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I love my crime books but have being going through a bit of a drought in 2010. My favourite authors all seem to be taking a hiatus at the moment and nothing new has grabbed me in the genre. I also must admit I’m guilty of not reading enough Australian crime, although I love Peter Temple. But I have just finished THE OLD SCHOOL by P.M. Newton and a completely out of crime funk. It is brilliant.

When my rep gave me the proof for THE OLD SCHOOL I was my usual cynical self and made a flippant remark about cashing in on UNDERBELLY but my mind was soon changed by the opening page. A quote from George Pelecanos. Yes I am fickle and yes this small detail was enough for me to ignore my cynical side give the book a go.

This is a great read written with very distinct style that ebbs and flows. The author worked for the NSW Police Force for 13 years and the authenticity of the book rings true. Police work is slow and tedious. There is no glamour and there is a mountain of paperwork.

Newton balances all this expertly. Short and sharp when needed as well as being deliberate and honestly descriptive. It is perfectly paced.

Set in Sydney in the early 1990s Newton really captures the sense of time, place and atmosphere, echoing George Pelecanos without imitating him. The story is completely addictive and multi-layered. Set against the backdrop of ICAC’s investigation into the NSW Police Force the elements of politics, history and racism play a prominent role. The mystery element keeps you second-guessing until the last few pages but you are sucked into Ned’s personal journey along the way.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. P.M. Newton is a great new voice in Australian crime fiction and I eagerly await any further novels.

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ISBN: 9780143204015 ISBN-10: 0143204017 Classification: Crime & mystery Format: Paperback Pages: 372 Imprint: Penguin Books Australia Publisher: Penguin Books Australia Publish Date: 30-May-2011 Country of Publication: Australia

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