Reviewed By
Karen Chisholm

THE LABYRINTH OF DROWNING is Canberra based author Alex Palmer's third book featuring (now) ex-cop Paul Harrigan and his agent partner Grace Riordan.

The body of a sex-worker in Sydney bushland quickly becomes not just another case for Grace, as the violent injuries trigger flashbacks to her own sex attack many years before.  Her investigation is further complicated as tensions with her boss simmer.  Paul Harrigan, on the other hand, is working as a security consultant these days, happy to spend time with their very young daughter, he eventually is pulled into the periphery of Grace's investigation as a threat to their own home and family becomes apparent.

LABYRINTH OF DROWNING is definitely a book that will benefit from having read the two earlier ones.  The investigation is balanced against considerable time spent in Grace and Paul's personal and professional lives, with the consequences (and perpetrator) of her own brutal sex attack appearing in the middle of the chase for the vicious murderer of the Thai sex worker.  Not knowing who all these people are, and what has happened to them in the past would undoubtedly make the story here a little confusing.  Particularly as Grace isn't a police member, but in this book, in particular, she's deeply involved in an active investigation into a murder.

LABYRINTH is another book from Alex Palmer that seems to start out with considerable impact, slows a lot in the middle, and works itself up into quite a head of steam towards the end.  There's a hefty amount of self-imposed personal jeopardy sprinkled in that ending, however, that might put some readers off slightly.  There is also a lot of the personal lives of the two main characters built into the narrative, particularly in this book as the threat intrudes on their home life literally and physically. 

Not strictly a police procedural, THE LABYRINTH OF DROWNING would be an interesting book for anybody who liked the earlier 2, or anyone who is looking for something less structured than a procedural but not quite as free-form as a private investigator style book.

Year of Publication
Book Number (in series)

Two years have passed since top cop Paul Harrigan walked away from the New South Wales Police Force to be his own man.  Since then his life has been a gift, and his home with his partner Agent Grace Riordan and their daughter a sanctuary.

When a trafficked sex worker is found brutally murdered in Sydney bushland, it should be just work for Grace.  But the murder is too savage.  And someone is watching them - perhaps Harrigan's old enemies, who want their pound of flesh.

Karen Chisholm
Sunday, August 2, 2009
Blog Currently Reading - The Labyrinth of Drowning, Alex Palmer
Karen Chisholm
Sunday, July 26, 2009

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