From the winner of the Ned Kelly Awards in 2011 and 2013 for best crime fiction comes the third Charlie Berlin novel by Geoffrey McGeachin. Set in Melbourne against a backdrop of the swinging 60s resplendent with patchouli oil, peasant blouses and suede boots, detective Sergeant Charlie Berlin has been brought back out of exile after the disappearance of a teenage girl, the daughter of an influential and politically linked property developer. As Berlin digs deeper, more missing girls are uncovered. Berlin and his colleague Roberts are soon led into the underbelly of Melbourne: through the coffee houses, discotheques and photography studios all rife with drugs and nefarious characters with something to hide. As the investigation continues, Berlin is haunted by his own painful memories of being a POW in Europe during World War II and the murder of a young woman in Poland. As his past and present collide, Berlin faces some of the toughest questions of his career. From Kodak film rolls to foil-capped milk bottles, McGeachin has created a pitch-perfect sense of Melbourne in the 1960s. This is a terrific read with great plot twists, complex characters and a menacing atmosphere.
Sarina Gale is a freelance writer and bookseller at the Sun Bookshop in Yarraville. This review first appeared in Issue 2, 2014 of Books+Publishing magazine. View more pre-publication reviews here.