Pater Temple

Bad Debts

""… a real page turner that sticks in the mind long after it is finished." "


Jack Irish, a part-time lawyer with a wounded past and a broken career, receives a message on his answer machine from Danny, a client he can't remember, from a time he would in any case rather forget.

Jack's life is gently resolving itself, with a regular rhythm beating to his loves of football, furniture and the horses. However when Danny is shot by a policemen before Jack has time to pick up the next message, a mixture of curiosity, conscience and an innate desire to do the right thing makes him pick up the threads of his and Danny's past.

Justice needs to be done, and despite the attraction of a quiet life, Jack decides to avenge Danny. Jack, a man with little to lose, sets out to set right Danny's wrongs, whatever they were and wherever it leads him.

Purchase the book from Amazon.


I recently reviewed another of Peter Temple's novels, the spy thriller In the Evil Day that, whilst generally thrilling, was in the end gently unfulfilling. I rather unfortunately compared it to fast food. This is far meatier and satisfying stuff, a real Irish stew of a novel - if you pardon the allusion to the hero – it is the sum of its parts and more. Plot strands interweave far more successfully, perhaps because the hero is more believable and solid. There is also a real sense of place, in this case rooted in Melbourne. The author obviously loves the city and the surrounding countryside and therefore is able to place a believable half-gangland/half political scandal narrative against a realistic backdrop, both in scenery and people. Add to this a love affair with a “spirited” woman (at least so the jacket blurb says – read slightly frightening and predatory) it makes for an engaging read, a real page turner that sticks in the mind long after it is finished. In fact, it made me want to go to Australia, if not take up a career in law there. I'd recommend Peter Temple to carry on with this series – it is very satisfying and totally works. If nothing else, because one can really feel the people and the places. Why not 5/5 then? Well, the love affair made me uncomfortable (a bit too sexy for me), and the all-avenging physical part-time lawyer feels like a cover for an upmarket private eye. It feels slightly fake, either way you look at it. I'm sure, however, after a few more novels, this feeling will go away as I get more absorbed in the character and place. I eagerly look forward to his next one.

Reviewed By: