four-stars
Bookmarks Issue: 
30-Sept-Oct-2007
By: 
Peter Temple
user_rating: 
0

A-The Broken ShoreRecuperating from the terrible accident that claimed the life of a young rookie, Melbourne homicide detective Joe Cashin returns to his sleepy, childhood town in South Australia and takes over the small police unit there. When a wealthy philanthropist is brutally murdered, the crime is pinned on three Aboriginal teens caught trying to pawn the dead man’s possessions. Local law enforcement officials consider the case closed after two of the boys are gunned down during a police chase and the third disappears, but Cashin isn’t so sure. As he digs deeper into the case, he unearths racism, corruption, and a conspiracy to conceal crimes of the past.
Farrar, Strauss and Giroux. 368 pages. $25. ISBN: 0374116938

Birmingham Mail (UK) 4 of 5 Stars
"Tough, robust language and an original plot make this a crime fiction ‘tour de force.’" Joel Meyerowitz

Guardian (UK) 4 of 5 Stars
"In other hands, a decent enough premise; penned by Peter Temple, one of Australia’s leading writers, it is a towering achievement that brings alive a ferocious landscape and a motley assortment of clashing characters. The sense of place is stifling in its intensity, and seldom has a waltz of the damned proven to be so hypnotic." Maxim Jakubowski

Sunday Telegraph (UK) 4 of 5 Stars
"This is a very fine book. Characterisation, dialogue and the quality of the prose are all top-class and Cashin, a quiet, solitary man with a wry sense of humor, constantly tormented by his responsibility for the death of a colleague, is instantly likeable." Susanna Yager

Toronto Globe and Mail 4 of 5 Stars
"The Broken Shore is superb, full of great characters, and set in rural Australia, a place Temple obviously loves. But it’s his dialogue that carries the book." Margaret Cannon

Washington Post 4 of 5 Stars
"There is, in fact, a great deal of action ahead—murder, rape, suicide, child abuse, police brutality, shootouts—but always in the context of gorgeous writing. The novel is in fact an exceptional blending of first-rate crime fiction and a literary sensibility." Patrick Anderson

Entertainment Weekly 3.5 of 5 Stars
"Flinty, funny, subtle, and smart, The Broken Shore sags under the burden of a few too many narrative complications and, like many a top-drawer mystery, collapses toward the end, as the haunting questions, so elegantly posed, are suddenly and a little awkwardly answered. But this is a hazard of the genre, and Temple ranks among its very best practitioners." Jennifer Reese

NY Times Book Review 3.5 of 5 Stars
"Peter Temple drops the clipped delivery that gives a hard edge to his popular Jack Irish mysteries and delivers a mature and measured account of the kind of crimes committed in the dead quiet of rural Australia. … Along with giving us mournful scenes of civilization’s slow encroachment on an idyllic countryside, Temple offers some provocative and painful views of Australia’s inner landscape." Marilyn Stasio

Critical Summary

Peter Temple, the author of eight previous mystery novels and a five-time winner of the Ned Kelly Award, Australia’s most prestigious prize for crime fiction, is a literary sensation in the Southern Hemisphere. The Broken Shore lives up to expectations with its vivid characters, meticulously plotted story lines, nimble prose, and striking sense of place. Often compared to Michael Connelly’s Harry Bosch, Joe Cashin—flawed and cynical, but still looking out for the underdog—is a delightful protagonist. Though Entertainment Weekly thought that the denouement didn’t quite live up to its earlier promise, most critics unanimously praised this smart, sophisticated thriller. Hopefully, Temple will begin to attract more attention on this side of the equator.

Also by the Author

Bad Debts (1996): The first of Peter Temple’s hard-boiled Jack Irish mysteries, this suspenseful, neonoir thriller trails the bar-hopping ex-lawyer as he tries to solve the murder of a former client who left desperate messages for Jack just before he died.