The Broken Shore Paperback – Feb 26 2008
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From Publishers Weekly
What do you do if you want to turn the latest book by a writer who's won five Ned Kelly Awards (Australia's equivalent to the Edgar Awards) into an equally impressive audio version? Blackstone had the perfect solution: get a reader like Hosking, who can do all the voices, from big city cop Joe Cashin, young and old aborigine men and women and truly frightening racist cops who will do anything to bury their deadly secrets. Hosking's characters are instantly and subtly rendered, springing to life quickly in listeners' minds. And his reading of Temple's descriptions of the Australian countryside, ranging from lush to rough, is a virtual audio trip to the source. This talented team catches the excitement and the beauty of a unique land. A simultaneous release with the FSG hardcover (Reviews, Apr. 2).
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
*Starred Review* Thanks largely to Hollywood, Americans tend to picture Australians as genial, sunburned rednecks who enjoy beer, barbecue, and bare-knuckle brawling. Without countering all of those stereotypes--the only touching Temple's men do is with their fists--The Broken Shore offers a cold-weather vision of the continent that, despite its rural setting, is more Ian Rankin than Crocodile Dundee. Melbourne homicide detective Joe Cashin has been temporarily assigned to his hometown, dinky Port Monro. Rehabilitating (with aspirin and whiskey, mostly) from injuries only slowly explained, he broods over family history and mistakes made. But when a local eminence is assaulted--and an attempt to detain the suspect goes fatally wrong--Cashin finds that small-town crimes offer complications worthy of the big city. Though the dense slang will be unfamiliar to U.S. readers (a glossary is provided), what's striking is how easily South Australia anagrams to the American West. Substitute Indians for Aborigines, and land-use issues for land-use issues (Australia has lots of coastline, but waterfront property is waterfront property), and you have a familiarly troubling tale of race and class conflict--with an even darker crime at the heart of it all. Temple's novel racked up the awards in Australia, and it's easy to see why: this deeply intelligent thriller starts slowly, builds inexorably, and ends unforgettably. Keir Graff
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Top Customer Reviews
But the tempo quickly increases when a wealthy local resident, Charles Bourgoyne is found dead, with his expensive Breitling watch missing. Senior Detective Hopgood from the town nearby believes that the local Aboriginal community is responsible for the murder. Politicians become involved and racial tensions flare, especially after two boys die in avoidable and regrettable circumstances.
Cashin is put in charge of the investigation: why, and by whom, was Charles Bourgoyne killed? Is the local Aboriginal community involved and is it possible to get beyond the suspicion between the communities in order to find out the truth? At the same time as he is investigating Charles Bourgoyne’s murder, Joe Cashin is dealing with some issues of his own. Will he be able to rebuild his home with the help of the itinerant Rebb? Can he revisit the past without becoming lost in it?
‘Being alive’s a present,’ said Rebb. ‘Every minute of every hour of every day.’
I picked this novel up on the recommendation of a friend, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The themes include a number of big issues such as police corruption and Aboriginal politics, but there are other twists and turns to negotiate. It’s a very Australian novel in setting and presentation, but the events portrayed could happen anywhere. Sadly.Read more ›
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
This is one special detective story and puts Temple in a class with the best from these authors - Peter Robinson, Ian Rankin, Michael Connelly, John Sanford. I can't tell from the DJ, but it seems that the detective, Joe Cashin, is a newly introduced character and he comes with a ton of baggage - ala Harry Bosch. But that is what makes the storyline intriguing. Joe Cashin is very unique man and carries much emotional and psychological damages from the past. That past is beautifully revealed one peel of the onion at a time.
Interesting is the racial tension that is portrayed between the Aboriginal people and the Police. Sometimes we tend to think that is a unique social situation just in the U.S. But here sparks fly and tempers mount in a seaside resort town that makes the seasonal switch from beautiful to ugly as fall gives in to winter. The author is able to pull the reader into the surroundings beautifully.
The characters that surround Cashin are so lifelike that the story reads like non fiction.
The author is Australian and therefore the prose is riddled with colloquialisms that are a little difficult to understand. There is a glossary in the back that will help the first time reader.
This is a wonderfully written piece of literature that happens to be a murder mystery.
He's the best novelist writing about crime in Australia, and considering how each of his books wins several awards, he's arguably one of the best crime writers on the planet.
And then he's a terrific novelist, period. Chapters are scenes. Sentences are packed with relevant information, delivered with a style so crisp every word crunches: "She was no more than fifteen, dark hair, pretty, it wouldn't last." He knows every last thing about his characters ("Tired in the trunk, hurting in the pelvis, pains down his legs, he swallowed two aspirins with the first swig of beer") and his setting ("peaty sod the color of chocolate when plowed"). And can he deliver a tale? In 340 pages, he can weave strands as diverse as racism, corruption, big money, family loyalty and personal kinks into a credible story.
Come for the crime, stay for the pure pleasure of reading.
I first encountered Peter Temple a few years ago, when I stumbled into Identity Theory and reeled out dazzled by plotting that was intricate without being confusing, characters so real I thought I was reading non-fiction, and dialogue that was always original but never mannered. Talent? To burn. But also a ferocious commitment to quality: "I fiddle endlessly with the prose, trying to catch speech rhythms, removing words, trying to find what can be left unsaid, trying to capture the look and the feel and the mood of a place."
For a day or so, I thought I could figure out how I could steal Temple's style. What a deluded ambition! Peter Temple owns a franchise, and with each book, he seems to move the bar higher.
Take The Broken Shore, his most recent novel. It starts with Joe Cashin, a police detective currently assigned to a small town near Melbourne, responding to a widow's distress call. Her trouble suggests the scale of local malfeasance --- someone's in her shed.
Cashin apprehends the man, inspects his clearly bogus decade-old identification.
"Could be a murderer," the widow suggests. "Killer. Dangerous killer."
It's a small moment, but let's appreciate the accuracy. That is, the widow's reaction. The way she talks. And Cashin's reaction: He drives the man to a bigger road.
And then this, watching the man walk away, "swag horizontal across his back, sticking out. In the morning mist, he was a stubby-armed cross walking."
A throwaway moment? Yes. Gorgeous? Very.
And, of course, ten pages later, there is a murder. Charles Bourgoyne, old and rich. His assistant, Cashin realizes, is cousin to a kid he went to school with. What happened to him?
"Dead," she said. "Drove his truck off a bridge thing near Benalla. Overpass."
"I'm sorry. Didn't hear about that."
"He was a deads--t, always drugged up. I'm sorry for the people in the car he landed on, squashed them."
She found cigarettes, offered. He wanted one. He said no.
This cross-cutting between the personal and the professional is not just the literary pattern of "The Broken Shore" --- it's the subject. The novel is set on Australia's "Blue Balls Coast," where tourism is the dream of the future and not much happens. The murder might have a bit to do with land development; it might also involve the theft of a Breitling watch. It definitely involves kids from the slums, an Aboriginal politician and the usual assortment of bent cops who sell the drugs they confiscate. And what are we to think about surveillance that ends in a shootout because Cashin was assigned --- might have been assigned --- a car with a faulty radio?
Even the minor characters get their moment, There's a lawyer who once, in school, kissed Cashin, and now, as his new neighbor, kisses him again. The barista is a former dentist whose lover --- whose male lover --- was knifed to death in a park, "possibly by policemen." And these detailed memories go way back --- Cashin recalls, as a boy, learning to surf on a board with a big chunk missing. "Shark. Chewed the bloke in half."
In "The Broken Shore," lives get chewed in half too. But not dreams. On this quiet, seemingly idyllic coast, they died long ago. Read it and weep --- and, also, cheer.
This is an interesting and well written book that is part mystery, part social commentary and part character study. It is not a traditional crime novel and most certainly not a fast-paced thriller. Personally, I would have preferred more emphasis on solving the crime. (I also found the eventual solution to be pretty sordid and unpleasant - consider yourself warned.)
But the book is richer than a mere murder mystery. Peter Temple is a wonderful writer who uses words carefully and sparingly. Cashin is a complex and satisfying main character and the lesser characters are also rounded and interesting. I felt immersed in the remote seaside town and I was intrigued by the racial tensions.
I would recommend this book to those who enjoy Ian Rankin - I felt it was similar in style.
His quiet job reverts back to his previous work when local millionaire Charles Bourgoyne is beaten to death. The evidence points towards three Aboriginal teen males who were pawning the elderly victim's watch. However, the cops end up killing two of the boys. To Joe's shock, the department says case closed on the three deaths. Unable to let it go Joe investigates unofficially only to be buried in the slime of child pornography and sexual abuse.
THE BROKEN SHORE uses a relatively easily solved murder to provide readers with a deep look at social class in Australia. The story line is filled with plausible twists and turns as Joe cannot back off from learning the truth about the Bourgoyne murder, the official homicide investigation, and the inquiry into the sue of force. Police procedural fans will want to read this strong mystery that brings to life rural Australia.