Peter Temple moves into the territory of The Bonfire of the Vanities and JM Coetzee's Disgrace with a masterpiece of modern fiction. A teenage prostitute is found with her neck broken in a bathroom in an apartment in The Prosilio, a new playground for the very rich. Despite the ultra sophisticated security, all systems crashed, the management is hand in glove with high ups in government and Stephen Villani, Head of Homicide, isn't getting much cooperation. Three men are found murdered in a garage, two of them so brutally tortured that it goes beyond the usual low-life revenge story. The suspects are then tipped off and die in a car accident, escaping from Villani. The public and populist politicians are baying for the police to take the blame for violent lawlessness and corruption. In this heartbreaking, nerve-wracking novel, Temple lays bare the soul of a man, Villani, as he faces the moral decline of a society and himself. Incapable of constancy as a father and a husband, damaged as a son and true only to his job and the confrontational stance he knows best, he seems unable to intervene while his teenage daughter runs with drug dealers. And while politicians and businessmen plot to make more money and buy people and their silence, the fires are coming closer from the outback to inhabited country, including where Villani's father lives.
A towering achievement that brings alive a ferocious landscape and a motley assortment of clashing characters. The sense of place is stifling in its intensity, and seldom has a waltz of the damned proven so hypnotic. Indispensable - Maxim Jakubowski, Guardian
Quercus deserve a big pat on the back for introducing him to British readers…great locations, hard-nosed dialogue and a twisting plot combine to create superb entertainment - Evening Standard
About the Author
Five-time winner of the Ned Kelly Award for Crime Fiction, Peter Temple is Australia's most acclaimed crime and thriller writer. He is the author of four Jack Irish novels and has also written four standalone novels: An Iron Rose (1998), Shooting Star (1999), In the Evil Day (2002) and The Broken Shore (2006), winner of the CWA Gold Dagger for Crime Fiction in 2007. He lives in Ballarat, Australia, with his family.