Two Tickets to Dubrovnik is a novella centered on the bittersweet memories of an Australian wine writer’s visit to Croatia. Tightly written, the book is filled with information about the area’s history and could even work as something of a travel guide to Dubrovnik.

Higher stakes might have made this a more compelling read, but Kennedy promises only a tale in which the control of his protagonist’s life is taken from his hands, and in that he delivers. Still, the setting and history are expertly drawn, as is the protagonist’s unfortunate dilemma. Readers looking for a well-written, simple tale set in an old country steeped in history and color should find this a satisfying escape.”



“People interested in Croatia’s complicated history will find this book appealing.”




“Through his descriptive, picturesque visions of Dubrovnik, Australian Andrew Johnston gives the reader a glimpse of the quiet, ancient town full of wineries, restaurants and beautiful architecture. The story deepens as Andrew meets Niki, the sister of a winemaking old friend. Although there’s mutual attraction, Niki is intertwined in turmoil that Andrew foolishly disregards. Niki’s troubled, confused brother, Jakov, took a turn toward crime after the death of his father. Once Andrew meets Jakov after becoming involved with Niki, the police come after Andrew with questions. Soon, Andrew’s quiet life as a wine writer is turned upside down. At one point, Andrew feels like he’s living two lives: one ordered and stable, the other chaotic and unpredictable. Caught in both the investigation of Jakov and a developing lust for Niki, he mistakenly reveals to Niki that he has been communicating with the police. She leaves in a fury, and the reader then follows Andrew through despair as he searches for Niki, wondering if she’ll ever return to him. Heavy descriptions and detail set the scene in this short novel.

However, constant activity in the plot keeps things fresh against the somber backdrop of Dubrovnik. Facts interwoven with descriptions provide a colorful portrait of the city’s political and social history. Frequent conversations over wine and food reveal the relationships between characters, while also igniting conflict and straining tensions that last throughout.”




“An Australian wine journalist travels through France and comes across an old flame.

In Kennedy’s (Two Tickets to Dubrovnik, 2012) novel, the second in a planned trilogy, Andrew Johnston—an Australian wine writer—once again travels through Europe, with an enjoyable assignment: Interview French winemakers to get their opinions on new regulations affecting the industry. Andrew visits his brother Adrian and sister-in-law while traveling around France, talking, tasting wine, eating and sightseeing. Along the way, he meets Niki Menčetić again. Andrew’s relationship with Niki ended when she stormed out of a cafe in Dubrovnik, convinced that Andrew had betrayed her brother Jakov to the police. But now, Niki is friendly, as if they’d never quarreled. Andrew is slow to trust, but the relationship warms up again, and he even agrees to Niki’s request that he deliver two mysterious sealed packages.

Andrew is a serious wine journalist, and oenophiles may benefit from his knowledgeable, in-depth discussions with growers about their work and how it could be affected by changing laws.”





“In this final novel in Angus Kennedy’s “Out of Solitude” trilogy, Australian wine writer Andrew Johnston returns to Dubrovnik to tie up some loose ends with a romantic interest, and unknowingly finds himself back in the throes of a sinister plot.

The story begins when Johnston, fresh from helping his brother care for his sick wife, makes plans to see his old friend Niki in Dubrovnik, hoping to determine if the attraction remains. But first Johnston must complete an assignment for a magazine on California wineries. After days on the road, he flies to Croatia, where a mystery set in motion on a previous trip surrounding missing papers and an exhaustive genealogy quest has already begun unraveling.

 To The East is professionally written and something of a showcase for Kennedy’s vast knowledge about California wineries. This can work both to the benefit and detriment of the book. While those who share his interest may be intrigued with such information, readers interested in a work of fiction will find the extensive history of California wine included here contributes almost nothing to the plot and can slow the pace. It is only after Kennedy is midway into the book that he focuses on the central plot line, which occurs largely in Dubrovnik. Once there, however, his knowledge of the history of Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina adds an air of mastery and intrigue.

Unfortunately, Kennedy doesn’t always fill in the background from the preceding two novels, and while readers will likely be able to connect the dots, a few paragraphs of backstory here and there would make for a fuller reading experience.

Despite such issues, Kennedy’s writing, knowledge and set up of the mystery make this a largely enjoyable read with an added benefit: It will no doubt leave readers much more knowledgeable about a number of topics when they are finished.”





Angus Kennedy’s The Final Programme delivers the conclusion to the author’s Out of Solitude tetralogy.

In this story, Australian wine writer Andrew Johnson wakes from a coma in Sidney, Australia unsure of his surroundings or how he got there. Andrew struggles to find a way to move forward with his life and embarks on a quest to reconnect with his lost love, Niki, a Croatian woman who believes him to be dead. The character’s journey takes him back through the events of his past and eventually into an unexpected future.

Kennedy displays a deep familiarity with Southeastern European history, which he interweaves expertly throughout Andrew’s exploits. He also shows himself to be a knowledgeable oenophile in his discussions on wine. The author’s third book in the series had been criticized by a few for including too much detail about the history of California wine and not enough about plotlines from previous novellas. Kennedy amends those issues here by utilizing coma-induced memory loss as a literary device that forces Andrew to painstakingly piece together his past and to avoid an excess of wine as part of a new “strictly regulated” diet to counteract the physical trauma he has suffered.

Meanwhile, narrative contrivances such as amnesia and characters thought wrongly to be dead do a disservice to Kennedy’s considerable skills as a writer.