There’s a running joke among journalists that they all have a novel sitting in the bottom drawer. For Tony Jones, Australian political journalist and host of Q&A, it’s truer to say that he had about two or three.
Tony had always wanted to write, but found himself caught up in the rush of life as a journalist, reporting diligently on hard facts. Now, he’s the author of two novels, the second of which is In Darkness Visible, a book which takes its title from Milton’s Paradise Lost.
It’s chillingly fitting.
“The idea of ‘darkness visible’ is that Lucifer’s fallen angels end up in the burning pits of hell, and the only place they can be seen is in this darkness,” says Tony. “It’s where you see these monsters.”
In Darkness Visible is a political thriller full of such monsters, beginning in a small town on the coast of Croatia where a man named Marin Katich is living under an alias. As the novel opens, he is arrested and locked up in Scheveningen Prison in The Hague. His crime? Possible war crimes in the former Yugoslavia in the ‘90s.
It’s a conflict that Tony knows well, having covered it himself as a young foreign correspondent for the ABC.
“Some of the scenes set during the conflict reflect things that happen to me or that I witnessed, and so I hope it feels to people who read it like it’s real because for me it was, and I try to give a real sense of the veracity, the horror of these kind of conflicts.”
The book examines the question of whether or not Marin is truly as evil as the crimes he is accused of would suggest, mainly through the eyes of his ex-girlfriend Anna Rosen, who had believed that Marin was dead and immediately sets off to investigate. Anna and Marin are characters that readers will have met in Tony’s first novel, The Twentieth Man, which is a kind of prequel to In Darkness Visible, although readers will not have to have read it in order to understand this one.
Writing a followup novel to his debut proved to be much easier for Tony, who admits to feeling much more confident with the process the second time around.
“It’s probably a lifetime learning experience becoming a novelist. I hope that I’ll just keep getting better and better at it.”
Tony Jones visited Booktopia for a book signing session and a podcast, where Ben Hunter and myself asked him all about his new novel. Listen below and grab a signed copy of In Darkness Visible (available while stocks last)!
In Darkness Visible
In 2005, Marin Katich, living in Croatia under an alias, is being watched. Before the year is out, he has been assaulted, arrested, charged with serious war crimes and locked up in Scheveningen Prison in The Hague, waiting for his case to come before the International War Crimes Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.
In Sydney, Anna Rosen, a freelance journalist, is sent photos on her computer of a man she knows to be dead-gunned down in a brutal ambush in Bosnia over a decade ago. A man she'd once loved but who had betrayed her. Is it possible that the photos really are of Marin Katich? And if so, what the hell had happened in 1992?
About the Contributor
Olivia Fricot is the Editor of the Booktopian Blog. After finishing a soul-crushing law degree, she decided that life was much better with one's nose in a book and quickly defected to the world of Austen and Woolf. You can usually find her reading (obviously), baking, writing questionable tweets, and completing a Master's degree in English literature. Just don't ask about her thesis. Olivia is on Twitter and Instagram @livfricot - follow at your own risk.
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