The Bank Inspector

The Bank Inspector is the first book in a trilogy of crime stories, featuring Detective Sergeant Brian Shaw, set in the banking world of 1950’s South Australia by Australian author Roger Monk.

The world of the 1950s is a place most of us only know from television shows, and the intricacies of its banking and police worlds have slipped from our working memories.

Although I lived through most of the 1950s, as a small boy I had no idea how things worked in the adult world. This story is an intriguing look through a window into that world.

The tale is one of an almost perfect crime and an attempted murder that, at first, does not seem related to the main story. However, as the story progresses the pieces start to make sense as more and more connections are revealed.

I enjoyed the insight into the less sophisticated world of yesterday – a world where there were no mobile telephones, no photocopiers, no digital photography, and no computers. It was also a world where people trusted others to be who they said there were – an aspect exploited by the criminal mind driving the story.

As a writer of contemporary crime fiction, I felt a bit sorry for D Sgt Shaw. He has his work cut out for him in this investigation, in a world where the police have to rely on information gained through speaking to people, very basic forensics, and the criminal making a mistake.

And, of course, mistakes are made as they always are. It’s a good read with a pace suited to the times.

You can find out more about The Bank Inspector and the other books in the trilogy on www.rogermonk.com.au

Ebook edition is available from Amazon.

What it’s like being a teacher.

Here’s another social issue I slipped into After. This snippet comes from chapter two, where Sgt Marie Wood ponders why Josie Ford may have decided to take some time out.


She turned her thoughts to Josie. Why would an apparently happily married mother of two teenage boys disappear first thing in the morning? Well, she was a teacher. The things they had to put up with would be enough to push anybody over the edge. Teachers didn’t get much respect these days and it was becoming fashionable to blame them for everything that was wrong with today’s young people. So much for parental responsibility. Now it was all some teacher’s fault for not disciplining little Johnny or not teaching him properly. Parents were even going into classrooms and threatening teachers when their little darling was called to account for his latest outburst of anti-social behaviour and it wasn’t just the boys mucking up in schools. Just last week she had attended the local high school when an angry parent had turned up and threatened to shoot the principal.


Have you ever wondered what it’s like working as a teacher these days? It’s certainly not an easy task. Perhaps it never has been.

A lot of us have trouble managing our own children. Can you imagine what it must be like being responsible for other people’s children? And not just one or two of them but maybe twenty-five or more, all of them vying for your attention and some intent on making your life as difficult as possible.

It’s probably just as well most kids are good-natured and want to get the most out of what their schools have to offer, otherwise, there probably wouldn’t be any teachers. What would we do then?

Peter Mulraney is the author of the Inspector West and Stella Bruno Investigates crime series.

Racked by Sue Coletta

Racked is the fourth book in Sue Coletta’s Grafton County series, based on the lives of crime writer Sage Quintano and her husband, Niko, the Sheriff of Grafton County.

I imagine being the wife of a sheriff would be trying enough but, somehow, Sage Quintano manages to bring more excitement into her life by attracting people intent on doing her or her family harm.

The story in Racked centres around the unsolved disappearance of five boys and Sage finding out they were all given a similar item prior to their disappearance – a stuffed animal like the one someone has mysteriously given her two-year-old son, Noah.

There is plenty of tension, much of it generated by the actions of Sage, who takes things into her own hands – despite her husband reminding her that she’s the writer and he’s the sheriff.

It’s a page-turner. It’s one of those books where you want to know what happens, even though the main character is driving you nuts with her impulsive behaviour. 

But, be warned, It’s not your usual police procedural. Sage Quintano is an amateur investigator who thinks the State Police and her sheriff husband aren’t doing enough, so expect a bit mayhem. I enjoyed it.

You can find out more about Sue Colettta and her books on www.suecoletta.com.

Scrublands

If you’re looking for a good read, take a look at Scrublands by Australian author Chris Hammer

Scrublands is set in Riversend, an isolated town in regional Australia, where people are barely holding on through a prolonged drought and coping with the after-effects of a tragedy.

The story follows Martin Scarsden, a journalist coping with his own problems, who has been sent from Sydney to write a feature story on the anniversary of the tragedy. 

What sounded like a fairly straight forward assignment to Scarsden, soon develops into a complex, twisted adventure as the truth slowly leaks out and events overtake his story and the people of Riversend.

You’ll meet some interesting characters, get a taste of life lived in the middle of nowhere, and see through a window into a town coping with drought, tragedy, and the loss of opportunity.

I picked up a copy from the book tent at Adelaide Writers’ Week and thoroughly enjoyed it.

Available from

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and other online stores.

Reading Twisted Justice

There are times when it feels like taking the law into your own hands is the only option you have for obtaining justice. Fortunately, most of us resist the temptation to act on that impulse and put our trust in the justice system. Sometimes, though, people take the other option.

The opening story in Twisted Justice explores what happens when Trent Mitchell takes that option and administers the justice the system refused to give him. 

I’m sure very few people take that option lightly, and Trent is no different. He’s agonised over his decision for years but there are only so many sleepless nights and tormented dreams a man can endure.

If you keep going over the same story in your head, it’s like reliving the story every time you tell it. If you blame someone else for what happened, you can come to believe you must take action so they pay for your loss. This is where Trent Mitchell is when we meet him. He’s planning his first execution.

If you’ve read the earlier books in this series, you’ll know there will be more than one crime story and the stories will somehow be connected. The second story involves car thief, Ian Holden. I think you’ll like the way I introduce him into the story.

Ian’s a man with a different problem. He’s part of a car-stealing gang and he’s just been caught with the goods. There may be honour among thieves but that doesn’t always translate into trust, and this is where Ian Holden’s real problem lies.

When Twisted Justice opens, DI West’s team is investigating a car-stealing racket that seems to be doing the impossible. Then, Trent Mitchell strikes, and Carl has to divide his attention and resources to solve both cases.

This is a bit of a different read, where you know who the killer is right at the start and get to ride along with the team as it works out who he is.

You also get a look into how the team uses incremental steps to build the case against the mastermind of the car-stealing gang. Wayne seems a little obsessed with this one.

And, of course, there are a few twists and turns. Let’s face it, logical people often make irrational decisions – and that’s what makes crime so interesting.

Twisted Justice is available from a range of online retailers.

Choose Your store

Computers and Crime

Have you noticed that every time a device comes along to make life easier someone always finds a way to us it against us? 

Electronic banking was supposed to make moving money around easier and more secure. Now there’s more theft – and it’s not only money they’re stealing. Although, ultimately, it’s always money they’re after. It might not be your money but it could be your identity they want to use to get someone else’s money.

Relax. It’s not my intention to deter you from shopping online. There are plenty of safeguards in place. You know the drill – keep your internet security software up to date, shop on secure sites, and don’t click on links or open attachments from suspicious emails.

What I want to share, from a crime writing perspective, is an insight into the impact of computers on police work – an entry from the other side of the ledger.

Continue reading “Computers and Crime”

Life or Death – Michael Robotham

Why would a man break out of prison the day before he was due to be released?

This is the question driving the story of Audie Palmer in Life or Death by Michael Robotham.

It’s certainly a question that kept me turning the pages in this well-constructed riddle, and I was a long way in before I picked up the clue that exposes the reason behind Audie’s apparently mindless act.

Life or Death is an intriguing story with an interesting cast of players, including Moss Webster, Audie’s only friend when he was in prison, who gets dragged into the hunt, and FBI Special Agent Desiree Furness, who wants to get to the bottom of what’s really going on.

Of course, there is another group of characters who only want Audie dead, so there is more than enough action to keep you wondering whether Audie is going to end up dead or not before you find out the answer to that initial question.

Good read. I can recommend this one.

You can find out more about Michael Robotham and where to buy his books at michaelrobotham.com

Reading Whistleblower

Whistleblower: someone who informs on a person or organisation engaging in unlawful or immoral acts. 

We hear about the more sensational whistleblowers, like Edward Snowden, who take their stories to the media. Most public service whistleblowing is nothing like that. It’s routine and done behind closed doors far away from the media spotlight.

Whistleblower starts with the routine reporting of a suspicion that something is not quite right in the Office of State Supply. However, the whistleblower makes a mistake that alerts those involved and puts him in harm’s way.

The story explores a simple premise: the whistleblower has his own secret that leads to his death after he lifts the lid on the secret dealings of the Office of State Supply.

But, as anyone who’s read the other books in this series will know, it won’t be that simple. You will find several stories wrapped together in this tale of murder and intrigue. Continue reading “Reading Whistleblower”

Reading Holy Death

The initial thought behind the writing of Holy Death was imagining a victim of child sex abuse taking the law into his own hands and dealing out retribution, and wondering what would happen after that.

One complicating factor I decided to include was having two victims of the same perpetrator take action independently on the same night, using very different methodologies.

One takes direct action and murders the abuser priest. The other takes a more indirect approach and kills the abuser’s closest friend, another priest, hoping to inflict a sense of the loss he has suffered. Continue reading “Reading Holy Death”

Reading The Holiday

The Holiday came from me wondering what would happen if an old man and a young boy took off for the weekend without telling anyone, in the hope that their action would bring the boy’s parents back together, and then everything goes wrong.

To help things go wrong, I gave the old man, Kieran Moore, a dark history that puts his great-grandson, Toby, in danger through being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Kieran gets killed. Toby gets kidnapped because he’s a kid and Kieran’s killers can’t bring themselves to kill a ten-year-old boy. This storyline ultimately leads to Clare’s story, which we will come back to in a minute.

Continue reading “Reading The Holiday”