by Sukey HowardSeptember 2007
Murder down under
Peter Temple's deceptively simple prose style fools you, at least it fooled me, into thinking that The Broken Shore would be a solid, just-the-facts-ma'am crime story, narrated in authentic Aussie by Peter Hosking. But well before the first disc is over, Joe Cashin, a Melbourne detective now back in the small South Australian town he grew up in, begins to intrigue with his hard-nosed, smart-mouthed cynicism and his fondness for opera, Joseph Conrad, dogs and underdogs. As Joe's backstory surfaces a recent brush with death that's left him with heavy-duty scars, physical and otherwise, a relationship gone sadly south, his father's suicide so do Temple's concerns about power, power politics, injustice, prejudice and the loss of wild country to unprincipled developers which he takes on in carefully crafted, intertwined subplots. Cashin's convalescence ends abruptly when a wealthy local is beaten to death and pressure from on-high wants the blame to stay with three marginally involved Aboriginal teens. Investigating without authorization, Joe uncovers the nasty truth and, with it, unexpected horrors.