What a cracker! A noir novel set in tea-drenched 1950s New Zealand. With the 1951 waterfront strike as the backdrop, Red Herring sets PI Johnny Molloy on the track of a murky character who has supposedly drowned in the Gulf of Alaska but who has turned up in a photo taken in New Zealand alongside the organisers of the strike.
I have been reading a lot about narrative arc lately – and against the tide of my reading have been picking up novels that don’t really have one. Dad Art is such a novel, it follows Wellington based sound engineer Michael from when he is undergoing a minor procedure to remove a suspected carcinoma on his chest, through to his reminiscing about recent events and moving into his next set of circumstances.
A character in The Quiet Spectacular declares that the literary establishment considers men to be the north on the compass and “…it’s only by sending the whole compass completely haywire that anyone other than Western men get a look-in.” And the book, if not breaking any literary boundaries, does concentrate solely on female concerns and actions.
I loved this book from when one of the wheeler dealer characters arrives back from London and as he makes his way towards the Beehive muses how he is now “Smack in the centre of power”. This New Zealand is the one emerging from the Panama Papers, the one where politics, big business and the media are in cahoots, and one where something is definitely rotten.