Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Sucked In

Murray Whelan – political fixer, hopeless romantic, inadvertant detective and accidental MP – is the unreliable narrator of six novels and Sucked In, the latest, is a wonderful addition to this ongoing series by Australian author Shane MaloneyIn addition to his novels, Maloney writes columns, travel stories, articles and book reviews for various newspapers, magazines and anthologies. Maloney's book The Brush-Off won the Ned Kelly Prize for Crime Fiction in 1996. It was shortlisted for the Premiers Literary Award and set as an English text for Victorian secondary students. Nice Try was a nominee for the Age Book of the Year in 2000.  In Sucked In, the remains of a long-lost union official are found in a dried-up Lake and Murray soon gets sucked into some murky waters. The press are sniffing around and Labor's enemies are lining up for a free kick and there's the blackmail attempt, as well as an ALP preselection going pear-shaped. 

Full of sly and irreverent one-liners and some astute observations on both political and cultural life in Australia, Shane Maloney's books are always enjoyable reads. Not great detective fiction, I read the Whelan books for the sheer enjoyment of Maloney's view of the political landscape and Aussie life. If you haven't come across him yet, start out with Stiff - the first in the series, and one of the two books made into movies by humourist John Clarke starring David Wenham. You'll probably be Sucked In like I was.
Burn brightly, Pete.

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