3 March 2014

Review: DEAD CAT BOUNCE, Peter Cotton

Published in 2013 by Scribe
ISBN 978-1-9-2207-2542

Synopsis (Scribe)

A federal election campaign is thrown into chaos when a popular government minister goes missing and then turns up dead on the shores of Lake Burley Griffin.

With Detective Darren Glass and the Australian Federal Police on the case, the investigation into the minister’s murder quickly becomes entangled in a game of high-stakes politics. And all the while, the body count mounts.

Glass’s suspects include some of the most powerful people in the land. With the nation in shock and wanting answers fast, Glass has to negotiate a murky world of shifting allegiances, half-truths, and finger pointing, where everyone has a motive for murder.

And no one is safe — not even the prime minister. As election day nears, Glass risks everything for a breakthrough in the case, and his life is soon hanging by a thread. But if he thought he’d hit rock bottom, he was wrong …

My Take

Federal elections are only a fortnight away in Australia and in Canberra Susan Wright, the Minister for the Environment goes missing. After three days her body is found near Lake Burley Griffin. It seems that with Minister Wright's death the government's chance of re-election has evaporated.

Darren Glass and his boss, Assistant Commissioner Len McHenry of the Australian Federal Police, are making slow progress when a second person goes missing - this time Alan Proctor, a senior adviser in the Prime Minister's Office. 

By this time Glass has already upset the Prime Minister and the Police Commissioner, and it seems he may be thrown off the case. But fortunately for him McHenry values his insight and he survives.

And it is beginning to look as if Susan Wright's death may just bring the electoral bounce that PrimeMinister Michael Landsdowne needs.

Peter Cotton has managed to pull off one of those rare achievements - a political thriller that keeps the reader guessing all the way. As the election gets closer and closer the investigation becomes murkier and it is evident that the origins of the first murder go back a couple of decades, to events that occurred when Landsdowne and Wright were in Opposition.

Oh, and by the way, you never do really find out the "flavor" of the government, and that really doesn't seem to matter.

The structure of the novel is unusual - mainly Darren Glass' narration, interspersed with television commentary by a female "Live Cam" journalist, and daily provocative blog comments by another political commentator.

If you are a non-Australian reader, I'm not sure that the enjoyment of the novel hinges on an understanding of the Australian political system. In fact I'm pretty sure it wouldn't. It is very well written, particularly for a debut novel, and held my interest to the end.

My rating: 4.8

About the author
Peter Cotton has been the media advisor to three federal cabinet ministers, worked as a foreign correspondent for the ABC, been a senior reporter on the ABC’s AM and PM programs, and had stories published in most major print outlets in Australia. Dead Cat Bounce is his first novel.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Kerrie - This sounds like an interesting look at politics as well as a solid mystery. And I have to say I like the title.


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