Another wonderful Australian author writes a pacey, well-written novel which transports us to Queensland in 1974.
Charlie and his sister, Abby are travelling along a back road to their father’s farm where they encounter a lone vehicle who is forced off the road because Charlie, who has the wheel has drifted to sleep. The pregnant driver is killed and instead of alerting authorities, they flee leaving her beside the road. When they arrive at their father’s farm, they realise the dead woman is their father’s fiancé.
This is set in Queensland in an era of harsh corrupt policing and a right-wing government. It’s a family drama of secrets and lies never devoid of tension and twists, many of which I didn’t see coming. The guilt splits their family apart and plagues Abby and Charlie in different ways which we see because the narrative is split by their alternate point of view. My sympathy lay with Abby mostly, a woman trying to juggle three children, manage her high-flying husband, her self-absorbed brother and her grieving father. Somewhere in all that is a future she dreams of which now slips away.
This book is certainly a page turner and the references to the major events of the time such as Cyclone Tracey’s devastation of Darwin, were insightful and enlightening.
I’m in two minds about the ending which was abrupt and I found myself asking but what about… Nevertheless, it’s a good read and a compelling premise with lots going on, so give it a go.