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Drive By - Michael Duffy

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Published: 1st August 2013
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Published: 24th July 2013
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A searing, revealing, white-knuckle ride into the heart of a crime family straight out of tomorrow's headlines.

'If The Godfather was set in Sydney today, it would be about the Lebs. But brothers, lots of brothers. Fathers don't matter anymore.'

Detective Inspector Brian Harris



John Habib is the mechanic son of a Muslim Lebanese-Australian crime family in Sydney's Western suburbs. His oldest brother is in a maximum security prison, his middle brother is becoming increasingly fundamentalist, and his younger brother Rafi is on trial for a murder he swears he didn't commit. John has no reason to disbelieve Rafi but there are things going on in the family that he just doesn't understand. Why has his brother taken control of the family away from their father? Are the police really trying to set up Rafi? And what is the compelling evidence they say will put him away? John sets out to prove Rafi's innocence in the face of his predatory older brothers and some Lebanese-hating cops.

Bec Ralston is a good detective who doesn't know why she's been ordered to attend Rafi's trial. She was previously thrown off the investigation for voicing the opinion that Rafi might be innocent. As the court case goes badly wrong, she finds herself torn between her loyalty to the senior police she respects and the truth.

Not since Peter Temple's The Broken Shore and Truth has the world of criminals and police been so uncompromisingly and authentically drawn. This brilliant, fast-paced novel will seize you from its first page and not let you go till long after its explosive, mind-twisting conclusion.

Read Caroline Baum's Review

You only have to watch the news to see that it does not get more topical than Drive By.

This gritty, complex, multi-layered novel is based on the spate of shootings between rival drug gangs that have riddled the streets of south Sydney in the past couple of years.

Duffy, a seasoned regular observer of the courts, has created two memorable characters: Bec, a part-Aboriginal detective, who has a distinctive vocabulary that wrong-foots her colleagues: and Honest John, a keen Toyota mechanic and member of the Habib family who would really rather not have to think too hard about what his brothers have been up to and just wants to marry his Aussie girlfriend.

With years spent watching court cases unfold, Duffy demonstrates a very sure hand and a light touch with character while twisting the plot like a fish on a hook. You'll have to do your share too. Duffy does not dot all his Is and cross all his Ts, making the reader fill in gaps and do some of the work. It's a satisfying, rewarding experience, being treated like a grown-up.

Fresh, gripping and as on the money as today's headlines.

About the Author

Michael Duffy has worked for the Sydney Morning Herald and the Sun Herald as a reporter of crime and other urban issues. He has written two true crime books and the novels The Tower, about crime and globalisation, and The Simple Death, about voluntary euthanasia and the law.

ISBN: 9781743312636
ISBN-10: 1743312636
Audience: General
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 400
Published: 1st August 2013
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Dimensions (cm): 23.6 x 15.6  x 3.0
Weight (kg): 0.49