My co-host Kerrie is currently sailing the oceans on long cruise from the US to Australia so I will post all her reviews of all the Aussie crime fiction she manages to consume while on her trip
Synopsis (Fremantle Press)
Cato Kwong is back. Back in Boom Town and back on a real case – the unsolved mystery of a missing fifteen-year-old girl.
But it’s midsummer in the city of millionaires and it’s not just the heat that stinks. A pig corpse, peppered with nails, is uncovered in a shallow grave and a body, with its throat cut, turns up in the local nightclub.
As a series of blunders by Cato’s colleague brings the squad under intense scrutiny, Cato’s own sympathy for a suspect threatens to derail his case and his career.
The “hook” in this novel is a Prologue describing a conversation between a serial killer and a female Psychology student who has a lot to learn about listening.
Cato Kwong has returned to Fremantle from the “stock squad”, but he knows it would be easy to put a foot wrong and be sent bush again. The novel opens with Cato accompanying a police squad and a murderer, presumably the one in the Prologue, to a desiccated lake, looking for a body. Gordon Francis Wellard is already serving a sentence for murder: they are looking for the body of a previous victim.
Corruption is rife in the police force particularly amongst detectives who are looking for the information that will give them the edge in a case. Deals done with criminals are often long lasting, and even the cleanest cops can find themselves doing something they know they shouldn’t.
This is #2 in Carter’s Cato Kwong series and he has fleshed out more background for Cato, and I think the novel is written in a grittier style. The new setting in Fremantle brings with it new characters, some of whom Cato has apparently worked with before, some he knows by reputation. Current social issues surface, such as territorial wars between bikie gangs, and Vietnamese protection gangs.
Cato’s family circumstances play a greater role too, and put the dangers of the sort of police work he does into greater perspective.
Carter’s first novel PRIME CUT won him a Ned Kelly Award for best first novel, and GETTING WARMER affirms that he is a writer to watch.
My Rating: 4.7