It was a butcher on smoko who reported the man stashing the kid in the car boot. He didn't really know whether he'd seen anything at all, though. Maybe an abduction? Maybe just a stressed-out father.
Detective Bart Moy, newly returned to the country town where his ailing, cantankerous father still lives, finds nothing. As far as he can tell no one in Guilderton is missing a small boy. Still, he looks deeper into the butcher's story—after all, he had a son of his own once.
But when the boy does turn up, silent, apparently traumatised, things are no clearer. Who is he? Where did he come from and what happened to him?
For Moy, gaining the boy's trust becomes central not just to the case but to rebuilding his own life. From the wreckage of his grief, his dead marriage and his fractured relationship with his father may yet come a chance for something new.
A mystery, a meditation on fatherhood, a harrowing examination of love and loss: a new departure in literary crime from Stephen Orr.
About the Author
Stephen Orr is the author of several published works of fiction and non-fiction. His novel Time's Long Ruin was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers' Prize and longlisted for the Miles Franklin Award in 2011. He lives in Adelaide.
Read Caroline Baum's Review
Detective Bart Moy is back in the country town where his elderly, cantankerous ailing father lives when a boy goes missing. But it seems no one has reported a missing child. Moy keeps looking. He’s lost a son of his own.
What I like about this is it’s not just a crime novel. It’s also a thoughtful meditation on father son relationships and a really subtle exploration of what it means to come back to a small place where everyone knows you and your business.
'In One Boy Missing, [Orr] realises the slow rhythms of country Australia, its language and landscape...skilfully...It is great holiday reading, whether at home or abroad.' Australian Bookseller & Publisher 'Orr creates an evocative landscape, the characterisations are truly wonderful, and because of that, the resolution of the crime at the heart of the novel is less important than seeing how these three can find some kind of peace with who they are and what life has done to them.' -- The Hoopla '[Stephen Orr] is adept at partnering highly charged associations with emotionally arid landscapes.' Adelaide Advertiser 'The novel is not so much a typical crime novel but a more contemplative exploration of the relationship between fathers and sons. Stephen Orr spends time drawing out his characters; foibles and the novel is all the better for his attention.' Sun Herald 'Two of Orr's novels are complex variations on the themes of loss, isolation, the difficulties of putting a self back together. His prose is measured and eloquent, his imaginative reach considerable, and his next novel worth the wait.' Sydney Morning Herald/Age 'Stephen Orr's detective is sunnier than Kurt Wallander, but his talkative characters and bitter realism stands comparison with Henning Mankell. He's a sincere storyteller with a flinty eye for the landscape and the sadness that drives good stories forward.' Dominion Post/Waikato Times/Weekend Press 'Stephen Orr spends time drawing out his characters' foibles and the novel is all the better for his attentions.' Sunday Examiner 'A study in character, masculinity, and specifically the relationships between fathers and sons...deftly written.' Australian Book Review 'Totally absorbing, emotionally gripping it is one of those books that sinks its teeth into you and doesn't let go.' -- John Page Pages & Pages 'A sensitive and sometimes-moving look at a man drowning in the sorrows of his past, with a prickly relationship with his father and with a child who desperately needs to trust someone...A sweetly told tale of fatherhood and loss.' Kirkus
Number Of Pages: 288
Published: 29th January 2014
Country of Publication: AU
Dimensions (cm): 23.4 x 15.4 x 2.2
Weight (kg): 23.4