I love a book with short chapters and lots of dialogue so Peter Temple has definitely done us both a favour with ‘The Broken Shore’. His protagonist Cashin, a Melbourne homicide detective, is living and working in a rural town that still holds firm to a racial divide and clings tightly to a ‘cops and robbers’ mentality. After the death of a long-standing social figure, the town is thrown into a chaotic and bloody aftermath with convalescing Cashin seemingly at the helm.
There are plenty of twists and turns to keep the reader guessing and like most crime dramas everyone seems suspect, if not just a little odd. Particularly intriguing are the parallels Temple draws between Cashin rebuilding his family property, the mending of his personal relationships, and his recovery from a work related motor accident. This is a man certainly trying to put together the pieces in more ways than one.
The first 100 or so pages, although well written, seem to just bumble along, but by halfway, pace escalates and the reader is exposed to some very shady dealings indeed. For one who hasn’t read a lot of crime fiction, ‘The Broken Shore’ was a great hook-in: easy style, good crafting and genuine unpredictability. An enjoyable read.