Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Book Review: ST KILDA BLUES Geoffrey McGeachin

Paperback304 pages
Published May 23rd 2014 by Penguin Books Australia

The 3rd in the Charlie Berlin series. Geoffrey McGeachin is a two-time Ned Kelly Award winner so I had high expectations for this book.

Set in Melbourne in 1967, there was a lot to like about it. Lots of references to places and things that were part of my adolescence. Charlie's two children are now pretty much grown up. His daughter is in Israel discovering her Jewish heritage and his troublesome son is serving in Vietnam.

The daughter of a wealthy German builder goes missing and Charlie, who is on the outer with the powers that be is asked to do an unofficial investigation. All this is done to the backdrop of an enquiry into police corruption and Charlie isn't sure he can trust his partner. He also comes to believe that the girl's disappearance may be connected to the deaths of some other girls. Could Melbourne have its first serial killer?

Add to the mix the fact that Charlie thinks he recognises the missing girl's father. During the war he witnessed an SS Officer execute a young girl. The officer had a missing middle singer and so does the father of the girl.

Geoffrey McGeachin is a two-time Ned Kelly Award winner so I had high expectations for this book.

I found myself somewhat disappointed in a few aspects of ST KILDA BLUES. It started promisingly enough with dual threads of both Charlie and the background of the yet un-named killer. The investigation for the most part was fine. However, I guessed whodunit quite some time before it was revealed and the end of the investigation felt rushed and not really satisfactorily resolved. 

There was also a plot line added after the reveal of the murderer that had Charlie and his wife travel to Israel and Germany. This came after the main plot and felt tacked on. It certainly had nothing to do with the main storyline. It's a pity that couldn't have been woven into the investigation somehow as the information was fairly interesting but totally irrelevant to to the rest of the book.

So we had the main investigation, the corruption of police, the question whether or not the father of the missing girl was a war criminal and a thread involving travel. I won't say the purpose of that exactly because that would be a spoiler, but all in all there was perhaps a little too much going on in the book that weren't directly related to one another and justice really wasn't done to any of them.