one faint deluded smile

Tuesday, June 08, 2004

Peter Corris continues to write spare, convoluted crime stories with Cliff Hardy as the main protagonist. He's possibly no better than a thousand other writers who utilise long standing characters but the particularly Australian feel of his novels always drags me in. And his writing is so concise and easy to read that the other Aussie latecomers to this genre rarely stand a chance in the comparisons.

This one is even more close to home as it deals with my immediate geographic area - the northern Illawarra coastline from Thirroul to Stanwell Park. I used to see Corris or his partner Jean Bedford walking around the local shops ages ago but then they dissappeared and I heard that they'd moved up to sunnier climes in Queensland. The bio in the new book says he's back down this way again but I've yet to see his lanky frame in the main street.

And this tale of the dark underbelly of Wollongong isn't likely to endear him to many of the locals anyway, I suppose. Luckily he's going to Norfolk Island in July for a writers festival (to keep out of the way of angered residents, maybe?). "The Coast Road" is filled with a mixture corrupt cops, bikie gangs, murders, prostitution, paedophilia, drug operations, a large pool of murky secrets and a laconic investigator at the heart of the matters. IE - it's standard P.I. fare but done with great economic style.

I'm unsure if it's one of his great books (how could I work out a complete opinion on something that flew by in a few hours reading) but it probably sits amongst his many, many good but flawed works. Maybe I'll see him on Lawrence Hargrave Drive and he'll let me know what he thinks...


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