Unraveling an Aussie mystery: Lucy Campbell’s debut thriller ‘Lowbridge’

Lucy Campbell serves up a thrilling ride of  mystery, unweaving the tapestry of secrets and enigmas of a small town that’ll keep you hooked.

In Lucy Campbell’s haunting debut opus, “Lowbridge,” (Ultimo Press) we find ourselves submerged in the enigmatic aura of a quaint Australian township, where everyone’s hushed truths entwine, yet a single enigmatic vanishing shatters the illusion of familiarity.

Themes of memory, perception, and the intricate interplay of human bonds are deftly woven throughout the narrative, prompting readers to question the very fabric of existence.

lucy campbell
Credit: Canberra Times

Amidst the waning days of the scorching summer in 1987, the tale orbits the disconcerting disappearance of Tess Dawes, a 17-year-old girl from the placid town of Lowbridge. The passage of decades hasn’t erased Tess’s absence from the collective conscience of the community.

The locals cling to their silent verities, some remaining anchored in the shadows of their shared past, while others bear secrets too onerous to unburden. This vanishing serves as a potent allegory for the fleeting nature of human connections and the fragility of our perceptions.

Into this palpable air of secrecy strides an outsider, Katherine Ashworth, who carries her own harrowing grief from the loss of her daughter. Seeking solace and renewal, she immerses herself in the town’s historical society, unwittingly rekindling the long-slumbering enigma surrounding Tess’s disappearance.

Through Katherine’s relentless pursuit of truth, the novel plumbs the depths of untold narratives, concealed traumas, and forgotten memories that echo the unresolved voids in each individual’s existence.

Lowbridge, as portrayed by Campbell, emerges as a metaphorical microcosm of the human journey, with its simmering divisions and a cast of characters weighed down by past misdeeds. The narrative showcases the stark dichotomy between the lost girls, those mourned, and the unfortunate souls forgotten by time and indifference. Within this unsettling ambiance, the tale delves into the boundaries of empathy, vulnerability, and self-discovery.


“Lowbridge” transcends the conventions of traditional thriller mystery fiction. Campbell’s prose is disarmingly candid, deftly coaxing readers into a labyrinth of introspection and self-exploration. The narrative radiates with an authentic vulnerability, challenging us to confront the uncomfortable truths lurking in our own lives and communities.

Themes of loss, grief, and the unyielding march of time render “Lowbridge” a poignant and emotionally charged odyssey. Lucy Campbell’s debut masterpiece stands out among the recent offerings in the Australian thriller genre, beckoning readers to lose themselves within its pages during a tranquil weekend, enfolded in a cozy blanket by the fireside.

As we traverse the intricate web of interconnected lives, “Lowbridge” serves as a poignant reminder of the human capacity for resilience and redemption, even amidst the darkest secrets and profoundest sorrows.