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Description - Dead Man Switch by Tara Moss

'A terrific read' Lynda La Plante

Bestselling author Tara Moss returns to crime fiction with a stunning new series, and a stunning new heroine. Meet PI Billie Walker - smart and sexy, with a dash of Mae West humour, she's a hard-boiled detective with a twist.

'A cracking thriller, with a marvellous, strong, flamboyant heroine. Loved it.' Joanne Harris, award-winning author of Chocolat

She's a woman in a man's world ...

Sydney, 1946. Billie Walker is living life on her own terms. World War II has left her bereaved, her photojournalist husband missing and presumed dead. Determined not to rely on any man for her future, she re-opens her late father's detective agency.

Billie's bread and butter is tailing cheating spouses - it's easy, pays the bills and she has a knack for it. But her latest case, the disappearance of a young man, is not proving straightforward ...

Soon Billie is up to her stylish collar in bad men, and not just the unfaithful kind - these are the murdering kind. Smugglers. Players. Gangsters. Billie and her loyal assistant must pit their wits against Sydney's ruthless underworld and find the young man before it's too late.

'Rich period detail and a fierce, feminist heroine distinguish this stylish twist on the classic 1940s detective novel. Fans of Phryne Fisher will eagerly anticipate Billie's next adventure.' Publishers Weekly

'Billie [Walker's] addition to the world of literary private detectives is welcome and deserved. She carries a bit of the hard-boiled tradition on her shoulders-the vulnerability, the brashness-while providing a completely feminine perspective on both the crimes and the approach to crime-solving. Neatly incorporates history, social commentary, and a satisfying mystery in one appealing package. More, please!' Kirkus

'Immersive, well-paced, entertaining, thoughtful - so enjoyable!' Angela Meyer, award-winning author of A Superior Spectre

Praise for Tara Moss:

'Enough page-turning suspense to keep you up reading far later than you intended!' Peter James

'Truly thrilling' Woman's Day

'Moss's ultra-cool prose and whip-smart plotting pull you along at cracking pace until suddenly you look up and realise with a gulp how deep you've gone and how very dark it is down there.' Emily Maguire, author of An Isolated Incident

Buy Dead Man Switch by Tara Moss from Australia's Online Independent Bookstore, Boomerang Books.

Book Details

ISBN: 9780732290658
Format: Paperback / softback
(234mm x 154mm x 28mm)
Imprint: HarperCollins Publishers (Australia) Pty Ltd
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers (Australia) Pty Ltd
Publish Date: 21-Oct-2019
Country of Publication: Australia

Book Reviews - Dead Man Switch by Tara Moss

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Book Review: Dead Man Switch by Tara Moss - Reviewed by (17 Sep 2019)

5 stars “’He looks a lot more like a body rolled in a rug than I was hoping.’ Ella observed quietly as she and Alma inspected their handiwork. ‘Let's hope we don't run into any neighbours or the next tenant meeting will be hell.’”

Dead Man Switch is the first book in the Billie Walker Mystery series by award-winning Australian/Canadian author, Tara Moss. It’s 1946 in Sydney, and the climate favours returned servicemen in jobs while the women who filled those roles during the war are relegated to domestic duties. Formerly a war journalist, Billie Walker’s current profession is already seen as a masculine one, so she’s going emphatically against the grain by running her deceased father’s private inquiry business.

But there’s a call for female investigative agents: obtaining evidence to allow wives to divorce errant husbands makes up the majority of her work, but Mrs Netanya Brown has come about her missing seventeen-year-old son, Adin. “A good boy”, she insists. Billie intuitively knows there’s something not being said, but a near empty work agenda means she can hardly be choosy. She takes the case.

Meanwhile, her confidential informant asks her to look into the welfare of four young women from her mob who have been assigned to work for a man in the lower Blue Mountains. And just why is Vincenzo Moretti, a PI with a grudge against the late Barry Walker, watching her flat?

Moss gives the reader a fast-paced plot filled with intrigue, some nasty villains and a heart-thumping climax. With mentions of fashion, petrol rationing, disfigured veterans, social attitudes and the scarcity of certain commodities, Moss easily evokes the era and ambience of immediate post-war Sydney.

Billie is feisty and determined, and manages to hold her own, although she does end up ruining several frocks and quite a lot of (difficult to come by) stockings. Luckily, she’s a dab hand with a sewing machine as well as a lockpick and her little Colt 908.

Moss gives Billie a marvellous support cast, with a hint of sexual tension between Billie and two of the male characters and occasional moments of dark humour. Some background matters remain unresolved, no doubt to be addressed in later books. Certainly, more of this excellent post-war Aussie noir series will be most welcome. This unbiased review is from an uncorrected proof copy provided by Better Reading Preview and Harper Collins Australia.

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