This novel is well told, but populated by a cast of highly unlikeable, often misogynistic characters that, by the end, made me feel angry and unsettled. The scenario is interesting; its insight into police, media and political cultures in Hobart scathing. Whereas in Erskine’s debut novel, The Brotherhood, I felt I had someone to cheer for, in this I didn’t, not even Lucy, the cadet who instigates the investigation that forms the basis of the novel’s plot. Her behaviour, for a police officer, seems naive in the extreme.
That stated, I found the story compelling in the way that I find accidents and political scandals compelling. (I can take both in very small doses.) The book’s shortcoming – for want of a better word – is the structure, the consecutive points of view, a style which in The Brotherhood I found riveting.* Here it detracts from creating reader empathy for the book’s main character, Lucy, whose fate we’re meant to care for.
Another reader who reviewed this for the Australian Women Writers challenge, Shelleyrae of Book’dout blog, found it an excellent read.
* Erskine’s debut novel, The Brotherhood, recently shared the 2012 “Reader’s Choice” Davitt Award with Jaye Ford’s Beyond Fear.
This is Book 1 of my Aussie Author 2012 Challenge.