Bleak Spring

Jon Cleary, Author
Jon Cleary, Author William Morrow & Company $22 (287p) ISBN 978-0-688-12332-1
Paperback - 414 pages - 978-0-8161-7437-9
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-0-7540-0921-4
Compact Disc - 978-1-4821-0168-3
Hardcover - 978-0-7089-8808-4
Compact Disc - 978-1-62460-119-4
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With his latest Scobie Malone case, after Dark Summer , Cleary confirms his standing as Australia's Ed McBain. Cleary's novels, like McBain's 87th Precinct series, are model procedurals whose casts of colorful characters and intricate plots are webbed with a fine dry humor: ``A good deal of police detection is taken up with thinking and discussion, which are often indistinguishable from malingering.'' Inspector Malone of the Sydney PD is in charge of investigating the murder of Will Rockne, a suburban lawyer shot to death in a parking lot. Olive, the flighty widow, seems to be taking things calmly, closely supported by glamorous Queen's Counsel Angela Bodalle. When $5 million is found in Rockne's safe, the case takes on a new cast. Some shady bankers, a flashy bookmaker, a menacing Russian and a lowlife car thief play parts in the puzzle, whose dark secrets, once revealed, spin out to damage quite a few lives, some innocent. Cleary's sure grip on the brisk plot is equaled by his grasp of psychological motivations. This is first-rate storytelling. (Mar.)
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