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AustCrimeFiction: "Beautifully written, wonderfully evocative."

Date: Apr 30 2013

On page 2 of this book I kind of got the feeling that we'd be destined to get on very well....

"He's got more prior convictions than brain cells which means he won't get bail, so he's wallowing in the Metropolitan Remand Centre at Ravenhall, trying to find a lawyer who'll argue that society is to blame."

The sort of dry sense of humour that works for this reader at least.

Subtitled a detective's story in ten cases, this is the tale of the life and times of John Dorn. Private Inquiry Agent because that's what his father called himself, he's not quite the same as his father. Yet. He doesn't drink, lots. Yet. (His father drank himself to death). He doesn't have a wife to leave him (like his mother left his father), but he does have an ex-fiancee that he longs for. Where he does share his father's characteristics 100%, is that his business is heading in roughly the same direction... out the back door in a hurry.

Part of the reason for the lack of business success is undoubtedly that John Dorn's a decent bloke, who takes cases that nobody else would touch, that make very little money in the process, even though his friend, and very successful Defence Barrister throws him some help whenever he can.

Each of these 10 cases, 10 individual stories, follow a similar trail - backwards and forwards from the end to the past, from the current day to what got him here. Each of them is beautifully written, wonderfully evocative, dry and sad and funny all at the same time.

The jaded PI can be horribly clichéd, but in the hands of this author, there's something glorious about him. Possibly it's because Dorn himself, in a lovely twist, is acutely aware that he's a bit of a cliché. Perhaps it's because his jaded is what he's supposed to be (suffering for your art and all that). Of course he's also profoundly flawed, not in a dodgy way, but strangely as a form of self-preservation.

Whatever twists and turns, and leaps and bounds John Dorn takes, however, the book is deliciously readable and extremely well done.