Text Publishing, 2019

Available from
Apple Books


Tom Clay was a poacher back in Suffolk. He was twelve when he was caught, tried and transported to New South Wales.

Now, assigned to a shepherd’s hut out west, he is a boy among violent men. He keeps his counsel and watches over the sheep; he steers clear of blowhards like the new man, Rowdy Cavanagh. He is alert to danger, knowing he is a foreigner here – that the land resists his understanding.

The question is: how fast can he learn? Because a vicious killer named Dan Carver is coming for Tom and Rowdy. And if Tom can’t outwit Carver in the bush – and convince Rowdy to keep his stupid mouth shut – their deaths will be swift and cruel.

‘Jinks’s cracking, sharply etched adventure story doesn’t turn a blind eye to history, and weaves tender moments into the action and suspense. It’s superior fiction any writer might enjoy reading, simply to admire the craft.’
The Sydney Morning Herald/The Age (PICK OF THE WEEK)

‘A gripping historical yarn.’
Sunday Mirror (UK)

‘Multiple award-winner Jinks (Evil Genius) … crafts a breathtaking pursuit novel full of brutality and tenderness.’
Shelf Awareness

‘Jinks … paints a riveting picture.’
Listener, NZ

‘… a highly readable, richly characterised, beautifully written novel.’
Australian Book Review

‘The relentless pace of this novel means readers, too, must keep one eye on the book and the other looking over their shoulder.’
The Sun-Herald

‘A great, fast-paced hunt … A compelling picture of the time and the place …’
Otago Daily Times

Breathtaking in its intensity … This is an utterly magnificent read – its power and intensity will continue to resonate with you after you have turned the last page.

‘This riveting, fast-paced new novel … brings the brutality and courage of Australia’s colonial frontier vividly to life. If you like outback horror, this one’s for you.’

‘This novel covers only a few short days and hurtles along at breakneck speed – a thrilling, edge-of-your-seat addition to Australian outback colonial fiction.’

  • emmadbeach

    I loved this book. Fast paced, Australian my cup of tea. I’m looking for another of Ms Jinks nooks to read. She’s on my fave author list.

  • Catherine Jinks

    Hi Emma – I’m sorry I didn’t reply before – for some reason I wasn’t notified by email and I don’t haunt my website. But I really, really appreciate your kind words. You’re the first and only one to comment about shepherd so thank you!

  • JanelleC

    I’ve recently finished Shepherd & found it was one of the best books ever written in this genre. I’m using it as my subject for a book review for a uni subject. It won’t be hard to say great things about the story & your writing. Loved it!

  • Catherine Jinks

    Wow! Thanks so much, Janelle. I appreciate your taking the time to give me a thumbs-up – stuck here at home, I don’t often get the chance to connect with the wider world, and it’s so nice to know that someone likes my book. Good luck with the review – I hope you get a high distinction!

    • JanelleC

      Thanks Catherine :) . Has anyone done a scholarly review that you’re aware of? I can’t see one in the State Library NSW or NLA catalogues.

  • Catherine Jinks

    Not that I’m aware of, no, except that someone called Dymphna Lonergan wrote an article about the portrayal of Irish people in Australian fiction for Tintean and my book was mentioned. I don’t know if that counts as a scholarly review …

    • JanelleC

      I found a long & fabulous review (876 words) by David Whish-Wilson in the Australian Book Review journal, Sept 2019, no 414. I can send you a copy if you don’t already subscribe to ABR. :)

      • Catherine Jinks

        Thanks, Janelle! Yeah, I saw that – it was great, wasn’t it?

        • JanelleC

          Fantastic! I just read the comment by the young man Jacob about how one of your books got him into reading. How awesome is that??!! I found it funny that he thinks your works have some “weird names and spellings”. Must not be an Aussie. So I’m about to write a 400-word review. It’s due tomorrow. Not that I leave anything until the last minute ;) . It sure would make a great movie. Has ‘Shepherd’ won any awards?

  • Roge56

    Just read The Shepherd – another wonderful book. You are one of the most under-appreciated novelists. Each of your books – most so different from each other – all have deeply-felt characters, of all ages, and are enthralling. Given Text has published The Shepherd, I hope they consider reissuing your three splendid novels set in the middle ages: The Inquisitor, The Notary, The Secret Familiar.

  • Catherine Jinks

    Thank you so much! You’re very kind. I can’t believe you read those inquisition books – very few people did, except (oddly) in Spain and Portugal. For that reason, I’m afraid we’re not going to see any re-issues of them. But I am writing some new thrillers for Text – the next one is due out in January. Maybe you’ll enjoy that as much as the old ones.