A Tropical Cure, John Hollenkamp
A bit of housekeeping up front. A TROPICAL CURE is the second book from John Hollenkamp to feature cab driver Darren Mangan, following on from STEALTH. That to be honest, I really should have read first up because it took some serious concentrating to figure out what was going on here.
In short, STEALTH will introduce you to Mangan, a Sydney cab-driver whose life takes a bit of a sideways step after he breaks up a savage fight, and lots of things happen to him.
Cut to A TROPICAL CURE, Townsville, and a missing cab driver (not Mangan), a burnt out cab, and a body in the boot of a stolen car half-submerged in a muddy creek. (Not the cab driver). Then another body, a high-school friend of Mangan's this time, a dodgy mortgage deal, and a Melbourne crime syndicate, a vet nurse, somebody called Cate, a cattle-dog called Patch and it got complicated.
Very high energy, big action stuff needless to say, done in the style of short, sharp chapters moving between characters and knitting together all these complicated threads. And there are a lot of references obviously back to STEALTH which I really have to say I think I should have read before tackling this one.
Given that these are also action movie stuff, don't expect the characters here to be gosh darning there way through life, the language is strong, the action is big, the violence in your face and nobody, even the good guys are safe.
(Why, I guess you're asking am I know posting a review of a book I read so very long ago. Because I'm an idiot and found this file sitting in my unposted reviews list. There's catching up because you're running behind, and then there's always catching up because you're a whole lot more disorganised than you should be...)
Three bodies… three killers? A taxi driver disappears, his burnt-out cab the only evidence of his last stop. In the same desolate area, a body is found in the boot of a stolen car half-submerged in a muddy creek. It’s not the cab driver… Later, another body on the muddy bank of a river, throat cut and four fingers missing. Simon Rowe, bank manager, drug dealer, and a high-school friend of Darren Mangan… Darren’s dodgy mortgage deal, concocted by Simon, has been uncovered, and now Darren has to make restitution. Not to the bank but to a Melbourne crime syndicate. They want their money back, along with a missing kilo of cocaine, and they’ve sent a ‘specialist’ to sort it out. His trade name is Slice… As if Darren didn’t have enough problems already hunting bikie Eddie to avenge the murder of Cate Hawkins, now he is forced to sell his house and evade awkward questions from inquisitive indigenous cop Joel Shallowater. Then a vicious attack on Darren’s faithful cattle-dog, Patch, introduces him to beautiful veterinary nurse, Ruby, a young woman with a secret past… And the target wasn’t the dog, it was Darren. The chase has begun... But who is chasing who? Killing someone leaves a hole in your heart; sometimes you have to put it in someone else’s…