted, comedic styled novel, Jinx introduces ex-police investigator, now accidental amateur detective, raconteur and milliner Catherine Kint and the world that she occupies in what seems to be intended as the first book in a series.

On the escapist side of crime fiction - there's something nicely engaging about Kint, what with the complicated background, the inner-city lifestyle, the hats and the best mate barman - to say nothing of the gin obsession and a handy IT virtuoso on the side to assist with a spot of Google type sleuthing. Written with a light touch, and a tendency to wax lyrical, part of what could lead a reader to assume that this is the start of a series is that there is a lot of time spent setting up friendships, and characters in Jinx

Set in and around Sydney Road Brunswick, the sense of place is elaborated with a lot of hipster lifestyle elements, combined with voodoo, occult and witchcraft. Which seemed to make a lot of sense to somebody who hasn't spent much time in that area in the last decade or so. Certainly the proximity of all the suspects, and the investigators, and the way that the main roads are intersected with laneways, and littered with cafe's, pubs and hidey holes felt real to an outsider.

Relying considerably on character, the plot in Jinx isn't badly served by the eccentricity of everyone, and there's a strong sense of them belonging in their place and time. It might be the over-stating of some of these lifestyle components could irk some readers, but this isn't supposed to be high tension thrills and spills, nor is it trying to be dark or considered. Jinx comes across as aiming to be entertaining, and it certainly works as a bit of light-hearted escapism. Even if the idea of the inner-Melbourne, hipster lifestyle is enough to make you want to head out into a paddock and thank the universe for space, dirt bikes instead of mopeds, and the gin-enthusiasts at the local pub.

— Aust Crime's review…/review-jinx-hugh-mcginlay


TIS the season for impractical headwear so it seems appropriate that the fictitious heroine of homegrown Melbourne novel Jinx should be a milliner.

One-time police investigator Catherine Kint – burned out by constant job pressure and now working to rebuild herself through a change of pace – is busy in her new career with client orders for the Spring Racing Carnival when her attention is diverted by a murder committed unnervingly close to home. 

The implication of trusted friend Melissa Zamansky as the only suspect leaves Kint with few options: in the interests of seeing justice served, she downs her hat-making tools immediately and goes in search of the model-like real-estate agent’s true killer.

Set on and around Sydney Road in suburban Brunswick, Jinx weaves elements of witchcraft, voodoo and the occult together with mainstream 21st-century Gen X living in a location that will be familiar to any Victorian who has visited Melbourne Zoo or Princess Park.

Can Kint – sleuthing along the local laneways between all-night Google searches with IT virtuoso Nealander Singh and all-day gin sessions with best mate Boris Shakhovsky – assemble sufficient evidence to both exonerate Zamansky and identify the actual culprit before any further deaths occur? 

With time already against her, Kint finds her task complicated further by the presence of attractive New Age spiritualist Asher Marr – the victim’s long-term boyfriend – and his glowering, physically aggressive brother Shiloh.

Could the twitchy, threatening, plainer Marr have been behind the young woman’s gruesome throat-slashing, carried out in an alley dressed with Wiccan symbols on a solstice?

Believable (if decidedly unconventional) characters, a rapid pace and unpredictable plot twists combine to make Jinx an entertaining few hours’ escapism from day-to-day reality and a glimpse into the eclectic, bohemian world of Melbourne’s inner north.

That Jinx has been produced locally is a bonus.

— Rosalea Ryan, Bendigo Weekly, October 30, 2015