Review: Kingdom of the Strong by Tony Cavanaugh


Title: Kingdom of the Strong {Darian Richards #4}

Author: Tony Cavanaugh

Published: Hachette AU July 2015

Status: Read from July 27 to 28, 2015 — I own a copy

My Thoughts:

Kingdom of the Strong is the fourth crime thriller by Tony Cavanaugh to feature ex homicide detective Darian Richards. In Promise and Dead Girl Sing, Darian reluctantly came out of retirement, on his own terms, in order to stop a serial killer and a human trafficker respectively. In The Train Rider, he faced off with his nemesis, and lost. In Kingdom of the Strong, Darian is asked by his oldest friend and mentor, Police Commissioner Copeland Walsh, to return to Melbourne to investigate a decades old cold case.

Deputising QLD officer, Maria Chastain, Darian finds himself down the hall from his old squad, tasked to prove that the coroner’s open finding in regards to the death of eighteen-year-old Isobel Vine in 1990 in no way implicates any of the four officers who were present at the original crime scene, one of whom is about to be named Walsh’s successor. The pair quickly rule out suicide, but given the scant evidence, uncovering the truth more twenty years after the fact is a tremendous challenge.

As in previous books, Cavanaugh presents a rather cynical view of policing where ego and politics makes a mockery of the service. Darien is perhaps predisposed to believe the worst of the four officers who he can prove behaved questionably as young constables, but not definitively responsible for murder. There are plenty of twists and turns as Richards and his team are sidetracked by one of Isobel’s former teacher’s, an aging drug dealer, a hit man who takes a run at Maria, and Casey Lack, Maria’s boyfriend. Few will be able to unravel the carefully crafted mystery before Darian does.

Kingdom of the Strong is a dark and gritty crime novel, but flashes of humour relieves the bleakness. I particularly enjoyed Isosceles frustration with the ‘old-school’ investigation, and Darien’s rather macabre ‘murder’ tour of Melbourne.

In my review of The Train Rider I wrote that I hoped the author would reconsider his depiction of his ‘uniformly beautiful, bright and sensual.’ female characters, and I was surprised when the author got in touch to thank me for the criticism, promising to do better. Though there are few female characters in Kingdom of the Strong, I’m pleased to say I think Cavanaugh has done just that. The teenage victim, though long dead, is a nuanced character, and Maria has a more defined role in the story (with Isosceles ogling her cleavage far less often).

While Kingdom of the Strong can be read as a stand alone, I’d encourage readers to seek out Cavanaugh’s backlist, you won’t be disappointed.

*P.S. Thank you Tony, for your generous acknowledgement in Kingdom of the Strong.


Available to purchase from

Hachette Iboomerang-books_long I Booktopia I Amazon AUvia Booko

Amazon US

and all good bookstores.


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Tracey Allen (@Carpe_Librum1)
    Aug 08, 2015 @ 00:20:17

    Congratulations Shelleyrae 🙂 Such an honour to be included in an author’s acknowledgements, well done!!



  2. Deborah
    Aug 08, 2015 @ 10:58:03

    Yes I saw that… very nice!



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