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Temple, Peter - 'Truth'
Hardback: 384 pages (Jan. 2010) Publisher: Quercus Publishing Plc ISBN: 1849161534

Peter Temple is an Australian writer, whose last book (THE BROKEN SHORE) was a Sunday Times best-seller. At the start of this book, a girl is found murdered in an empty apartment in an exclusive apartment block (Prosilio) in Melbourne. But, the sophisticated security system does not seem to have recorded anything, and the building owners are reluctant to co-operate, appearing more worried about avoiding a scandal. An appeal on Crimespotters leads to the identification of a driver seen with the girl, and his vehicle, a short while before. But the registered owner of the vehicle left the country over two years ago.

Meanwhile, there has been a gruesome killing in Oakleigh; the two Ribaric brothers, known gangsters, have been strung up and tortured and one of their associates has been shot. Only 50 pages in, and there is plenty to keep the Chief of Homicide, Steve Villani, busy. If that wasn't enough, his father's farm is under threat from the local forest fires, burning out of control, his youngest daughter Lizzie absconds (at 15) with a ‘druggie' and his relationship with his wife is non-existent (he can't even remember where she's currently working).

This book is full of plots, subplots, and plots within the subplots. You need to pay attention to pick up on the sparse but key clues as Villani puts it all together. On top of all that, there is a complicated mix of characters in Homicide to manage, political machinations, and a few other things besides. This is a tense, closely written book that keeps you on the edge of your seat until the end. A masterful work, in which not a word is wasted, that probably needs at least two readings to appreciate all the detail. I recommend that you read in one sitting, after a couple of cups of coffee, to keep you as sharp as Villani.

Michelle Peckham, England
January 2010

More crime fiction reviews can be found on the Reviews page.

last updated 10/01/2010 11:53