The Burden of Lies by Richard Beasley

I really love it when I find a new (to me) Australian author.  This is the second novel in Richard Beasley’s Peter Tanner series, and I’ve now bought the first.  My only problem now is finding the time to read it.

‘I’m looking for all the truth I can get.  When I have the pieces, I’ll start on the puzzle.’

Sydney defence lawyer Peter Tanner has been hired to represent Tina Leonard, a self-made property mogul, charged with arranging the murder of Oliver Randall.  Oliver Randall, a senior banking executive, had just been released from prison where he had spent more than five years because of a drug conviction.  It’s clear who murdered him, but was the murder really arranged by Tina Leonard?

Peter Tanner has some problems of his own to deal with, but he immerses himself in Tina’s case.  It’s easy to establish a motive for Oliver Randall’s murder: the bank he worked for had called in loans made to Tina’s company which caused her to lose the business.  Tina lost her home as well as her marriage, and the children are with her ex-husband.

So, did Tina pay for Oliver Randall to be killed, or is she being set up?  What is the truth behind the business venture which collapsed when the bank called in Tina’s loan?  Why did the bank sell the development so cheaply?  And, if Tina isn’t guilty, then who else might be?

The more Peter Tanner looks, the more questions he has.  Welcome to a world of opportunism and sleaze: questionable property deals, crooked police, corrupt corporate bankers, powerful business people and drug dealers.  A world in which some are prepared to do anything at all to avoid the spotlight. Including threats against Peter and his family.

And the truth?  Is Tina Leonard innocent?

I enjoyed this novel.  While Peter Tanner’s methods are not always orthodox, they are certainly interesting and kept me turning the pages.  While the story held my attention, it was Peter Tanner that has me intrigued.  I’ve bought a copy of the first novel in the series (‘Cyanide Games’) to find out more about him.

Note: My thanks to NetGalley and Simon & Schuster (Australia) for providing me with a free electronic copy of this book for review purposes.

Jennifer Cameron-Smith