If you like crime and detective fiction, then this is your book. If you like a thriller with a beautifully paced narrative and surprises round almost every corner then, without a doubt, this is your book. Alastair Sarre’s novel Prohibited Zone is an intelligent work that very skillfully combines the thriller with profound socio-political commentary. The plot moves around the figure of Steve, an ex AFL star player now a mining engineer, near Woomera, who puts on a rough exterior that covers a basically soft hearted man, and Kara a politically committed woman who takes part in the anti-detention centre movements, in this case that in Woomera. Kara, like Steve, hides a vulnerable personality behind her tough, practical, politically engaged facade. Almost without exactly knowing how it happens, Steve finds himself aiding and abetting Kara in her attempt to smuggle migrant escapee Saira back to Adelaide after a break out of detained immigrants at the Woomera detention centre. From this point on, Steve will find himself caught in a vortex of events over which he has little control. Pursued by police, coverup agents and unscruplous reward seekers he is constantly running for cover from Woomera to Adelaide with Kara and Saira. Of course, the assumption is that any escaped migrant is a terrorist or knows of terrorists in Australia, hence the need for Saira to be recaptured as soon as possible. In the course of his involvement with aiding an escaped refugee, Steve manages to alienate his occasional lover and finds himself increasingly attracted to the enigmatic Kara who refuses to reveal the secret that surrounds the figure of Saira or anything to do with her. The narrative becomes more and more complicated and increases speed as the reader moves through the book. The author plays cat and mouse with the reader, he leads one to believe that one knows what is happening and then he immediately surprises one by a disconcerting change of course. Suffice it to say that the ending of the novel is totally unpredictable.