Steven Herrick






Allen & Unwin, August 2007
Reviewed by Sally Roddom

Mystery, Young Adult

Eddie Holding lives with his family on the edge of Burruga in NSW Australia. Burruga is a coal mining town and Eddie yearns to leave school and start work  down in the mine. His father, Albert, has returned from WWII mentally broken. He wants Eddie and his brother Larry to rise above the crowd. Working as a farmhand, Albert is obsessed with his sons staying in school and refuses to let Eddie go down the mine. Larry is happy to stay at school. He sees learning as his ticket out of town but he spends most of his spare time getting drunk and ogling Colleen the town beauty. In fact, most of the male population of Burruga lusts after the beautiful Colleen, so when her body is discovered near the river one Friday night, most of the town’s male population is under suspicion. Sergeant Grainger narrows the suspects down, but Eddie has his own idea who the murderer is and he tries to direct the investigation towards that person.

It took a while for me to get use to way Stephen Herrick presented the story. Looking at the page you would think it is going to be poetry, but it reads like a normal novel. The format distracted me until I got use to it. Each of the main characters takes a turn to tell the story, only a page or so at a time. This technique has both good points and bad, the good is that you learn more about the individual characters and can get a better insight into what makes them tick, the bad is that as the story cuts back and forth it breaks up the flow of the story momentarily. It is this choppiness, despite an engrossing story, that let the whole thing down for me.

June 2008 review originally published on Murder and Mayhem


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