Affirm Press, Melbourne Victoria, 2019
This is the second of the Lachie Munro crime fiction books. It is a ripping yarn with a larrikin voice and full of larrikin characters. Whilst it would not do to trivialise the sorts of crimes Andy Muir deals with – gang violence, drug and pharmaceutical trafficking and general skullduggery, it is nevertheless true to say that this is a lightly told story full of wry humour and astute commentary on modern society.
The accidental hero and at times accidental criminal is an engaging lead and the story holds enough twists and turns to keep the crime reader on his or her toes. Andy Muir’s conversational, ragging tone gives the book pace and allows us to effortlessly enter Munro’s Newcastle world
Muir shines a gentle light on undercurrents of Australian racism, on urban redevelopment and community change, on the Gen Y (or is it Z) property push. He also strolls through family ties, matters of loyalty to friends, police corruption and police integrity. This clearly approachable fiction has much to engender discussion and will no doubt be as successful as the first in the series, which garnered a short listing for the 2017 Ned Kelly Award for Best Debut Fiction.
The author’s background in screenwriting shows in his facility for believable dialogue. His wit and throw away lines are a strength and a nice touch in the genre, keeping the story always just far enough away from unpleasant truths for the reader’s comfort.