In the novel Empty Chairs, author Suzanne Burke, writing as Stacey Danson, takes us on a roller-coaster ride through the roughest areas of Sydney, Australia as seen through the eyes of an eleven-year-old run-away.
In Stacey’s own words, “I was about to spend my very first night in ‘Kings Cross’—the organized crime, drug, and sleaze capital of Australia.”
We lean into the action as Stacey struggles to survive. We suffer every night and sigh with relief for each new day that finds the eleven-year-old alive and safe.
By virtue of the subject matter, this was a hard story for Ms. Danson (Suzanne Burke) to write, and it is equally hard for us to read. Several scenes are not for the faint of heart. Known on the streets as “Sassy Girl”, Stacey lives up to that name and it’s that sassiness which helps her to survive. It’s also what endears her to the reader.
The book’s pacing is good and the ‘Kings Cross’ characters are well drawn and ring true. The conclusion of Empty Chairs is somewhat abrupt but it leaves us hopeful that Stacey will find her way out.
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