Review: Sydney Blue by Bruce A Wallace

Title: Sydney Blue

Author: Bruce A Wallace

Published: May 2012

Synopsis: In this pacey Australian crime novel, ex-reporter Nat Barker finds himself on a racetrack in the middle of a feud between two warring bookmakers. One of them just happens to be Barker’s best friend, out to avenge his father’s murder. The other wants to end the feud—permanently—and Barker is standing in his way.

Status: Read on November 15, 2012 — I own a copy {Courtesy the author}

My Thoughts:

Taken at face value, Sydney Blue features Nat Barker, an unemployed reporter with a gambling habit. Indebted to his best friend, a local bookie, Nat reluctantly agrees to work off the $20,000 he owes by helping Hamilton with a few simple tasks that quickly prove deadly.
Readers may recognise however, that Sydney Blue is a retelling of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, complete with ghostly visitations, a vengeful son driven to the edge of madness and a drowned lover.

It’s been a long time since I last read Hamlet in a stuffy classroom so it took a while for the parallels to emerge but really I think Sydney Blue is an entertaining tale in in it’s own right. Instead of a throne being the Uncle’s target, it is the control of the family bookmaking business that is at stake. Set in Sydney (Australia) the story is well paced with plenty of action and suspense as Hamilton grows desperate to prove his uncle responsible for his father’s murder.

Nat is caught in the middle of Hamilton’s obsession. Poking around on his friend’s behalf sees him shot at, beaten and in trouble with the law all while trying to manage Hamilton’s absurd plans, including a You Tube movie and a fencing duel on Bondi Beach. I like Nat’s character, he is loyal to Hamilton and willing to defend his friend. His cynicism is tempered by a sense of humour and while he doesn’t back down from a fight he doesn’t go looking for trouble.

Sydney Blue is an entertaining, clever story for fans of PI type mysteries, and Shakespeare. A quick and well written read I am happy to recommend it.

Available To Purchase


Bruce Wallace is a technical writer from Sydney, Australia. He also likes to write crime fiction about the city he lives in and about the people—good, bad and ugly—that he meets in the streets of the Kings Cross red light district and on the beaches of the eastern suburbs.

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Alexis @ reflectionsofabookaholic
    Nov 30, 2012 @ 09:06:38

    I think the Hamlet parallel is interesting. I’m curious if I remember enough to notice. It sounds like a good mystery even if I don’t remember enough.



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