Kimberley Starr

Torched Cover Image

Published: 28/04/2020
ISBN: 9781925700589
Genre: Literary Crime Fiction
Pages: 424
RRP: $29.99


Kimberley Starr

Longlisted, Australian Book Design Award – Best Designed Commercial Fiction Cover, 2021
Shortlisted, Davitt Awards – Best Crime Fiction, 2021


An explosive, haunting and utterly compelling crime novel about mothers and sons and the ties that bind them.

A small Yarra Valley town has been devastated by a bushfire, and Reefton Primary School Principal Phoebe Wharton can’t sleep. She’s the single mother of Caleb who is accused of starting the fire – on purpose. Twelve people are dead, students from her school among them; only a monster would cause such carnage. But where was her son that day? No one knows but Caleb, and he’s not talking.

Against mounting community rage, Phoebe sets out to clear her son. But every avenue leads back to Caleb. Why did he vanish from his Country Fire Authority shift? Who else was at the abandoned goldmine that day? Why is Caleb refusing to speak?

Phoebe will be forced to confront the nature of guilt and redemption, and decide what boundaries she is willing to cross to save the son she loves.


 “Kimberley Starr draws on potent forces – bushfire, guilt, maternal love – to tell this story with a sharp eye, deep compassion and mythic intensity.” – Debra Oswald, author of The Whole Bright Year and creator/head writer of Offspring.

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Kimberley Starr

Kimberley Starr

Kimberley Starr

Kimberley Starr is an Australian novelist and teacher whose novels have won and been shortlisted for multiple literary awards, including the Queensland Premier’s Literary Award and the Text Publishing YA Prize.

She lives with her sons and their labrador in semi-rural Victoria and is currently completing a PhD in Creative Writing.

Torched is her latest novel.


Photo credit: Steve Varley

More about the author

“…a terrific meditation on the meaning of motherhood in the face of misunderstanding, disbelief, outright malice, and intimate deception. Torched is also a beautifully written novel, using an elegant language to sift through each character’s stories but also to vividly represent the town of Brunton itself, and its various townsfolk, while poetically and powerfully rendering the other vital and omnipresent character of Torched – fire itself.”

‘Torched is an abidingly thoughtful rumination on human nature, secrets and unforeseeable consequences.’

‘The raw power of nature, heat and suffering ripples from the page as Starr pulls the reader into the very heart of the maelstrom. A taut and emotionally charged crime novel, Torched is the urgent and fearful unravelling of a family, a small town and a mother’s mind.’