Friday, March 8, 2013
Review of White Dog by Peter Temple (Quercus, 2011, pub in Australia in 2003).
White Dog is the fourth and (so far) last book in the excellent Jack Irish series set in and around Melbourne about a former lawyer who divides his time between being an investigator, debt collector, furniture maker, horse-racing gambler and watching Aussie rules football. Like all of Peter Temple’s novels, White Dog is a nice mix of hardboiled crime and literary voice and observational asides. In a genre full of workman-like prose, Temple writes with a fresh tone. The narrative is layered and sometimes almost elusive or veiled, the reader as unsure as to what is happening as Jack. It’s an intriguing and beguiling style. As usual, the characterisation is excellent, especially Jack and the Youth Club, an elderly group of football supporters that prop up the local bar, and Jack’s horse racing friends. The plot is tight and engaging and there’s a nice sense of place. Overall, a first rate read and I’m hoping that now the first two books have been adapted for television that Temple will resurrect what has been a stellar series.