Still by Matt Nable

‘They killed him because he saw.’

Darwin, Summer, 1963. It is hot and humid when Senior Constable Ned Potter finds a body dragged from shallow marshland. From the state of the man’s body, Ned is certain that he has met a violent death. But Ned meets resistance in trying to find answers. And this body is only the first of several.

This is a story of corruption and violence, of abuse, oppression and racism. Isolation and location have roles, as do alcohol and the weather. Like almost every male in the story, Ned Potter drinks too much. This strains his relationship with his wife Bonnie and helps undermine his credibility with his superiors. The other central character is Charlotte Clarke. Charlotte is a young married woman, bored with her role as a housewife and unhappy in her marriage. She wants more from life. A chance encounter with an injured man changes Charlotte’s life.

The body count increases. People claim not to have seen anything; Ned is strongly encouraged to back off. Who can he trust? It seems as though everyone in a position of authority is corrupt.  Ned persists despite threats. He is sure that the deaths are linked.

There is plenty of tension in this story. Ned risks everything to find the truth while Charlotte is also treading a dangerous path. Why have these three people been murdered? What are the links between them, and why is Ned’s boss so eager to look the other way? Corruption and coverup: there are some in Darwin who will go to any lengths to protect themselves.

A highly recommended mystery thriller.

Note: My thanks to NetGalley and Hachette Australia for providing me with a free electronic copy of this book for review purposes.

Jennifer Cameron-Smith