‘The Brush Off’ – Shane Maloney (Book Review)

the brush off

Dear Shane Maloney. You and Murray Whelan make me happy. Please come to my house for tea and vegan scones. Ange.

Dear reader. Shane Maloney is brill. Read him. Not for the crime, not for the politics, but purely for the hilarious turn of phrase which he employs to give life and laughter to his novels. From an opening scene of sexual possibilities comedically placed in a moonlit public garden, to a farcical incident in a basement involving an empty pool, a window, and a wetsuit on stilts, the protagonist fights his way through political intrigue, shady corruptions, murder, custodial responsibility and snake bites to entertain and amuse even the most bored of fiction fans.

Being the second Maloney novel I’ve read, the basic blueprint is reminiscent of the series’ debut. But the writing has graduated and proves tighter and well-edited, while still remaining easily accessible and fantastically interesting. ‘The Brush Off’ is set in Melbourne with a strong emphasis on our weather, our culture, and our colourful political situations. The author himself is very witty and, having seen him speak at several festivals, is just as dry and opinionated as he comes across in his books. It is certainly an advantage to be Melbournian as the references fell on well lubricated ears (eyes?), but like other reviewers I wondered how engaging it was for those who reside elsewhere?

Needless to point out, I enjoyed this book so much I wanted to hop straight into bed with the next one.

Recommended – especially to Melbournites!

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