“John Tully’s Dark Clouds on the Mountain is a finely written detective story that carries its reader along with an intriguing plot, a gallery of memorable characters, and strange presentiments of evil. Through this last quality, Tully reveals the old Hobart Town that still lies behind the modern Hobart. This gives the novel a dimension in time that does not detract from the immediacy of its portrayal of social, family and political disturbance in the contemporary world. Its fast-moving narrative takes us into the heart of a Tasmania as much embroiled in the contemporary globe as in its particular past.” John McLaren
Crime fiction: Set in wintry Tasmania in the early 1990s, with flashbacks to post-war Hobart and Europe during World War II, this story deals with dark secrets, crime and Nazi plots, interwoven with familiar domestic tensions of family life and marriage. Tully creates a fictional world strongly embedded in authentic details of real locations and well-conceived characters.
The earthy, passionate main protagonist, Jack Martin, is richly drawn: ‘A typical copper – detective anyway – stressed out most of the time, running on adrenaline, nicotine and coffee. Booze too, but not as much as some of his mates. Running to flab from a diet of meat pies and sauce, chips and the deep-fried dog’s turds they called chicken rolls, gobbled down on the run between cases, ingesting cumulatively lethal doses of salt, sugar and saturated fats.’
The author captures persuasively the tensions and dramas of other eras, conveying in uncompromising yet poetic language a richly drawn web of intrigue, murder and justice. The novel’s tightly controlled plot cleverly weaves familiar domestic tensions of family life and marriage with tangled mysteries and a sense of brooding violence just below the surface, keeping the reader totally involved.
What the critics said: Garry Disher: ‘In John Tully’s compelling study of murder and redemption, the ground shifts, the past intrudes and time and place are vividly realized … a complex mystery.’
Dark Clouds on the Mountain is a suspenseful and ultimately satisfying reading experience.
To read the launch speech by Professor Michael Hamel-Green, Victoria University, go to:
Review published in Ozleft: http://ozleft.wordpress.com/2011/06/27/dark-clouds-on-the-mountain/
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