Archive for March, 2011


Truth by Peter Temple is the 2010 Miles Franklin Award Winner and a crime novel. These are two things that can rarely be said about 1 book, which suggests there might be something special about this work.

but if that’s the case, it eluded most bookgroupers, at least for the 1st half of the book. many of us struggled with the cliched, emotionless, tougher than tough exchanges, both between cops, and between the lead character and everyone else in his life.

Bookgroupers that were familiar with the genre said one of two things: either the work created nothing new in terms of the style of the genre, or the book was not typical of the genre. i’m not sure we resolved this seemingly irreconcilable difference of opinion.

despite these shortcomings, many of us did get into the book by the 2nd half. The upside that slowly drew me in to the book was partly the politics, partly the lead character and partly the multiple story lines.

As someone that gets to see the interaction between the bureaucracy and politics in state government i thought the portrayal of politics and the upper echelons of the police force really rang true.

Similarly, i loved the fact the lead character, vilani, was far from perfect. he was a workaholic, inexcusably absent father, which is what you have to be to get to the upper echelons of any big bureaucracy. i found that a welcome relief from the ridiculous – incorruptible tough guys with hearts of gold – that you usually see in hollywood, and tv, crime fiction. For me, this is where the title comes from. The book tells the truth about the lead protagonist, vilani, rather than painting him as some kind of stainless hero.

Bookgroupers familiar with the genre agreed on one point – the whodunnit issue was not the main focus of the novel. I think that is true, and might be why i liked book in the end. the crime aspect of the novel was more like the background and against which the real drama, the private life of vilani, took place. nevertheless, the crime story that was told did ring true, it wasnt overly glamourous or full of super-villains, it seemed very believable.

On the other hand, the ending was a bit saccharine and anything but believable. However, i was pleased with it because it was neat and fairly happy so it left me with a feeling of satisfaction about the experience of reading the book.

On balance i’d recommend it to crime fiction readers, but if, like me, you are not a crime fiction reader i’d say it does not justify a diversion in to unfamiliar territory.


March 20, 2011 at 5:51 am Leave a comment


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