Michael Duffy

Young detective Nicholas Troy is a hard man to like, stuck in a difficult marriage, inarticulate, and mildly depressive. The two multi-viewpoint novels in the series to date are intelligent and delve into how Sydney works to an extent unusual and refreshing in crime novels, withThe Tower looking at construction and globalization while The Simple Death faces off voluntary – and involuntary – euthanasia.
Presumably the idea is to show Troy maturing into a wiser and fuller character, as he does slowly over the course of these novels, but the question is whether readers will stick around for the journey.

Duffy’s standalone third novel Drive By is about detective Bec Ralston and has a much-praised major character in Lebanese gangster John Habib. This is one of the few Sydney novels to take advantage of the rich ethnic potential of the city’s vast western suburbs.

It is also notable for being a novel about how we know what we know, and plays with some of the conventions of the crime novel. At the end, the reader knows more than any one character, including its nominal heroine. Again one wonders if readers are ready for such originality.




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