Synopses & Reviews
City detective Joe Cashin, reposted to a quiet Australian town, is thrust into a murder investigation in which the evidence points to three aboriginal boys. Cashin, unconvinced, suspects something far worse than a burglary gone wrong.
Shaken by a scrape with death, Detective Joe Cashin has been posted away from the big-city homicide squad to the quiet town on the South Australian coast where he grew up. Carrying physical scars and not 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 millionaire is attacked and left for dead in his own home, 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 Ned Kelly Award, Australia's major prize for crime fiction, The Broken Shore is a transfixing novel about a place, a family, politics, and power and the need to live decently in a world where so much is rotten. GLOSSARY OF AUSTRALIAN TERMS Abo: Abbreviation of "Aboriginal." The usage is derogatory except in Aboriginal English. Aggro: "Aggression" or "aggressive." (Just takes two or three drinks, then he gets aggro. ) Ambo: An ambulance worker. (The following sentence is possible: Mate the last thing I need is an aggro Abo ambo.) Bickie: A cookie. Abbreviation of biscuit. Bloodhouse: A hotel known for its fights. Blow-in: A term of scorn for a newcomer, particularly one who voices an opinion about local affairs or tries to change anything. (Bloody blow-in, what does he know about this town?) Bludger: Once, a man living off a prostitute's earnings; now applied to anyone who shirks work, duty, or obligation. A dole bludger is someone who would rather live on unemployment benefits than take a job. Bluey: A workman's hard-wearing cotton jacket. It can also be a blanket, a cattle dog, or a red-haired person. Boong: A derogatory term for an Aboriginal person used by non-Aboriginals. Brickie: Bricklayer. Buckley's: To have Buckley's chance or Buckley's hope is to have very little or no prospect of success. The term probably derives from William Buckley, a convict who escaped and lived with an Aboriginal community. Bundy: Bundaberg rum, named for the Queensland sugar town. It is often drunk with Coca-Cola (Bundy and Coke). Burg: Burglary. Chook: Chicken. It can also mean an older woman or a silly person. Cleanskin: Once a term for unbranded animals, it now denotes someone with an unblemished record or an unskilled person or a wine sold without a brand name. Cop it: To take the blame or accept responsibility. To cop it sweet is to take misfortune or blame in a resigned way. Copshop: Police station. Corrie iron: Corrugated galvanized iron sheet. Dill: A stupid, silly or incompetent person. Dob: To inform on someone, to blame or implicate him or her. Someone who dobs is a dobbler. Fibro: Fibro-cement building material used for cheap housing, garages or shacks. Also used for a house made of fibro-cement. (Might live in a mansion now; six months ago, it was a fibro.) Flannelshirt: A person from the country or the poorer outer suburbs who wears cheap cotton shirts, usually checked. Footy: Australian rules football, the world's finest ball game, and the ball used. (Let's have a kick of the footy.) On my hammer: Putting pressure on me. Hoon: Once, a procurer of prostitutes, but now any badly behaved person, usually a young male. Irresponsible young drivers are hoons who go for a hoon in their cars. Mark Twain uses the expression as drunk as hoons in Sketches Old and New, where it presumably derives from "Huns." Hume: The Hume Highway. It runs either from Sydney to Melbourne, or from Melbourne to Sydney. KALOF: Police acronym for "Keep A Lookout For." Load: To frame someone with a crime. (They loaded him up with it, reckoned he was overdue.) Lucky dip: Relying on chance or fortune. From the drawing of a lucky number or prize from a barrel. Milk stout: A dark beer, sometimes claimed to have medicinal properties. Offsider: A sidekick, a junior helper, from a bullock-driver's assistant, who walked on the offside of the wagon. Panelbeater: Bodyshop worker. Perp: The vertical mortar between bricks. Abbreviation of "perpendicular." Pillowbiter: Male homosexual. Pommy: Someone from England. The English are often known as Pommy bastards. This has been known to be said affectionately. The term derives from "pomegranate" as rhyming slang for "immigrant." Prac: Practice experience session, as in a teaching prac. Punter: A gambler, one who takes a punt, but also used to mean a customer or client. (What this art gallery needs is more punters coming through the door.) Quickpick: A lottery ticket that spares the buyer the task of choosing numbers by randomly allocating them. Anything chosen without much thought or care. Also a term for someone, not necessarily a prostitute, picked up for sex. Rec reserve: A public recreation area, often with a football or cricket field. Rego: Vehicle registration letters and numbers. Pronounced with a soft g, as in "Reginald." Rorters and shicers: An expression joining two unlovely types: rorters are exploiters and manipulators--the verb is to ror--and shicers (shysters) are cheats and swindlers. For some reason, political rorts are alleged almost daily in Australia. RSL: The Returned and Services League looks after the interests of those who have served in the Australian armed forces. An RSL clubhouse is known as the RSL. Salvo: A member of the Salvation Army. Sangers: Sandwiches. Someone who fancied a chicken sausage sandwich could ask for a chook snag sanger. Servo: Gas station. Abbreviation of "service station." SOG: Special Operations Group, an elite Victoria Police detachment used for dangerous operations. Known in the force as Sons of God or Soggies, as in: "The dill says he's got dynamite. Job for the Soggies here, mate." Spaggy bol: Spaghetti bolognese. Also called spag bol. Italian immigrants to Australia were once called spags. Stickybeak: An inquisitive person. Also the act of s