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True crime adventure, bold memoir and investigative masterclass, but above all a breathtakingly original story.


'True crime adventure, bold memoir and investigative masterclass, but above all a breathtakingly original story.' - Robert Drewe, author of The Shark Net and The Bodysurfers

Jean Kay, my skipper, fellow adventurer, my friend. My brother.

Jean Kay, soldier of fortune, opportunist, embezzler, hijacker.

In her youth, amidst the throes of a reckless grief, aspiring Australian writer Marele Day is caught up in a shipwreck adventure and forges an unlikely bond with an international fugitive travelling under a pseudonym. For the next thirty years they correspond before reuniting, both older and wiser, in France.

Marele is now an accomplished crime writer, and while she knew of her travel companion's previous reputation as 'the hijacker with a big heart' and 'brother to the poor', she is intrigued to discover his connection to the disappearance of eight million francs and a secret dossier that made global headlines.

Brilliantly crafted, Reckless tells the story of how Marele uncovers the truth about Jean Kay's identity and motives by piecing together clues from their letters, her diaries and a stash of newspaper clippings, and how, in the process of telling his story, she ultimately makes peace with the reckless ghosts of her past.

'Fraud, glamour, friendship, loss and betrayal create a heady cocktail as the trail heats up from Australia to Brazil. Sometimes, fiction just can't match fact, seems pale by comparison. This is one of those stories.' - Caroline Baum, author of Only

'Reading in parts like the crime fiction that made Marele Day so famous, Reckless is an extraordinary story of dramatic adventures spanning continents and decades: international fugitive and benevolent thief Jean Kay is as good a character as any a crime writer could invent. But Day also recounts her own need to escape and take risks, producing a touching memoir of grief and loss informed by a writer's attentive curiosity, one that candidly explores every angle of a story, even that of the friendship of a lifetime.' - Debra Adelaide, author of The Household Guide to Dying and The Women's Pages

'Reckless is about a woman who transforms the paralysis of unexpected grief into an adventure so dazzling that readers may have to remind themselves to breathe. But that is only part of it. In later life, a profound exploration of her experience leads the author to France and Brazil and to unexplored territories of faith, trust, and friendship, revealing the differences between the charming stories we are told and the stories we have no choice but to believe.' - Brenda Walker, author of Reading by Moonlight and The Wing of Night

'Marele Day's Reckless has the pace of a great thriller with the heart of the most beautifully crafted memoir. Both riveting and touching, Reckless is truly a gift. I feel so privileged to have read this gorgeous book.'- Mirandi Riwoe, author of Stone Sky Gold Mountain and The Burnished Sun