In the long, hot summer of 1989, Ben and Fab are best friends.
Growing up in a small country town, they spend their days playing cricket, yabbying in local dams, wanting a pair of Nike Air Maxes and not talking about how Fab's dad hits him or how the sudden death of Ben's next-door neighbour unsettled him. Almost teenagers, they already know some things are better left unsaid.
Then a newcomer arrived in the Wimmera. Fab reckoned he was a secret agent and he and Ben staked him out. Up close, the man's shoulders were wide and the veins in his arms stuck out, blue and green. His hands were enormous, red and knotty. He looked strong. Maybe even stronger than Fab's dad. Neither realised the shadow this man would cast over both their lives.
Twenty years later, Fab is still stuck in town, going nowhere but hoping for somewhere better. Then a body is found in the river, and Fab can't ignore the past any more.
About the Author
Mark Brandi has been published, broadcast and shortlisted in journals and competitions both locally and overseas. Originally from Marche, growing up Italian in a rural Victorian town influences much of his work. Mark graduated from a criminal justice degree and his career includes roles as a policy advisor and project officer in the Department of Justice, before changing direction and deciding to write. Mark's writing has appeared in THE GUARDIAN, THE AGE, the BIG ISSUE, and is often broadcast on Radio National. He is the winner of the 2016 UK Crime Writers' Association Debut Dagger for his first novel, Wimmera, which he developed during two residential fellowships at Varuna.
Given the substantial list of award wins and short-listings that the unpublished manuscript has already received, including the Crime Writers' Association's Debut Dagger Award, it's clear that the reader is in the hands of a master storyteller. Comparisons are already being made to Jane Harper's THE DRY and Dennis Lehane's MYSTIC RIVER. This is literary crime fiction at its best. - BOOKS+PUBLISHING
written with great delicacy and deliberate restraint - ADELAIDE ADVERTISER
Very little fiction is as emotionally true as this. WIMMERA is a dark and disturbing story from a substantial new talent. - SATURDAY PAPER
Wimmera makes excellent use of atmospheric rural Australia to weave a gothic story with a strongly rooted sense of place. - HERALD SUN
Congratulations to this debut Australian author, Mark Brandi. This well-plotted tale lets the reader see how evil can be so pervasive and affect the lives of innocent children, but also how true friendship can alter your life forever.
If you like reading stories that will stay with you for days, put this onto you're to be read list. - Read Round Oz Blog
Wimmera is a dark and melancholy coming-of-age story / murder mystery from a talented new voice in Australian crime fiction. Incorporating some iconic Australian elements, the story is like time-travel back to the eighties, capturing the quintessential rural Australian spirit of the time. With some very dark elements running through the story, it may not appeal to all readers, but I found it a gripping and haunting read and am looking forward to reading more from this author in future. - But Books are Better Blog
This book carried me along very quickly and I read it in almost one sitting captured by the tension of wanting to know how the boys handle the menace and what happens next. - ReadPlus
Wide open skies, hidden country lanes, spooky escarpments, baking heat and bone-chilling cold - Victoria's Wimmera district is ripe for use as a backdrop for a novel. - Weekend Gold Coast Bulletin