Dark Summer

Jon Cleary, Author William Morrow & Company $20 (269p) ISBN 978-0-688-11414-5
Cleary has earned a loyal following with his Aussie mysteries, and this latest will do nothing to blunt his fans' enthusiasm. When Sydney policeman Scobie Malone (hero of Pride's Harvest and Murder Song ), finds the body of an informer floating in the pool outside his home, it's merely the first in a series of seemingly random killings. Injecting his victims with poison, the murderer also claims a couple of dockside union hoods and an old prostitute. Scobie takes to the docklands, once the stomping ground of his estranged father, and uncovers secret deliveries of drugs. Cleary writes with unusual authority but little suspense, choosing instead to let his readers stay a step or two ahead of his sleuth. Thus we eavesdrop on the operations of a pimp, on a chemist turned baker turned dealer, and on an old-time con trying to pass on the family business to his son. A reserved stylist, Cleary shows occasional flashes of wit and wisdom. This time, he plays it safe with a workmanlike plot and some determined detective work as the main orders of business. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 03/29/1993
Release date: 04/01/1993
Paperback - 456 pages - 978-0-7862-0037-5
Compact Disc - 978-1-62460-116-3
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