Australia doesn’t have a strong tradition of crime writing. There are great Australian crime novels and writers but there isn’t really an established tradition like in the UK (detective, whodunnit mysteries) or US (hardboiled PI/police procedural). Australian crime often borrows a bit from both.
Like with all genres there are many sub-genres within crime fiction. I love a gritty, realistic social drama from authors like George Pelecanos, Richard Price or Laura Lippman but I also like a far-fetched, totally unpredictable action romp which up until now has been the sole domain of American writers such as Duane Swierczynski. Dark City Blue explodes onto this scene. It has been published as an eBook only and I don’t think a print publisher would have had the guts to publish this. But thanks to Momentum Books this book can see the light of day (except when it is too glary for your screen).
Dark City Blue is an adrenaline-fuelled, action-crammed, wild and crazy page turner (eBook = swiper?). To call it a roller coaster ride is too tame. And as far as hard-boiled goes this is a hard-boiled, deep-frozen, sharpened implement.
Tom Bishop is the last of the good cops. When he busts open a child prostitution ring (with extreme violent prejudice) he discovers that the ring leader behind the operation is a dirty cop known as “Justice”. When “Justice” pulls off a $15 million robbery Bishop becomes dangerously obsessed with exposing the corrupt network within the police force and will ignore the law to do so. As the body count mounts Bishop discovers just how deeply the corruption runs and he may have gone too far over the line to ever get back.
The pace is frenetic, the violence unrelenting and the action scenes incredibly well done with just the right amount of insanity thrown in. This is an explosive debut and Luke Preston is name for crime fiction fans to watch, especially those that like a bit of the crazy and unpredictable.