Crucifixion Creek

Crucifixion Creek Author : Barry Maitland
Country : Australia

This first novel in a series, Crucifixion Creek (2014), features homicide detective Harry Belltree, son to Sydney’s first Aboriginal Judge, veteran special forces soldier who served in Afghanistan, and lone wolf cum anti-hero

Barry Maitland is known for the Brock & Kolla detective series set in London, where he lived with his parents, and for the more recent Harry Belltree crime investigation series set in Sydney. Both series work with a strong sense of place and build on morally ambiguous but likeable police characters. This first novel in the latter series features homicide detective Harry Belltree, son to Sydney’s first Aboriginal Judge, veteran special forces soldier who served in Afghanistan, and lone wolf cum anti-hero. The crime scene location has a notorious reputation: Crucifixion Creek is the scene of a massacre of Aboriginal people by early colony British marines, whose history extends into the current day and forms the backdrop to the novel’s action. Belltree become suspicious of an elderly couple’s suicide pact because it seems to connect to his brother-in-law Greg’s murder as they all shared ties with a bent moneylender with friends in high and low places. Belltree bends the rules that put a ban on personal involvement and cannot refrain from investigating as there are even darker connections to the car crash that killed his parents and blinded his loved and loving wife. Belltree ends up living dangerously, having to find the truth amidst a complex network of relations within his family, within the police force, within the media, and within the location of the action itself, where drugs and violence reign. Using an approach that primes outcome over procedure, Belltree contrasts nicely with the more formally correct behaviour of Brock & Kolla in London, making for a distinctly Aussie character that is no les effective in his results.

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