Bantam, July 2007
Reviewed by Sunnie Gill
A middle-aged man is found murdered in sand dunes overlooking a public
childrenís swimming pool. The later discovery of several more men found in
similar circumstances makes it pretty clear that the police are dealing
with a killer or killers who are taking the law into their own hands and
removing paedophiles from the streets.
Jill Jackson is a sergeant in the New South Wales police. Life is
difficult for her at the best of times, but this case brings to the
surface childhood memories she has been trying to deal with for over
twenty years. Jill herself was the victim of a paedophile after being
kidnapped, and has been trying to deal with it ever since. As the
investigation progresses, Jill uncovers a long-established paedophile ring
with wealthy, powerful men as its members. But are they so well protected
that they are untouchable?
Leah Giarratano is a trauma psychologist based in Sydney. Among her
clients have been victims of sexual abuse and men serving sentences for
child abuse. VODKA DOESNíT FREEZE is her first novel. I had the good
fortune to hear Giarratano speak last year. She talked about the book
being cathartic for her. She regarded it as an exercise to purge herself
of bottled up emotions. She never expected a publisher to accept it.
VODKA DOESNíT FREEZE isnít an easy book, It is a very dark subject
Giarratano writes about, a subject that is difficult to explore. However,
the reader who can make it through is rewarded. It offers some insights in
ways perhaps not expected by the author or the reader. Yes, it does
demonstrate how different people deal with being sexually abused, but what
I found was that perhaps inadvertently the author has shown something of
the emotional toll taken on professionals who deal with sex offenders in
their working life.
VODKA DOESN'T FREEZE is a nominee for the 2008 Ned Kelly Awards for Best
First Fiction and a deserving one.
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