APPEAL DENIED - Peter Corris
When Hardy got himself into hot water in THE UNDERTOW, you just had to wonder if this was the end of Sydney's most famous hard-boiled detective. In APPEAL DENIED he doesn't get his licence to be a private investigator back; he's got no money; his house and car are falling apart and his love life takes a disastrous turn. But it takes more than murder, bureaucracy and falling down houses to keep Cliff down. Sort of.
In typical Cliff Hardy style APPEAL DENIED has events that really should see a hard man give up slightly, but when murder gets very very close to home, Cliff isn't fazed by his lack of a licence, his illegal guns, his dying car, falling down house, or the resentment that comes from him calling favours left right and centre to find out who has hit so close to home. The interesting thing about APPEAL DENIED is that the ending clearly says that Cliff isn't going to work as a PI again anytime soon, but something has happened that may give him a different sort of future. You've got to hope this means that Cliff can beat the mean streets of Sydney somehow for a while to come yet.
Dirty dealings, corrupt cops, computer geeks and a final showdown at an exclusive Sydney beach - is this Cliff Hardy's last adventure?
Stripped of his investigator's licence and with his appeal denied, Cliff Hardy faces an uncertain future. Then something very personal happens that sends him off doing what he does best - confronting, questioning, provoking violence - with the lack of credentials not an issue.
Is policewoman Jane Farrow bent or straight? Will vertically challenged but charismatic media star Lee Townsend be a help or an obstacle? Taking and dealing out punishment, mostly on Sydney's North Shore, Hardy encounters corrupt cops, bereft wives and computer geeks. In a shadowy showdown at Balmoral Beach, Hardy sorts out those who need to be sorted, but his future remains even more clouded than before.
Corris is a tried and true crime writer. Until you've read the Cliff Hardy series, you can't call yourself an aficionado of Aussie detective fiction.