by Stephanie Lai
There is an election this Saturday! I know right, who knew? So it is an especially timely moment to review Dead Cat Bounce, Peter Cotton’s July release.
Three weeks before a federal election, the Minister for the Environment goes missing and is later found asphyxiated on the shores of Lake Burley Griffin. This understandably high profile event is followed by Detective Darren Glass, and intercut with media bites from reporters Jean Acheson and Simon Rolfe. This serves to weave the secrecy of politics and police work with the immediacy of today’s media, with varying effect, though certainly you feel the frustration of police and pollies as the media release more and more secret information.
There is a sense of immediacy in Dead Cat Bounce, but no real sense of high stakes, despite having read this with our own looming election just over the horizon. It’s an easy, fast read, and despite containing multiple murders and kidnappings and the potential for nail bombs, it’s not a nail biting oh-god-the-fear kind of crime book (which is good! I like crime books, but I don’t like to be checking under the bed).
There’s a casual sense of irony and ridiculousness through the book, which I appreciated. The Commissioner for PNG Constabulary offers assistance to the AFP, and the media is keeping secrets that lead to all sorts of shenanigans. And Glass, the POV character, is a copper who gets the job done but mostly by accident.
Read this if you enjoy trying to decide which fictional character is which real life Australian politician or media personality, and a soft easy read before election day.