DEAD LETTERS: A LIVELY READ

Veteran journalist Michael Brissenden carved out another career niche a few years ago with the publication of THE LIST, a thriller of exceptionally high calibre.

Just to show that it was no fluke and that he is no one hit wonder, Brissenden has written a sequel, DEAD LETTERS. It’s a cracker.

Furthering the adventures of Federal cop and Afghanistan veteran, Sid Allen, DEAD LETTERS contains the same crisp characterisation and wry psychological, sociological and political observations, reminiscent of Peter Corris.

This time round, Sid’s assignment has been sparked by the political assassination of Daniel LeRoi, MP, who Sid served with in Afghanistan. He’s found shot dead together with a member of a Mexican drug cartel. LeRoi was part of a parliamentary task force looking into money laundering and political party donations.

Sid’s investigation coincides with journalist Zephyr Wilde’s investigation of a cold case murder of a brothel madam two decades ago. It’s personal because the victim was Zephyr’s mother. And it becomes personal for Sid as romantic entanglement and professional probity collide.

Older members of his team may marvel that the police force is more multicultural now that it was when it was run by Micks and Masons, but those same older members are part of a not so distant dirty past.

L.P. Hartley famously wrote “The past is a foreign country” and in DEAD LETTERS that foreign country is threatening invasion on the present, a contemporary constituency based on corruption at the highest levels. Its defence is repellent.

A fardel of nefarious acts fan the flames of intrigue, betrayal, and suspense. Where Sid goes, trouble is a fellow traveller and Brissenden barrels the journey at urgent speed and tremendous zest, playing into our mistrust of politicians to produce a thriller as relentless as the 24 hour news cycle.

As with The List, verisimilitude veritably oozes out of every twist and turn thanks to Brissenden’s thirty years as a journalist and foreign correspondent, including a stint as the ABC’s Defence and National Security Correspondent.

His knowledge and authority on Canberra and the way things play in the capital shine through and his narrative style confirms his star in the firmament of stellar crime writing

‘The List’ promised a gripping start to a great series. DEAD LETTERS makes good on that promise.

DEAD LETTERS by Michael Brissenden is published by Hachette

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