Born in Sydney in 1917, Jon Stephen Cleary, left school at 14 and worked at a variety of jobs before joining the Army in 1940. He served in the Middle East and New Guinea, during which time he started to write seriously, and by the war's end he had published several short stories in magazines. His first novel, You Can't See Round Corners, was published in 1947, and won the second prize in The Sydney Morning Herald's novel contest. It was later made into a television serial and then into a feature film. Cleary worked as a journalist in London and New York from 1948-1951. It was in 1951 that his most well known book, The Sundowners, was published. It was later made into a successful movie. Cleary has been a prolific writer, having published more than 50 books. The first Inspector Scobie Malone novel appeared in 1966, and there are now 20 books in the series. Degrees of Connection won the 2004 Ned Kelly Award for Best Novel and is the final in the Scobie Malone series. In 1995 Cleary was awarded the Inaugural Ned Kelly Award for his lifetime contribution to crime fiction in Australia.
A young woman is murdered by a sniper's bullet in a Sydney apartment building. The killing is apparently motiveless, until it is discovered that the flat is owned by Boru O'Brien, a wealthy businessman with underworld connections - and connections of another kind with the Prime Minister's wife. The gunman seems to have mistaken Mardi Jack's shadowy silhouette against the window for Boru O'Brien's.
Twenty-three years before, he and Scobie Malone had been cadets together at the police academy. When Jim Knoble, another of their classmates, meets his death via a high-velocity bullet, Malone begins to see a pattern. Can there be a hit list, with Scobie's own name on it? And who is the assassin?
Fearing for his family's safety and forced into hiding with O'Brien, Scobie Malone faces one of the toughest assignments of his career. The psychopathic killer must be identified, tracked down and stopped - before he picks off any more targets of his long-nurtured and paranoid revenge.
Told with Cleary's habitual pace, tension and meticulous attention to detail, Murder Song is a compelling cat-and-mouse game of killer and victim. Using Scobie Malone, a decent cop in a dirty world, as a lens through which to examine the corruption in Australian society, Jon Cleary has written another first-class novel of excitement and suspense.