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NICE TRY - Shane Maloney
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As the advocate of the common working man, sacrificing monetary career heights for the love of the party faithful, Murray Whelan lives a life entirely determined of content and longevity by the whims of the voting public. Being the support man of an elected minister, the mercurial Angelo Agnelli, Murray has been exposed to many interesting people and situations. His political mettle has been tested and his side-stepping abilities have been sharpened. It still surprises Murray though how many dead bodies a political minder encounters while in service of the Australian Labor party.
Melbourne is a tizz. Olympic fever is in the air, and the prospect of all those possible tourist dollars kachinging in the city's tills is positively heady. The chance to make a political splash never goes wasted and so the threat of an Aboriginal protest is a calamity that no one want to have to deal with, least of all a minister with an election always on the ever-boil. Following what could only be optimistically described as incredibly unsuccessful peace overtures initiated by one Murray Whelan, circling vultures (the media, the party in opposition) go into their death dives on the government of the day. The murder of a black athlete connected to the Aboriginal spokesperson threatening protest is a nightmare that needs sorting, with of course that task falling down the food chain to Murray Whelan, fixer extraordinaire.
Australian author Shane Maloney wields the pen like no other writer imaginable, stripping each social veneer away in such a terribly effective fashion that we cringe as we recognize the creatures dwelling beneath. The Murray Whelan novels, of which NICE TRY is number three, are bitingly funny in the best and worst of ways. They pick, poke and eviscerate, yet manage to champion how we handled the past that has somehow thus carried us to our present. Maloney sets his novels in the past, but only just, so that our memories are at least a little foggy about the finite details of the political decisions of that day gone yet we still manage to largely recall the main events.
NICE TRY ages Murray to a point where he is less the avenging hero and even more so now a man doing the best he can in a bad situation, keeping a loose hand on the tiller when it comes to morality decisions. Effective results are what he specializes at, and it is not as though the world has been changed by what he sometimes has needed to do. It is impossible not to enjoy these novels for the incisive and laugh out loud hilarious monologues of Murray, and while the crime plot of NICE TRY has been more carefully constructed than has those of the series priors, whodunit is still not the question of the day. Enjoy the sharp mind of Shane Maloney.
Submitted 8 years 11 months ago by
Sunday, April 20, 2008 - 12:27am
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