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Saturday, January 15, 2011

Line of Sight by David Whish-Wilson

Line of Sight (pub. Viking Penguin) is the second novel by Western Australian author David Whish-Wilson following his debut novel The Summons (2006). This is a chilling fight conducted by one straight policeman against the might and power of a rotten to the core police force and state government. The following brief review is the one that I have psoted on the Crime Down Under website and I am reposting it here for those who missed it.

Review of Line of Sight by David Whish-Wilson

The year is 1975 and a Royal Commission into police corruption has been called in Perth, Western Australia. The murder of Ruby Devine, a brothel madam, has opened up countless questions over the operations of some of the highest ranking police in the state.

Detective Superintendant Frank Swann has blown the whistle on his colleagues and they have closed ranks against him using every dirty trick in the book to discredit him. The judge that has been brought out of retirement and flown in from Melbourne quickly finds out that his appointment has been made with the expectation that the Royal Commission will come to the conclusion that the police have no case to answer and that Swann’s claims are those of a man who has already suffered one breakdown and could be going through another.

Then there is the hit man who has flown into town with a quick in and out job to do. His presence is noted but the target is not made clear. Certainly there is more than a little intrigue over his presence in Perth.

Whish-Wilson creates a pertinent metaphor for the predicament that Swan has found himself in while Swan goes for a swim in the surf: “If he was in the wrong place it would spear him down into the sand and hold him under until it passed; if he was in the right place he would ride it until his weight dissolved and he found himself delivered gently onto the shore”.

When it’s one man against the world thoughts must inevitably turn to chucking it all in and giving up. The burdens carried by Swann as the story unfolds become increasingly clear until you are left with a deep admiration for the resolve of the man. However, one also can’t help but question his common sense.

There is no doubt that Whish-Wilson has drawn deeply from the well of corruption that rocked WA a few decades ago.

For more details about the book you can visit the page on Crime Down Under devoted to Line of Sight by David Whish-Wilson.