The Broken Shore Synopsis
Broken by his last case, homicide detective Joe Cashin has fled the city and returned to his hometown to run its one-man police station while his wounds heal and the nightmares fade. He lives a quiet life with his two dogs in the tumbledown wreck his family home has become. It’s a peaceful existence – ideal for the rehabilitating man. But his recovery is rudely interrupted by a brutal attack on Charles Bourgoyne, a prominent member of the local community. Suspicion falls on three young men from the local Aboriginal community. But Cashin’s not so sure and as the case unfolds amid simmering corruption and prejudice, he finds himself holding on to something that it might be better to let go. (The Book Depository)
The Broken Shore is the first of Peter Temple’s novels that I have read and I must admit I took a little while to get into this story. Why? I was listening to this in audio and I found the amount of swearing in the dialogue in the first chapter quite off-putting. I also found the frequent use of derogatory names for the Australian aboriginal community difficult to listen to.
Funny story – I actually had this playing in my car when I drove past an RBT (random breath test) one day and was mortified at the thought I might have been pulled over and had police hear what was coming out of my car stereo!
Despite what for me was a shaky start, I am immensely glad I persisted with this novel. Peter Temple’s character development and depth of story soon steam-rolled the early reservations I had. And just for the record, the audio narration of this novel by Peter Hosking was very well done – steeped in Australian colloquialism which fitted the mood of the story.
In The Broken Shore Peter Temple has created characters that display the darker side of humanity that is all too present in society, whether we choose to admit it or not.
There is a relentless and very personal message contained in Peter Temple’s The Broken Shore, a continual surging towards the delivery of justice in an imperfect world by imperfect people – symbolic of waves crashing into a shore. This is no pollyanna story – some readers may find the subject matter confronting (over and above the use of language I’ve already mentioned).
The Broken Shore is not all doom and gloom though, with laugh out loud moments steeped in good old fashion Australian sarcasm along with tender interactions between tough guy Joe Cashin and his adored pets, two giant poodles. Temple’s decriptions of animal behaviours and personification of their intentions are a real joy.
Peter Temple is a deft observer of life with important messages to convey.
BOOK RATING: The Story 4 / 5 ; The Writing 4 / 5
Genre: Drama, Crime-Detective, Mystery
Author Information: Peter Temple is an Australian author who sits firmly in the crime fiction genre. Previously a journalist and journalism lecturer, he began writing fiction in the 1990s. He has published several titles and won many literary awards including the Miles Franklin Award, Gold Dagger and 5 Ned Kelly Awards.
This review counts towards my participation in the 2011 Aussie Author Challenge.