I’ve recently finished reading the five Shane Maloney books based around the Murray Whelan character. Maloney’s protagonist, Murray Whelan, is a Labor Party hack who has a knack for getting involved in crime solving. The crimes invariably centre on a murder that intersects with Whelan’s work in State politics. What makes Moloney’s books special is the way he writes the Whelan character, and situates the novels in the familiar surrounds of Melbourne and its political climate.
Whelan is far from the hard-boiled detective character of tradition crime fiction. Indeed, when he tries to be, it usually spells some misadventure. He’s a politico, and while very competent at his job, he is somewhat bumbling in the rest of his pursuits. Whelan’s ham-fisted attempts at anything covert provide for much entertaining slapstick. He invariably ends up a bedraggled mess, with injuries and torn clothing, and usually pissing himself or being pissed on.
The books are set in Melbourne, and the Maloney does good job of describing this town. Those familiar with Melbourne will enjoy the accounts of Melbourne town and suburbs. He also captures this towns political climate, with stories encompassing the Olympic bid, the arts world, various unions, and prominent business figures and politicians. His stories tend to involve a thread from a respectable but corrupt top end of town to the seedy criminal side of a suburban world. It’s a nice mix.
Maloney’s not a great writer; but he does enough. Somethimes I found his style a bit corny; but, this is crime fiction afterall. If anything, though, I found the writing style detracted from what are well thought-out stories. But that aside, I’d recommend these books.
I’ve bought a fair bit of music recently; here’s some of it: Neil Perry Lineage discography, the three Earth CDs, No Neck Blues Band Letters To The Serth, Black Flag First Four Years and Damaged (don’t know why I didn’t have these already), Parker, William Eloping WIth The Sun, Clark, Gene Roadmaster, Welch, Gillian Revival and Hell Among The Yearlings, From Ashes Rise Silence and Love Cry Want self-titled.