Review: Beams Falling by P.M. Newton

 

Title: Beams Falling

Author: P.M. Newton

Published: Penguin Au March 2014

Read an Extract

Status: Read from March 24 to 25, 2014 — I own a copy   {Courtesy the publisher/Netgalley}

My Thoughts:

Beams Falling by Pamela Newton follows her lauded 2010 debut, The Old School, featuring Detective Nhu ‘Ned’ Kelly.

Following the shooting that left Kelly wounded and a corrupt police officer dead (in The Old School ), she is shunted from her Bankstown unit to Taskforce Acorn in Cabramatta, the token Asian officer on a team investigating the area’s criminal activity. Though officially restricted to light duties, Ned is drawn into the investigation of a brazen shooting of a schoolboy, which leads the team into the world of the ‘ra choi’ – teen hitmen, drug mules, dealers and thieves, corrupted by easy money and the illusion of power.

The gritty plot reveals a confronting mire of crime, including murder, drugs and prostitution, tainting the Sydney suburb. Newton doesn’t pull any punches, twelve year old boys are assassinated in broad daylight and fourteen year old girls are raped in front of their fathers as object lessons. The violence is brutal and dispiriting and the solution an enigma.
The investigating police are hindered in their brief by language and cultural barriers, part of which Ned is supposed to address based on her half Vietnamese ethnicity. Frustration with their lack of progress pushes some to manipulate circumstances in the hope that the means will justify the end, despite the threat of ICAC.

Newton’s exploration of trauma is as compelling as the police investigation. Though her physical wounds are healing, Kelly is struggling with the psychological impact of being shot and Newton’s portrayal of Ned’s distress is raw and affecting. Kelly is hyper-alert, fearful and barraged by flashbacks of both past and recent trauma yet determined to deny her PTDS, until she is forced into group therapy after a humiliating incident.

Though this novel can be read as a stand-alone, I regret I didn’t have the opportunity to read The Old School before the release of Beams Falling. I found Beams Falling to be powerful, gripping and authentic crime fiction offering complex plot and characters. I really hope we won’t have to wait another four years for the next installment.

Beams Falling is available to purchase from

Penguin  I boomerang-books_long I Booktopia I Amazon AU I Amazon US

  via Booko

 

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