Murray Whelan – Shane Maloney

Tonight I’m going to break with tradition and give you three-in-one book review.

I’m shamelessly pinching some stuff from Shane Maloney’s website as his summary is nice and concise.

“There are currently six Murray Whelan novels.
Each is a stand-alone story. Sequentially, they follow Murray’s journey through the ranks of a well-known but entirely fictional Australian political party. The action takes place mainly in Melbourne, a city on the way to nowhere.”

I’m currently reading the first Murray Whelan trilogy containing: Stiff, The Brush Off & Nice Try. Actually, I’ve read Stiff and The Brush Off and am partway through Nice Try. Stiff and The Brush Off were made into movies with David Wenham as Murray Whelan with John Clarke directing Stiff and Sam Neill directing The Brush Off. In the books our hero looks like he actually knows what he’s doing but in the movies it looks far more haphazard. I saw Stiff some time ago as David Wenham is a drawcard in my books and with John Clarke directing I knew it had to be good so when I saw this trilogy in the op shop I just had to buy it. It’s been sitting on my shelf for quite a while and I’ve been saving it for a rainy day.

I think you could class them as political thrillers and they give a very nice insight into the way politics works. They are based in Melbourne so it’s lovely for Melburnites as we get to see our landmarks and we can actually picture the streets and walk in Murray’s shoes, so to speak. Stiff is partly set in the trade unions in Brunswick with all the colourful sights and sounds around there, The Brush Off is set in the world of the Arts so you get to see more of the city with the Arts Centre and the Botanic Gardens right in the centre of the action. In Nice Try he’s moved to the Olympic Bid and Fitzroy Street so we see that area and also Heidelberg. The descriptions are fitting and I love reading the descriptions of buildings that are no longer there and just picturing them. I’m thinking most specifically of a building that used to be next to the Arts Centre.

One of the colourful aspects of the books is the totally Australian phrases the author has thrown in. And wouldn’t you know it but it’d take me a month of Sundays to find one of them now. I have just spent a few minutes trying and come up with nothing so I might edit this with one or two next time they come up.

Warnings: Violence, death, sex and swearing.