Tasmania is in trouble.
While mainland Australia surges through the backwash of the GFC the island state is struggling. Political infighting, bureaucratic ineptitude and a lack of investment have curtailed progress. Too many people are lodging on ‘Struggle Street’.
DI John Mahoney knows this as well as anyone. Of more immediate concern to him is the brutal murder of a prominent business leader. The scale of public interest is high and the Serious Crimes Squad must make headway fast. As the investigation proceeds it becomes clear that whoever is behind the barbarity is sending a message to the whole community.
Another homicide quickly follows and pressure mounts as they seek to unravel the trail of clues. As Mahoney deals with fissures in his personal life and generational change in the police force he must call on his full array of investigative skills to get a result.
Warren Brewer, Mercury TasWeekend Review
It was inevitable Stephen Brown’s inimitable Detective Inspector John Mahoney, the head of Tasmania’s Serious Crime Unit introduced in his successful novel High Beam, would return.
The combination of a racy thriller, local context and relentless crime-fighter proved a winner and the same components are here – but there is a difference. The rawness of High Beam gives way to the sophisticated context of power politics, big business and issues that influence the future development of the state.
The stakes are high and the players are influential. Does this deter DI Mahoney? Not for a moment, even when two prominent Tasmanians are murdered in horrible circumstances.
A key figure in Tasmania’s conflicted forestry industry has been found, naked and horribly scarified, on the Barnbougle golf course. A week later, the body of a flamboyant Hobart stockbroker, renowned for his chequered trading record, is found in a lonely cabin.
Investigations reveal the deaths are linked and a degree of theatricality has been employed by the same assassin to maximise media attention. And the weight on DI Mahoney’s shoulders to provide answers grows.