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Bad Debts by Peter Temple

Bad Debts (1996)

by Peter Temple

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Jack Irish (1)

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I love to read a book about my home town - Melbourne, and Peter Temple describes Melbourne well. There this a good mix of anxiety and humour that kept me wondering "god, what else could possibly go wrong". This was the first time I have read a Temple novel and I suspect it won't be the last. ( )
  sophie.anna | May 3, 2017 |
Meet Jack Irish - a lawyer, a gambler, a cabinet maker (in training) and an enforcer when needed. Once upon a time he was a criminal lawyer. Then he lost his wife and things went downhill - he still does some legal work now and then but he is mostly dealing with horse races - both setting up schemes around them and gambling.

Until one day he gets a call from a man he represented once (not that Jack remembers it) and the next day the man turns up dead. Racked by guilt Jack decides to find out what happened and ends up in the middle of a few more murders, a corruption scandal that goes to the top of the government and old secrets. That description will fit a lot of the thrillers written in the last decades. What makes that one special are the setting and the character of Jack Irish.

The setting is Melbourne, Australia (although we also see a few more cities - Ballarat and Perth make an appearance for example). The city is not described in any particular details but you can feel it in every page - it is exotic and different. And as the story is told by Irish, we do not get the long winded explanation on things - it presumes you understand why things are the way they are and you recognize the names of TV stations or radios. And Jack Irish is a fascinating character - he has a dry (and occasionally black) sense of humor that makes you chuckle now and then and his decision making abilities need to be questioned more often than not. No, he is not stupid. And he does not sound unbelievable - he can be called naive in places, he can be called delusional in others but he also realizes when he makes a mistake pretty fast.

Add a new love (which he almost manages to screw up), a few other memorable characters (Cam and Henry and the old guys in the bar for example) and the cast is complete. And there are the horse races. I had never been interested in that sport so I was not sure how much I will like the novel. Especially when they started talking in terms I had only heard about in my English classes. But it worked - at one point I realized that I actually enjoy these exchanges - mainly because of the humor of all participants - I still do not care about the horse racing. And you can call the book predictable - the plot twists were more likely to happen than not but when you realize that the book was written in 1996, you realize that it is not using the standard cliches -- it is building them. There is a reason why some of those became cliches after all - and I can imagine most of the twists being really surprising 2 decades ago.

One thing that needs to be noted is the language in the book - it is very Australian which made it hard to read in places. Thankfully for me, I read quite a lot of Gary Disher's books last year (if you had not, you may want to try him) so after a few pages things clicked in and I did not need to stop and think what they are talking about.

I will read the next books in the series - I liked that one enough for that. And the setting is fascinating. ( )
1 vote AnnieMod | May 5, 2016 |
Set in contemporary Melbourne and country Victoria I found this to be an enjoyable book as locations and events were easily identifiable. The character voices were brilliant - I'm sure I have met some of them during my life. The only downside for me, showing my age(!), was the language. While not excessive and in context, I felt some of the vernacular could have been omitted. ( )
  DCarlin | Jan 23, 2016 |
Not as good as some of his earlier books
  morsch | Jan 22, 2016 |
This novel is set in Melbourne. The hero, Jack Irish, is rather connected to colourful racing identities and a lot of shady people, so we see a bit of the underbelly of Melbourne society in the course of the story.
Jack is contacted by a former client, for whom he acted as a lawyer. He ignores the request and the man ends up dead, leaving Jack feeling guilty and inclined to look into the whys and wherefores of his client's problem.
The dialogue is funny. The story very "noir" and atmospheric.
Enjoyable read. ( )
  quiBee | Jan 21, 2016 |
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Peter Templeprimary authorall editionscalculated
Zühlke, SigrunÜbersetzersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For Anita and Nicholas: true believers
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I found Edward Dollery, age 47, defrocked accountant, big spender and dishonest person, living in a house rented in the name of Carol Pick.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 038566303X, Paperback)

Introducing Australia’s most acclaimed crime-thriller writer to North American audiences with his first two books in his award-winning Jack Irish series.

A phone message from ex-client Danny McKillop doesn’t ring any bells for Jack Irish. Life is hard enough without having to dredge up old problems: His beloved football team continues to lose, the odds on his latest plunge at the track seem far too long, and he’s still cooking for one. When Danny turns up dead, Jack is forced to take a walk back into the dark and dangerous past.

With suspenseful prose and black humor, Peter Temple builds an unforgettable character in Jack Irish and brings the reader on a journey that is as intelligent as it is exciting.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:08:23 -0400)

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"A phone message from ex-client Danny McKillop doesn't ring any bells for Jack Irish. Life is hard enough without having to dredge up old problems: His beloved football team continues to lose, the odds on his latest plunge at the track seem far too long, and he's still cooking for one. When Danny turns up dead, Jack is forced to take a walk back into the dark and dangerous past."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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Average: (3.64)
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Penguin Australia

2 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 1877008729, 1921758813

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