SMALL TOWN. BIG SECRET.
An unforgettable literary crime debut that brings the darkness in an Australian country town vividly to life, as it slowly reveals its devastating secrets.
In the long, hot summer of 1989, Ben and Fab are best friends.
Growing up in a small country town, they spend their days playing cricket, yabbying in local dams, wanting a pair of Nike Air Maxes and not talking about how Fab's dad hits him, or how the sudden death of Ben's next-door neighbour unsettled him. Almost teenagers, they already know some things are better left unsaid.
Then a newcomer arrived in the Wimmera. Fab reckoned he was a secret agent and he and Ben staked him out. Up close, the man's shoulders were wide and the veins in his arms stuck out, blue and green. His hands were enormous, red and knotty. He looked strong. Maybe even stronger than Fab's dad. Neither realised the shadow this man would cast over both their lives.
Twenty years later, Fab is still stuck in town, going nowhere but hoping for somewhere better. Then a body is found in the river, and Fab can't ignore the past any more.
'Very little fiction is as emotionally true as this. WIMMERA is a dark and disturbing story from a substantial new talent.' SATURDAY PAPER
'This is literary crime fiction at its best.' BOOKS+PUBLISHING
WIMMERA WAS THE 2016 WINNER OF THE CRIME WRITERS' ASSOCIATION DEBUT DAGGER (UK)
SHORTLISTED FOR THE 2018 INDIE DEBUT FICTION AWARD
SHORTLISTED FOR LITERARY FICTION BOOK OF THE YEAR, ABIA AWARDS 2018
SHORTLISTED FOR THE MATT RICHELL AWARD FOR NEW WRITER OF THE YEAR, ABIA AWARDS 2018
Evocative, straight forward writing, unsettling story
Mark Brandi has the reader sweaty and dusty walking the streets of the country town alongside the two main young protagonists in what should have been an endless summer of innocent childhood. As the story slowly unfolds we see unfairness and man’s cruelties raised but never underlined, and many questions are left to ponder as the writing ends. I wanted a kinder ending, but this is not a romance but a well written crime drama.
Full of ups and downs in your emotions for the characters of this book. Powerful. Reminding you of the friendships you had as a child and the depth of that bond as you age.
Well written. Straight to the point. Excellent.
The authentic voice of 12 year old boys…
The eeriness of this book seeps out from the first chapter, replaced by a sun-bleached cheery blandness of small town Victoria. The boys all seem to be only capable of talking cricket while their sexual obsessions. as puberty approaches, are simultaneously fearful and awkward. Eeriness quickly reappears and worse soon follows. A slow build, meticulously back and forth across years and highlighting different characters in turns. The last pages had me in tears.