Trudi’s #CBR5 review #1: The Broken Shore by Peter Temple

The broken shore is a standalone crime novel by Peter Temple. It is set in Port Monroe, a small village somewhere in Australia. Joe Cashin is a homicide cop who has transferred from Melbourne to Port Monroe to recover both physically and mentally after a case in which his partner was murdered and Cashin himself was brutally attacked and nearly killed, too. After the many ugly cases Cashin investigated in the city, Port Monroe is a walk in the park where the worst that can happen is a few traffic incidents and having to chase the odd vagrant when the neighbours start complaining.
This peace is interrupted, however, when the town’s great benefactor, Mr Bourgoyne, is found tortured in his own home and later dies of the injuries in the hospital. Despite Bourgoyne’s wealth, nothing has been taken from the crime scene except an exclusive Breitling watch. The watch is later traced to a pawnshop in Sydney where it was submitted by three Aboriginal teenagers from Port Monroe. The police’s attempt to apprehend the three youths goes badly wrong, ending in a car chase that leaves two of them dead and the third in hospital. Racial tensions in Port Monroe surge as a result, and a political fight in the media ensues. When the third teenager later commits suicide, the Bourgoyne murder is assumed solved and Cashin is told to close the case. Cashin thinks the youths may have been framed, however, and decides to dig deeper on his own…
The broken shore was a Christmas present, and is the first novel I have read by Peter Temple. I therefore had no expectations whatsoever, but I can honestly say that it has been years since I read a crime novel this good. Despite taking a few chapters to get used to the Aussie slang, I was instantly hooked and tore through the book in less than two days. I therefore agree wholeheartedly with the reviewer from The Independent on Sunday quoted in the blurb at the back of the book: read one page of this book and I challenge you not to finish it! Congratulations Peter Temple, you just made it to the top of my most wanted crime novel list!

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