The mystery/thriller genre is one of my favorites, so I’m always on the lookout for new books belonging to the genre. When I saw a copy of The Broken Shore on the hostel shelves, I knew I had to pick it up. The promise of a proper crime story set in the middle of Australia convinced me straight away, and I think the setting is what I ended up liking most of this novel by Peter Temple. I like it when local knowledge shows in a story, although I do have to admit that the amount of Australian slang used in the story did slow down the pace considerably. There is a glossary in the back, but still it might complicate reading the story for those who are not familiar with the words. That said, I also admire the author for having used the Aussie words, since it makes the story more authentic. The plot itself is quite interesting and touches some interesting themes like corruption and racial prejudice. It’s an entertaining enough read, even though I can’t say it was one of my favorites.
Homicide detective Joe Cashin has fled the ctiy after being broken by his last case. He returns to his hometown to recover from the past and let his wounds heal, but this recovery is interrupted by the murder of a wealthy older man and prominent member of the local community: Charles Bourgoyne. Three young men form the Aboriginal community are suspected of having commited the crime. Cashin is asked to help in the case, and he personally isn’t so sure the three youngsters did it. Corruption and prejudice seem to play a big role in the case and when one of the young Aboriginal men dies after a chase, all hell breaks loose. The local police is accused of discrimination by the Aboriginal community, clouding the actual murder investigation even further. What really happened to Charles Bourgoyne?
The Broken Shore is an interesting enough crime novel for those who like the genre, although it’s not the best out there. The Australian setting and slang make the story feel authentic on one hand, but it does make it difficult to read for those who are not familiar with the dialect. The plot itself is not that special, although the involvement of the Aboriginal community did give it an extra touch. All in all a solid enough read if you don’t mind the frequent use of Aussie words.