The brotherhood is the first in what promises to become an interesting series of police procedurals set in Tasmania. Sergeant John White, a well-liked police instructor and old-timer with an impeccable reputation, is murdered during a routine call-out, the foundations of the Tasmania Police are shaken. The difficult investigation involving a figurehead of the department acquires serious political connotations when the main suspect is identified as Aboriginal and rocks the ever–tense relationships between black and white on Tasmanian soil. Erskine focalizes the action through the eyes of fellow policemen, friends, kin, enemies and the Indigenous suspect himself, uncovering a victim profile at odds with White’s clean reputation (is this choice of last name intentional?) and that of the nation’s smallest state police service.
By offering a wide variety of perspectives, the novel successfully touches upon a range of discomforting issues, such as the nature of police culture, with its politics and corruption, and the Aboriginal/non-Aboriginal divide In Tasmanian society and its embedding in law and politics. As one reviewer has it, “Compared to other countries, it’s always seemed that there’s a shortage of contemporary, informed, realistic, dark and confrontational Australian Police Procedural crime fiction being written. At the very least there’s room for a lot more and THE BROTHERHOOD is an uncomfortable, interesting, enlightening and clever debut entry in that classification.”