On the inside, Detective Nhu 'Ned' Kelly is a mess. Stitched up after being shot, her brain's taking even longer to heal than her body. On the outside, though, she's perfect, at least as far as the top brass are concerned. Cabramatta is riding high on the new 'Asian crime wave', a nightmare of heroin, home invasions, and hits of all kinds, and the cops need a way into the world of teenaged dealers and assassins.
They think Ned's Vietnamese heritage is the right fit but nothing in Cabra can be taken at face value. Ned doesn't speak the language and the ra choi – the lawless kids who have 'gone out to play' – are just running rings around her. The next blow could come from anywhere, or anyone. And beyond the headlines and hysteria, Ned is itching to make a play for the kingpin, the person behind it all with the money and the plan and the power.
Beams Falling is the brilliantly compelling and gritty second novel by the rising star of Australian crime writing. A portrait of our recent past, it's also a compulsive and utterly authentic insight into the way both cops and criminals work.
P.M. Newton spent over a decade as a detective in the NSW police force, including time in Sydney's southwest and the Drug Enforcement Agency. Her first novel was the acclaimed The Old School.
Read Caroline Baum's Review
Detective Nhu Kelly, known as Ned by her colleagues, is a mess after being shot. But she's out on the streets of Cabramatta, working the new Asian crime wave of heroin, home invasions and hits. To the cops, her Vietnamese heritage is an asset, but to her, still damaged and prone to terrifying flashbacks, it is also a burden, freighted with assumptions and expectations.
Reeking of authentic insight into the effect of post-traumatic stress, this is gripping and gritty stuff from a writer who spent over a decade as a detective and clearly knows her territory - not only about procedure, but about human psychology. The picture Newton paints ain't pretty and may leave readers wondering why any woman would join the police force. She brings real complexity and compassion to the character of Ned, creating a portrait of isolation, anxiety and conflict that is sometimes uncomfortable to read it feels so real. Ned is obsessed with a score she needs to settle, but is she sufficiently recovered to make the right decisions and rebuild her life?
About the Author
Fresh from an Arts degree, P.M. Newton joined the New South Wales police force in 1982. She spent the next thirteen years working in and around Sydney in various departments – Drug Enforcement, Sexual Assault, Major Crime – first in uniform, then as a detective. When she had eventually had enough of meeting people for the first time on the worst day of their lives, Newton resigned from the Job to travel and live overseas. She now lives in Sydney. Her first novel, The Old School, won the Sisters in Crime Davitt Award and the Asher Literary Award, and was shortlisted for the Indie Award for Debut Fiction and the Ned Kelly Award for Best First Fiction.