Two books in, this series about detective Nhu Kelly is impressive. Newton is a former cop and her novels reek of authenticity. Few writers anywhere in the world have captured so accurately what police work is like. Sometime they go a bit too far – too much of repetition, office politics, bad food and smells – but the overall effect, the sense of how police work can grind you down, betray and destroy you, is powerful. They capture that strange character of cops where a strong moral sense is often accompanied by a whining attitude to the world that can easily get out of control and turn the morality bad.

Newton remains one of the few crime novelists to have made use of the rich potential of Sydney’s ethnic diversity, and the fact that on average immigrants have led more dramatic lives than non-immigrants. With her main character’s mixed background, this is used to powerful effect.

The novels are The Old School and Beams Falling.



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