ROLL WITH IT - Nick Place
Personally, and not just because the idea of Lycra and clicking around in those weird riding shoes makes me shudder, the idea of being sent to the Siberia of the Mountain Bike Police certainly sounds like a rather extreme punishment. Especially as Tony 'Rocket" Laver is adamant that the bloke he shot fired first. And he was a serial suspect in a series of armed robberies. So you might think that Laver is justified in being more than a bit miffed at the political machinations that are overt in his demotion.
Although he can't really blame just the demotion for his rocky love life, which definitely includes fault on both sides. His girlfriend's not exactly sympathetic to the trials and tribulations of life as a Major Crime / Mountain Bike squad member, and Laver is inclined to forget she exists when he spies something around him that's not quite right.
And therein lies the biggest crime as far as Laver is concerned. He has rock solid, keen as, spot on cop instincts. He knows the very first time he sees Stig and his mate looming around a coffee shop in Collingwood that they are trouble. He might not know exactly who they are, or what they are up to, but there's definitely something Not Quite Right. With them, with the hippie chick they are hanging around with or the would be hippie in the ridiculous hat and his supermarket manager boss.
It's that sense of something that's just a bit off, and the complications of being in Siberia that send Laver off on a partially unofficial, partially supported by his colleagues, mostly personal wild goose chase not always mounted on a mountain bike.
ROLL WITH IT is a pretty good title for this book. The bike metaphor's the obvious one, but it also is a sort of roll with it story. Mad stuff happens, wisecracks are cracked, bitter asides are muttered, bike's are waxed lyrically over (that's not a euphemism) and every now and then a spot of cops pursuing crooks breaks out. There is a plot here that is nicely twisty, even though it's not the most complicated or complex story, much of which is telegraphed fairly early on.
But, and just because occasionally it's fun to beat a metaphor to death, ROLL WITH IT is more your Sunday ride - all about the journey, not just the destination. Even if arrival means you can finally get off the bike seat. Highly recommend ROLL WITH IT if you're looking for a bit of madcap action, with local flavour and humour.
Career cop Detective Senior Sergeant Tony ‘Rocket' Laver is a policeman with issues. Sure, he may have been returning fire, but the fact remains that Laver is the sixth Victorian policeman to shoot a suspect in four months, and that's all the politicians need to get involved. While the circus of an inquiry begins, Laver is moved from Major Crime to the Mobile Public Interaction Squad … aka the mountain bike police. Bitter, struggling to cope with the fatal shooting - not to mention his flailing relationship, Rocket is now wearing lycra and getting a sore butt on his bike seat.
Laver's friends and bosses in the force tell him to keep his head down until the storm blows over, but that doesn't factor in Stig and the Wild Man, two genuine bad guys Laver encounters on Smith Street, Collingwood. In innercity and outer-suburban Melbourne, major crime is in the air. Lives might be in danger but nobody will listen to a cop on the outer.
Add a nerdy supermarket-assistant manager in a bad reggae beanie, a hippy chick intent on saving the world, Nazi-like police rookies, mysterious men in suits and a human koala and you've got what it takes for a blackly funny action-packed addition to your spring/summer reading.