Robert Engwerda was born in the Netherlands, his family later settling in northern Victoria. His occupations have included fruit picker, factory worker, clerk, secondary school teacher and educational publisher. His first novel, Backwaters, was longlisted for the Miles Franklin Award in 2005, and in 2007 he won a place in the Australian Society of Authors' highly regarded mentorship program. Robert currently lives in Melbourne.
When a teenage girl and boy go missing from Mitchell everyone has a theory about what happened to them. Most in town think they’re runaways. Others suspect their families or marijuana growers as rumours and gossip abound in the orchards and farms of Victoria’s northern plains. But when the brutally murdered teenagers’ bodies are discovered in an isolated paddock a fortnight later, the town’s attention quickly turns to its itinerant, summertime population and to the dead girl’s boyfriend, Lee Furnell.
It’s 1966 and times are changing, even in rural Victoria. Bob Dylan is on the radio, Elvis Presley on the television. But change doesn’t sit comfortably with everyone in Mitchell and the arrival and brash methods of the American-born Detective Gene Fielder and his two junior detectives from the Melbourne Homicide Squad raises temperatures inside and outside the local police station. For Fielder is out for a quick end to the case when there’s little evidence to support his belief that Furnell is the killer. And when his suspect doesn’t confess, Fielder steps outside of the law to get Furness where he wants him.