High Beam by S J Brown

‘John Mahoney rarely took risks.’

DI John Mahoney has recently returned to Hobart, Tasmania. While John Mahoney is relatively happy to be back in Hobart, returns are never easy. Things have changed while he was away, and not always for the better. Quite separate from his dissatisfaction with his private life, John Mahoney is increasingly concerned about some of the actions taken by his senior officers. Is it micromanagement, or interference?

And then, Brad Finch is murdered. Brad Finch was a key player in the Tassie Devils Football Club, and everyone wants answers. There’s intense media scrutiny, superior officers who want to be seen getting the answers needed (or do they?) and more than a few business interests involved.

The more DI Mahoney investigates, the more questions he finds need answers. Who killed Brad Finch, and why?

I mostly enjoyed this novel (at fewer than 260 pages it’s a comparatively quick read). Why did I enjoy it? Well, it’s set in my home state for one thing and there are some great lines such as:

‘Dr Samuel Johnson was not given to verbal circumlocution: indeed he was almost taciturn.’

Okay, it’s a different Doctor Samuel Johnson, but I’m sometimes easily amused.

At times I thought there was unnecessary description, but it didn’t really detract from my enjoyment.

This is the first novel in a series, and there are two further books (so far). I’ve added those novels to my reading list: I’m always keen to read fiction set in Tasmania, and I want to learn a little more about DI John Mahoney.

Jennifer Cameron-Smith