Winner - Best First Fiction
Zane Lovitt - The Midnight Promise
Winner - True Crime
Robin de Crespigny - The People Smuggler
Winner - Best Fiction
Geoffrey McGeachin - Blackwattle Creek
Winner - Sandra Harvey Short Story Award
Roger Vickery - Echoes From The Dolphin
After his father, brother and he were incarcerated and tortured in Saddam's Abu Ghraib, Ali al Jenabi escaped from Iraq first to work with the anti-Saddam resistance in Iran and then to help his family out of the country all together. When Saddam's forces advance towards their refugee camp, Ali helps his family flee into Iran before going on in an attempt to get to Australia - a country they know nothing about but understand to be safe, free and compassionate. When Ali reaches Indonesia he is betrayed by a people smuggler - a common experience - which prompts him to establish his own business that will treat fellow refugees more fairly. This is the engrossing story of how he survived his years without a passport or a state, how the people smuggling business functions, and how Ali was treated when he and his family finally arrived in Australia. It will open a country's eyes to what refugees are fleeing from, and what makes them risk their lives and the lives of their families in seeking safety.
A brilliant Melbourne crime novel, told in ten hardboiled stories.
John Dorn is a private investigator. Just like his father used to be. It says ‘private inquiry agent’ in John’s yellow pages ad because that’s what his old man called himself, back before his business folded, his wife left him and he drank himself to death.
But John’s not going to end up like his father. He doesn’t have a wife, or much business. He doesn’t really drink, either. Not yet.
In each of these ten delicious stories Zane Lovitt presents an intriguing investigation filled with humour and complex, beautifully observed characters. At their centre is John Dorn, solving not so much crimes as funny human puzzles; but the crimes, and the criminals, are forever lurking nearby, taunting him from the city’s cold underworld.
It’s his job to unravel the mystery, or right the wrong, or just do what the client has hired him to do. Somehow, though, there is a misstep at every turn, and John takes another small stumble towards his moment of personal truth. His midnight promise. Perhaps even his redemption.
The insane are running the asylum in this cracking new Charlie Berlin thriller.
It's September 1957, two days before the VFL grand final, and Detective Sergeant Charlie Berlin finally has some time off. But there's no rest for this decent if damaged man, still troubled by his wartime experience as a bomber pilot and POW. A recently widowed friend asks a favour and he's dropped into something much bigger than he bargained for.
When he uncovers dubious practices at a Melbourne funeral parlour, it's quickly obvious that anyone asking questions is also asking for trouble. His offsider is beaten and left for dead, witnesses are warned off, Special Branch is on his case, and even Berlin's young family may be at risk.
His pursuit of the truth leads him to Blackwattle Creek, once an asylum for the criminally insane and now home to even darker evils. And if Berlin thought government machinations during World War II were devious, those of the Cold War leave them for dead .