Let me quickly dismiss the first of the three as for people who have not quite grown up, though there is some better than average writing and atmospherics in it. Mind you, there are those, like this reader, who will love November Mourns by Tom Piccirilli (2005), but I think Americans have a big enough image problem as it is without works like this confirming everyone’s worst suspicions. But maybe it is just the genre I find annoying.*
So I turned with relief to Blood Redemption by Alex Palmer (2003), a very local product set in Surry Hills, Camperdown, Newtown and other points familiar to me; in fact I passed the “crime scene” several times this week as I went to and from Royal Prince Alfred Hospital. I found the book a bit slow-moving at first, but once I became involved I could not let go. Palmer rates a very positive mention in Jeff Popple’s overview “Australian Crime Fiction”, Mystery Readers Journal, Volume 20, No. 4, Winter 2004-05:
Crooked cops tend to dominate in Australian crime novels, with few traditional police novels being produced. Garry Disher’s very good series about Detective Inspector Hal Challis is one of the exceptions and mixes solid plotting with strong characters and a good sense of place. Claire McNab also regularly provides new entries in her lightweight series about lesbian detective Carol Ashton, and 2003 Ned Kelly Award winner Alex Palmer has added depth and literary credibility to the police novel with her impressive first novel, Blood Redemption.
Finally, I have just read my first John Baker novel, King of the Streets (1998). “This is not a book for the sensitive or those after entertainment that will not touch them, but of its kind, it is fast-paced and good,” writes one reviewer. I will be back for more, that’s for sure.