Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Read: "The Broken Shore" by Peter Temple

Read: The Broken Shore by Peter Temple, 2007 (U.S.), 9780374116934.

Damn good. Mystery novel set in rural Australia. Melbourne homicide cop Joe Cashin was seriously injured by a suspect (massive car wreck) and after getting back on duty sent to work at Port Munro on the shore. Cashin grew up in Port Munro - sort of. Cashin's father died when Cashin was about ten and Cashin and his mother lived an itinerant life as his wife boozed it up and slept around a bit. They settled back down in Munro and Cashin lived with aboriginal relatives.

Lots of great things about this book. Cashin is living in constant pain from the massive car wreck he was in and living in a worn down shack of a house on old family property. Being back in Port Munro brings back a lot of unwelcome memories but Cashin is emotionally damaged and not able to go back to faster paced work in Melbourne.

Anyway. Cashin is called to rich man's estate where elderly man has been beaten nearly to death. Cashin works investigation with cops from neighboring big town. Other cops are racist goons. A couple aboriginal teens from "The Daunt" (seems to be like an Indian reservation here) try to pawn a watch in Sydney. Watch is like one owned by beaten guy. Cops try and stop the kids on their way back from Sydney and two of the three kids are killed. One is shot and another dies in car wreck. Third kid commits suicide a couple days later. Shit storm comes down. Uncle of one kid is Abor. politician who also went to school with Cashin. Case called off. Cashin keeps digging after beaten guy dies and it looks like the kids were innocent. Cashin finds strange money trail, follows trail, finds tortured and dead guy who was pedophile. Cashin continues and finds that there was old pedophile ring. Victim of ring is killing people. Cashin solves the case and gets shot. Cashin hooks up with girl character.

1. Lots of ambiguity.
2. Temple does not spoon feed. You have to pay attention to what is going on. I liked that.
3. Unvarnished look at race relations between white and black. Cashin covers both sides as a white cop and relative of Aboriginals and mixed race.
4. What is gun crime like in Australia now? The one kid is shot when firing a short barreled shotgun. I remember gun crime in Perth being a big deal, whenever it happened in '92 it hit the news.
5. Descriptions of weather and terrain worked well for me.
6. Inside politics in the police service.
7. Whats the deal with cops there anyway? Are there local cops or are they all state cops who can be transferred around?
8. Cashin hooks up with gal he had hots for in high school.
9. Cashin finds out his father committed suicide.
10. I forget the rest.

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