Class Act, Ged Gillmore
Book two in the Bill Murdoch series, CLASS ACT follows up almost immediately from the action in the first outing, HEADLAND. This series, now up to three novels with the release of BASE NATURE in 2018, is well worth getting into.
Set in small-town, seaside New South Wales, based around reluctant Private Investigator, ex-bad boy, Bill Murdoch, the first book introduces him, his background and the events that bring him to small town life, the big house by the beach and the fancy car. It may be best if you start this series with the first book if possible, as the lead up to CLASS ACT is part fun, part information and will go a long way to explaining some of the friendship's that Bill has, and some of the behaviour he exhibits.
CLASS ACT sees Murdoch strengthen his resolve to put his past behind him, even as it gets closer and more disruptive. He didn't, however, expect that he'd fall quite as hard as he does for the wife of his current client, wealthy businessman James Harte, who claims he has been framed for murder. And there's the problem of Murdoch, undercover, in the jet setting world. He might end up drawn into the world of horse racing, yachts, glitzy parties, and the glamorous set because of this case, but he's not comfortable being there, although he's a bit out of sorts with the world in general really.
Murdoch is a character straight out of lone wolf, silent strong man casting central, and he's good at it. He might be a bit stereotypical, but he's not pretending to be anything else. He's the silent type, he's a walker of mean streets, even if the streets are mostly mean because he's walking them. He's a round peg in a square hole in small-town NSW and he's a dedicated investigator, everything that could be expected of him, and a bit more. There's a bit of nuance around Bill. There's a dodgy background, and the push to get away from the past, the action is appropriately age-restrained, there's friendship, and there is his ability to fall hook, line and sinker for the glamorous Amanda.
There's a lot of entertaining elements to the Bill Murdoch series. As with the first book, character development and plot are nicely balanced, and there's a small ensemble cast to be going on with. A series that appealed considerably with the opening novel, that opinion was cemented firmly by this second outing. There's now a third novel out and about, which I'm ashamed to admit remains unread. At least that means there is BASE NATURE to look forward to.
Can a man who’s lived a life of crime ever escape his past? The world’s most reluctant private investigator is about to find out.
Former bad boy turned local hero, Bill Murdoch, should be happy with his little piece of paradise. After all, he’s got the fancy car and the big house by the beach. The only trouble is he’s slowly suffocating in small town life.
So when Murdoch is hired to investigate who framed wealthy businessman, James Harte, for murder, he jumps at the chance. Going undercover amongst the jet set, Murdoch is quickly drawn into an exciting world of yachts, horse racing and glitzy parties. But soon Murdoch’s shady past looks set to catch up with him and when he falls for Harte’s beautiful wife, Amanda, things take a deadly turn.