7 January 2016

Review: GOOD MONEY, J.M. Green

Synopsis (Scribe Publications)

Introducing Stella Hardy, a wisecracking social worker with a thirst for social justice, good laksa, and alcohol.

Stella's phone rings. A young African boy, the son of one of her clients, has been murdered in a dingy back alley. Stella, in her forties and running low on empathy, heads into the night to comfort the grieving mother. But when she gets there, she makes a discovery that has the potential to uncover something terrible from her past -- something she thought she'd gotten away with.

Then Stella's neighbour Tania mysteriously vanishes. When Stella learns that Tania is the heir to a billion-dollar mining empire, Stella realises her glamorous young friend might have had more up her sleeve than just a perfectly toned arm. Who is behind her disappearance?

Enlisting the help of her friend Senior Constable Phuong Nguyen, Stella's investigation draws her further and further into a dark world of drug dealers, sociopaths, and killers, such as the enigmatic Mr Funsail, whose name makes even hardened criminals run for cover.

One thing is clear: Stella needs to find answers fast -- before the people she's looking for find her instead.

Set in the bustling, multicultural inner west of Melbourne, Good Money reveals a daring and exciting new voice in Australian crime fiction.

My Take

GOOD MONEY was shortlisted in 2014 for the Victorian premier’s literary award for an unpublished manuscript.This led to a two book deal, hence the blurb on the cover "The first Stella Hardy novel."

The novel is one of a batch of new titles by young Australian authors published recently which reflects the current mileu of Australian society: one that is struggling to adapt to new elements of multiculturalism; growing cities in which crime and corruption seem to thrive; rural communities in steady decline; a fragile mining industry with illusory riches where the naive are the prey of the organised crime.

The author's quirky sense of humour surfaces frequently as social worker Stella Hardy searches for her missing neighbour and is frequently summoned for help by an African client whose son has been murdered in what looks like a drug deal gone wrong. Small gobbets of Stella's background surface to flesh out her character. In this story Stella gets herself into some horrendous situations, and I'm amazed that she survived.

An interesting read from an author worth following.

My rating: 4.3

Other reviews:
Fair Dinkum Crime
Aust Crime Fiction
The Guardian

Author's website

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