Each time I review one of Fleur McDonald’s books featuring Detective Dave Burrows I make some quip about the fact there are two. Series that is. Not Dave Burrowses.
McDonald kicked off the series with a middle-aged Dave, but later took us back in time to the late 1990s and early 2000s to a young (Detective) Dave who was hoping to join the Stock Squad.
I adore both series and am intrigued how the Dave we meet in the past becomes the Dave we meet in the present.
Something to Hide
by Fleur McDonald
Series: Detective Dave Burrows #4
Published by Allen & Unwin
Source: Allen & Unwin
Genres: Crime Fiction, Police Procedural
With the sickening realisation that his cover has been blown, Detective Dave Burrows knows his family is in serious danger from the vicious stock thieves and murderers, Bulldust and his brother Scotty.
Devastating news brings Dave back to Barrabine, where circumstances force him to question his determination to stay in the police force. How could he live with himself if anything happened to Mel and the kids?
Mel, understandably frightened, must decide who she'll listen to. Can she trust Dave to handle this threat hanging over their family, or is her father right to argue that she should leave her marriage immediately?
I don’t like Mel so am not particularly worried they’re heading for splitsville. Which isn’t a spoiler of course because Dave is married to the far-more-likeable Kim in the present series. I must confess however, I don’t remember early references to Mel (and his daughters) so am unsure of their fate. So things might yet get dire and be not at all as I expect. And I may feel bad bitching about his self-centred first wife.
We came across Bulldust two novels ago in Without a Doubt, but Dave’s cover has since been blown so he’s not surprised when it’s obvious that the criminal out for revenge has tracked him down, putting his family at risk and giving Dave’s father-in-law yet another reason to dislike him.
Major Crime squad is on the case however and sidelining Dave, so he and his Stock Squad boss Bob head off (on a case) to Barrabine, Dave’s old stomping ground.
Little do they know that’s where Bulldust and his brother Scotty are hanging out so it’s obvious things will come to a head and we can do nothing but watch. McDonald keeps that unpredictable however, and Dave and Bulldust orbit each other for quite some time without knowing the other is there.
As is always the case McDonald offers delightful details about country life and farm living. And the case that draws Dave and Bob out involves missing cattle and it was interesting for this city (well, town) dweller to learn about predicting stock numbers and birth rates and the like. I’m conscious that if McDonald herself wasn’t living and breathing farm life she wouldn’t be able to effortlessly bury extraordinary detail in her narrative.
Having said that I felt, on this outing, the disappearing cattle case was a little underdone. I almost forgot it was chugging along in the background on a couple of occasions and didn’t really engage with it or its players.
Thankfully Bulldust’s reappearance and the havoc he advertently* (and inadvertently) wreaks on those around him keep us focused. In fact I wondered if that alone could have sustained this book (particularly given its impact on Dave’s marriage and family) without the additional disappearing-cattle plot line.
McDonald ends this in a spectacular fashion and it’s obvious big changes are afoot so I’m already looking forward to the next book in this series.
PS. *Clears throat* I just happened to have included a back cover pic because yours truly is quoted on there again.
Something to Hide by Fleur McDonald was published by Allen and Unwin and is now available.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review purposes.
* And yes, I know advertant isn’t really a word but it sounds good there and it’s my website so it’s staying…