Seeking the truth

Victoria is sweltering from a heat wave and beset by bushfires across the state. Inspector Stephen Villani has an unfaithful wife, a drug-addicted daughter and a distracting longing for a glamorous television presenter. Little time, indeed, to investigate the murder of a young girl in a high rise apartment.

Villain soon realises that the death of this young woman is one which his political masters are strangely keen to consign to the filing cabinet. He stubbornly refuses to toe the line, putting his own life and those of his officers, on the line.

Peter Temple won this year’s Miles Franklin Award for Truth, the novel which tells this contemporary tale of crime, political corruption and dysfunctional families. Temple’s prose is sparse. So sparse, in fact, you will find yourself going back over the previous pages to try to work out what the hell is really happening. The dialogue is cryptic and full of homicide squad ‘lingo’ which is not immediately comprehensible. You will be well rewarded, however, for your perseverance. Truth is a stunning portrayal of how things really work in a state where political influence is trumps and ordinary police officers need to fight to unearth the real truth behind the crimes.

Peter Temple

Penguin Books