Melbourne's first serial killer is at work and only one man can stop him.
It's 1967, the summer of love, and in swinging Melbourne Detective Sergeant Charlie Berlin has been hauled out of exile in the Fraud Squad to investigate the disappearance of a teenage girl, the daughter of a powerful and politically connected property developer. As Berlin's inquiries uncover more missing girls he gets an uneasy feeling he may be dealing with the city's first serial killer.
Berlin's investigation leads him through inner-city discothèques, hip photographic studios, the emerging drug culture and into the seedy back streets of St Kilda. The investigation also brings up ghosts of Berlin's past, disturbing memories of the casual murder of a young woman he witnessed in dying days of WW11.
As in war, some victories come at a terrible cost and Berlin will have to face an awful truth and endure an unimaginable loss before his investigation is over.
St. Kilda Blues is the third novel in the Charlie Berlin series. Both previous novels, The Diggers Rest Hotel and Blackwattle Creek, won the Ned Kelly Award for Best Fiction in 2011 and 2013 respectively.
About the Author
St Kilda Blues is Geoffrey McGeachin's seventh book and third in the Charlie Berlin series. The first Berlin novel, The Diggers Rest Hotel, won the 2011 Australian Crime Writers Association's Ned Kelly Award for Best Fiction with the follow up book, Blackwattle Creek, also winning the Ned Kelly Award for Best Fiction in 2013.
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Comments about St Kilda Blues:
St Kilda Blues is the third Charlie Berlin Mystery by Australian author, Geoffrey McGeachin. Ten years have passed since the events at Blackwattle Creek, and Detective Sergeant Charlie Berlin has been relegated to a back desk in the Fraud Squad after stepping on the wrong toes regarding three missing girls. But, six months later, fifteen-year-old Gudrun Scheiner goes missing, and her father, Gerhardt, a self-made construction magnate, has the ear of the Victorian Premier. Suddenly, Charlie is dragged back into the investigation, on the quiet, by his one-time protégé, Sergeant Rob Roberts.
Roberts is flashing some expensive gear, and his behaviour has Charlie a bit concerned: there's a police corruption inquiry going on, and he wonders if Roberts will fall foul of it. It turns out that Gudrun could well be the ninth young girl to have disappeared under similar circumstances. When Charlie meets Scheiner, something about the man reminds his of an awful incident during his 20-day forced march in Poland at the end of the war. But the man is frantic about his daughter, and Charlie can empathise: seventeen-year-old Sarah is away on a kibbutz in Israel, and he misses her terribly. He promises Scheiner he will do all he can.
McGeachin uses a twin narrative to tell his tale: the events surrounding the investigation are narrated from Charlie's perspective; the account of the early life of the unknown perpetrator describes the making of a cruel and perverted serial killer. Once again, McGeachin gives the reader an excellent murder mystery with the odd red herring and a dramatic climax. Setting the scene in late 1960s Melbourne is expertly achieved by the seamless incorporation of details like topical news stories, popular music, the new currency, fashion, air travel (on a jet with the door to the cockpit open to the public!!), politics and social mores.
While bad boy cops can be fun, it is refreshing to have a main character who, despite his internal battles, is faithful to his wife, manages to give up alcohol and cigarettes, loves his children and acts with respect and integrity in his job. McGeachin throws him plenty of temptation, and hits him with a really rotten blow at the end (there are a few lump-in-the-throat moments in this instalment), but that just endears him to the reader even more. Will there be more of Charlie Berlin? (Please!) And will he be another ten years older next time we see him? This is Aussie crime fiction at its best.
Comments about St Kilda Blues:
I loved this book! It is extremely well-written, with very engaging characters. It drags the reader in, and is a page turner. This is the third book in the Xavier Berlin series, and each one is better than the one before. There is also a surprising plot twist, which really grabbed my emotions. My only concern is that each book in this series is set about 10 years apart, which suggests that there can only be about 2 more before Berlin is retired!
Number Of Pages: 400
Published: 28th May 2014
Country of Publication: AU
Dimensions (cm): 23.7 x 15.2 x 2.9
Weight (kg): 23.7
Edition Number: 3