ABBEY'S BOOKSELLER PICK ----- Alan Carter's latest novel skilfully blends the police procedural with the espionage thriller, so you certainly get extra 'bang' for your buck here. Also, in a year when most of us haven't been going anywhere, this story takes you afar, from Hobart to Perth, from Bunbury to Darwin, from Fremantle to Dili in Timor Leste.
The police procedural surrounds Detective Philip Kwong who is given the case of a butchered retiree who was living a quiet suburban life.
The spy thriller thread ratchets up the action significantly and revolves around a small group of whistleblowers giving testimony to a UN committee around Australia's oil manoeuvrings in the Timor Sea. The spook brought in to protect the posse is Rory Driscoll, a Gunditjmara man from Warnambool. Driscoll is one of those tough and capable people who can pull apart and reassemble a pistol within seconds.
Gradually, these threads pull tighter. A memorable line from a Timor warlord to Driscoll "They stole your land from you, and then they go and make their borders into something rigid and sacred against any other foreigners. Except for our oil reserves of course, where your border is as elastic as a Dali clock".
Not a line is wasted in driving the plot forward and his mastery of workplace banter is a pleasure to read. Craig Kirchner
The fifth and final instalment in the award-winning Cato Kwong series, Crocodile Tears sees Cato's life on the line and his only hope is someone from his past. But can he trust him?
Detective Philip 'Cato' Kwong is investigating the death of a retiree found hacked to pieces in his surburban Perth home. The trail leads to Timor-Leste, with its recent blood-soaked history. There, he reunites with an old frenemy, the spook Rory Driscoll who, in Cato's experience, has always occupied a hazy moral terrain. Resourceful, multilingual, and hard as nails, Rory has been Canberra's go-to guy when things get sticky in the Asia-Pacific. Now Rory wants out. But first he's needed to chaperone a motley group of whistleblowers with a price on their heads. And there's one on his, too.