A Tropical Cure by John Hollenkamp

‘Townsville in February. Hot and steamy.’

And, within a very short period, a few bodies are discovered. First, a taxi driver disappears. His burnt-out cab is found in a desolate spot. Close by, a stolen car is found half submerged in a tidal creek. There’s a body in the boot, but it’s not the cab driver. Then, on the banks of the Ross River, another body is found. This man has had his throat cut and had four fingers amputated. He’s Simon Rowe: a bank manager, a drug dealer and a high-school friend of Darren Mangan.

‘Find a body in a drain, nine times out of ten, it’s crime related. Not random.’

So, what’s happening in Townsville? Are these disappearances and deaths connected? How is Darren Mangan involved? There’s a crime family from Melbourne looking for a missing kilogram of cocaine, a group of kids who push their luck too far, and there’s Eddie. Remember Eddie from ‘Stealth’? Darren is still looking for him. But Darren’s got a few problems of his own to sort out, and he’s being hunted as well.

Mr Hollenkamp has written another high-energy novel, crammed with short, sharp chapters as the action moves between the various characters and intertwined threads. There are plenty of bad guys, most of whom will receive an appropriate comeuppance. Alas, not everything ends quite the way I’d like: a few of the good guys suffer along the way and I’m fairly sure that they won’t all be part of Darren’s next adventure. Because there will be more, won’t there Mr Hollenkamp?

If you’ve not yet read ‘Stealth’, I suggest that you do before reading ‘A Tropical Cure’. The first novel is an introduction to the second, a continuation (in large part) of Darren’s search for Eddie which becomes complicated.

Me, I’m hoping for (at least) a third instalment.

Jennifer Cameron-Smith