Book review: Shock Waves by Fleur McDonald

Thursday, April 4, 2024 Permalink

Shock Waves by Fleur McDonald is the latest book in the ‘young’ Detective Dave Burrows series. He also features as a second character in a present day series and I suspect this one must be getting close to catching up to that as I note he first appeared in 2009.

Here his mentor and boss Bob has been undergoing cancer treatment and is off work. Despite that (and because Bob is bored) Dave involves him on a work trip checking stock but enroute they get waylaid after hearing about an explosion at council offices.

Book review: Shock Waves by Fleur McDonaldShock Waves
by Fleur McDonald
Series: Detective Dave Burrows
Published by Allen & Unwin AU
on 03/04/2024
Source: Allen & Unwin
Genres: Crime Fiction, Police Procedural
ISBN: 9781761470097
Pages: 342

Detective Dave Burrows has longed for the top job in the Stock Squad but never thought he'd be acting in that role while his partner and best mate, Detective Bob Holden, is treated for melanoma.

Bob is keen to get back on the road and Dave can't wait to go bush either, expecting the trip will be much the same as usual.

But the trip doesn't play out that way.

Multiple bomb blasts in the small country town of Kallygarn send shock waves through the state of Western Australia, and Dave and Bob are once again drawn into the criminal underworld.

In many ways this book is more about Dave accepting Bob’s condition (and fallibility) and recognising what an important role he’s played in his life. The whodunnit takes a backseat. Dave and Bob do however stumble across some of our suspects, though they’re hours from Kallygarn so links seem tenuous.

I was probably a little less engaged in the investigation here as it’s a bit of a scattergun crime with several players in a few locations. And in many ways the explosion was a victim-less crime (if you don’t count taxpayers’ and ratepayers’ hard-earned dollars). Having said that McDonald again references issues facing farmers and those dependent on the land for their livelihood as well as the misconceptions and anger that can fester in small isolated communities.

I very much enjoyed the story of Dave and Bob here. And their challenge to accept what’s ahead. Dave is a bit belligerent on a few occasions and I’d forgotten that he’s still growing into the person we eventually meet. His moods and emotions are more tempered in the more recent novels. It’s a reminder we can (and do) change with time and the right role models.

McDonald also introduces a couple of new threads which aren’t pursued – a hint more is to come. One involving some bikies and suggesting at some point we’ll revisit the circumstances which saw Dave’s mother-in-law killed and him lose his marriage and access to his children. And then there’s reference to Dave’s brother going missing. We know that Dave’s father ostensibly threw him off the family farm, offering it to his brothers instead, so there’s obviously more to that as well. It means I’m looking forward to getting into some juicy reading fodder in upcoming books.

Shock Waves by Fleur McDonald was published in Australia by Allen & Unwin and is now available.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review purposes. 


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