DONE DEAL - Tony Berry
I wanted to read this book for a few reasons - for a start it's set in my home town, in and around the suburb of Richmond. Okay I have a passing knowledge only of Richmond having spent an inglorious 6 months or so around that area many many many many years ago and nothing much since then - should go back / there's some good Vietnamese restaurants in that area. But I digress. The other reason I wanted to read this book is that it's obtained online via Lulu - and I've been quite a fan and follower of the Lulu business model for years - they provide an outlet for so many open source projects to publish material about their projects.
The story of DONE DEAL is really that Bromo Perkins gets himself blackmailed into the middle of a dispute between rival property developers, and shady characters - mostly because he's having a thing on the side with the wife of one of the developers. He's way too far into the mess when he finds out that his love life is really of very little interest to the developer in question, so the only way out of everyone's bad books is to sort out the dispute. And find out why the minder in question ended up naked in the window of the art gallery owned by the aforementioned wife. And sort out who the Goth council worker is.
Bromo is a typical hard man, coffee drinking, fond of a good meal bloke, who just can't help the women throwing themselves at him (he's not adverse to catching a few either). His method of solving problems is just to keep poking sticks into situations until something bites back - and in this instance a few people get roughed up (Bromo included) and it all gets sorted out in the end.
There's a bit to like about Brom - his hard man persona is not so overdone that he's cartoonish, he's got some nice personal touches about him - but I confess I missed the bit about how he became a disgraced British Secret service agent and ended up as a Richmond travel agent. The book also provides some interesting travelogues of Melbourne as Bromo walks out his thinking process. And that's probably the minor quibble I've got - Bromo's a sparse, lone wolf type of bloke - his dialogue is pretty snappy and he's a man of action. So when the book launches into the descriptive it's a bit like hitting a brick wall whilst gazing at the sights - that's not to say that the descriptive bits aren't good - it's just that they don't seem to match the style of the central character and it slows down the story telling a bit.
But for a first book - this was fun and I'm glad I dropped by Lulu to order a copy.
All is far from well in what claims to be the world's ‘most liveable’ city…
As former British secret service agent Bromo Perkins tries to establish an anonymous life as a travel agent in Melbourne, Australia, he finds himself being blackmailed into resolving murderous turf wars between property developers.
The trouble starts for Bromo – who blends hard-man machismo with a soft touch with the ladies – when he is presented with a photo of himself in flagrante delecto with Aurelia Nuyen, whose husband Gerry is one of said developers.
But besides art gallery owner Aurelia, there is Fiona, the beautiful minder of Gerry’s arch-rival Peter Rasheed, a punky Goth who works at the town hall, a high-ranking copper called Delia and a nightclub bouncer named Sonia.
The question is, can Bromo keep all these ladies sweet as he uncovers an unholy mess of bribery, corruption and death as he tracks through the city’s less-than-savoury underbelly – a journey that reveals much about its seamy past and present.