Winter Traffic by Stephen Greenall
Reviewed by Gillian, Berkelouw Books, Mona Vale
Big man, Detective Michael Rawson, known variously as The Big Ship, The Blue Movie and The Incremental to give you just a few of his nicknames is at the centre of this sprawling story. He has been a hero, he has big gambling debts, he worries about his daughter and ex-wife and although he is suspected of corruption no-one has actually been able to make a case against him. Rawson is tight with Jamie Sutton (Sutto) who ended up in gaol when he refused to give evidence against an organised crime boss. Now he's a carpenter with a dog called Bloke. The woman Rawson loves has disappeared. Sutton knows what happened.
When a respected (but not well liked) Judge is found murdered, it looks like he has been investigating an old trial where there has been a miscarriage of justice. Karen Millar, an intelligent young officer is pulling the pieces together and inevitably comes up against Rawson.
So far so genre - except that this book is written with extraordinary style. There are soliloquies, there are reappearing comic fools in the form of hired "biff”, the dialogue cracks along and there is an experiment with structure that I don't quite get - but it is all intriguing. I loved this book. It is written with a grand love of Sydney and its murky environs and it is ambitious writing in the best way - relentlessly driving the story along, rendering each character with precision and delivering the action with brisk brutality