Winner of the Ned Kelly Award for Crime Fiction (Australia)
Synopses & Reviews
Peter Temple is currently being hailed as the finest crime writer in Australia, but it won't be long before he is recognized as what he really is one of the nation's finest writers, period. Born in South Africa, Temple is writing a dynamic kind of literary thriller that ultimately defies classification.
The Broken Shore, his eighth novel, revolves around big-city detective Joe Cashin. Shaken by a scrape with death, he's posted away from the Homicide Squad to the quiet town on the South Australian coast where he grew up. Carrying physical scars and more than a little guilt, he spends his time playing the country cop, walking his dogs, and thinking about how it all was before. But when a prominent local is attacked in his own home and left for dead, Cashin is thrust into what becomes a murder investigation. The evidence points to three boys from the nearby aboriginal community everyone seems to want to blame them. Cashin is unconvinced, and soon begins to see the outlines of something far more terrible than a burglary gone wrong.
Winner of the Colin Roderick Award for Australian writing as well as Australia's major prize for crime fiction, the Ned Kelly Award, The Broken Shore is a transfixing and moving novel about a place, a family, politics and power, and the need to live decently in a world where so much is rotten.
"Temple's novel racked up the awards in Australia, and it's easy to see why: this deeply intelligent thriller starts slowly, builds inexorably, and ends unforgettably." Booklist (Starred Review)
"Flinty, funny, subtle, and smart, The Broken Shore sags under the burden of a few too many narrative complications....But this is a hazard of the genre, and Temple ranks among its very best practitioners. (Grade: B+)" Entertainment Weekly
"The Broken Shore offers both poetry and gore, and it's best if you have a taste for both." Washington Post
"Along with giving us mournful scenes of civilization's slow encroachment on an idyllic countryside, Temple offers some provocative and painful views of Australia's inner landscape." New York Times
"Temple's novel racked up the awards in Australia, and it's easy to see why: this deeply intelligent thriller starts slowly, builds inexorably, and ends unforgettably." Booklist
"Australia's finest crime writer." The Observer
Winner of the Colin Roderick Award as well as Australia's major prize for crime fiction, Peter Temple has written a transfixing and moving novel about a place, a family, politics and power, and the need to live decently in a world where so much is rotten.
Joe Cashin was different once. He moved easily then. He was surer and less thoughtful. But there are consequences when you've come so close to dying. For Cashin, they included a posting away from the world of Homicide to the quiet place on the coast where he grew up. Now all he has to do is play the country cop and walk the dogs. And sometimes think about how he was before.
Then prominent local Charles Bourgoyne is beaten and left for dead. Everything seems to point to three boys from the nearby Aboriginal community; everyone seems to want it to. But Cashin is unconvinced. And as tragedy unfolds relentlessly into tragedy, he finds himself holding onto something that might be better let go.
Winner of the CWA Duncan Lawrie Dagger Award
A Booklist Best Crime Novel of the Year
Shaken by a recent scrape with death, big-city detective Joe Cashin is posted to a quiet town in on the Australian coast. But soon the whole community is thrown into unrest by the murder of a local philanthropist, a man with some very disturbing secrets. The Broken Shore is a brilliantly intricate crime procedural, and a moving novel about a place, a family, politics, and power.
About the Author
Peter Temple is the author of eight crime novels, five of which have won the Ned Kelly Award for Crime Fiction. He has worked as a journalist and editor for newspapers and magazines in several countries. He lives in Victoria, Australia.
Reading Group Guide
1. Why does Joe Cashin decide to take a chance on Dave Rebb in the initial chapters? Is Joe a better judge of character than Mrs. Haig, or was he simply taking a gamble?
2. How are Joe and Michael affected by the Cashin family legacy? In what way does Joes understanding of his father and of Tommy shift throughout the novel?
3. What do you think happened on the night of the shootout? Would have you have been more likely to trust Hopgood or Donny?
4. How has Joes community changed since his boyhood? What enabled Bobby Walshe and Helen Castleman to excel in careers that would previously have been closed to Aboriginals and women? How does Joe view his connection to Bobby and Helen now that they are adults engaged in high-stakes circumstances?
5. Discuss the novels title. How does the beautiful but dangerous segment of coastline called The Broken Shore serve as an appropriate backdrop for the Bourgoyne murder investigation? What has been broken at the Kettle and the Dangar Steps? Whose broken lives are mended in the aftermath?
6. How were you affected by the structure of the novel, featuring brief chapters comprising rapid-fire dialogue and almost cinematic visuals? What made The Broken Shore different from other thrillers you have read?
7. The novel features a glossary of Australian slang, with many of the entries describing various types of people. How does English-language slang vary around the globe, and what does a populations slang indicate? What were you surprised to discover about Australian culture? What commonalities exist between the dialogue of Australian and American crime novels?
8. How did race and class influence the way the case was handled? Without Joes intervention, would the truth have likely been discovered? In what parts of the world do race and class play the greatest role in how justice is served? How are neighborhoods like the Daunt born?
9. Who was your prime suspect? Were you more swayed by evidence or instinct? Whom did you trust the least?
10. What does Jaimes story indicate about the nature of abuse? Why is evil sometimes allowed to flourish? What allowed this particular evil to affect multiple generations?
11. Why was Jaimes sister hesitant to reveal the truth? What realities was she trying to perpetuate? What would you have done in her situation?
12. In the end, Erica decides not to sell the camp to Fyfe, putting an end to the resort project. What did this clash between the old guard and new developers indicate about views of ideal life in this region? How is progress truly defined, in housing, law enforcement, and other aspects of community?
13. How did you interpret the novels closing scene? What do you predict Tracy will find after she follows through on Joes research request regarding the summer of 1988?
14. Just as literature and opera helped Joe recover from the incident with Raimond Sarris, what emotional repairs are accomplished through the repair work on Tommy Cashins house?