Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Crime Factory: Hard Labour

Crime Factory: Hard Labour

Crime Factory Publications, 2012

Australia is far from the other continents, but its geographical location does not detract from the fact that in Australia they write good literature, too. Workers of the Crime Factory’d made the second anthology, this time – all-Australian. Short stories for an anthology are written by writers who live or lived in Australia. Among the authors there are veterans who published dozens of novels, and novice, who published less than a dozen stories.

Among the obvious advantages of the collection is correct placement of stories (thanks to the editors). «Hard Labour» starts with strong stories and also ends with them. All that is in the middle is of varying quality. The first two stories are authored by Garry Disher and Leigh Redhead, known outside their native continent. Disher presented brilliantly plotted «Wyatt's Art», the story about a professional burglar Wyatt. To enjoy the story, it is not necessary to know what happened in the previous novels about Wyatt. «Grassed» by Leigh Redhead is much more emotional and more "Australian". Drugs, free love, communes - it's all there on the green continent, adjusted for local color. «Killing Peacocks» by Angela Savage is a neo-noir story of domestic violence, with a grim finale.

After the kick-start there is a bulk of the stories, which are well-written, but devoid of anything that would make them stand out from the dozens of other similar crime stories.

Among the names, I had little or no knowledge, it is worth noting David Whish-Wilson with his «In Savage Freedom», a grim story of a father who is out of prison and wants to save his son from the criminal world, and Andrew Nette, with «Chasing Atlantis», a story that best reveals the specificity of Australian crime. Doomsday cult, rapists of minors, fields planted with marijuana, a conman, specializing in cult rip-offs - the story deserves the award as "the most Australian."

Rounding out the collection two works of masters, Adrian McKinty («The Dutch Book») and Peter Corris («Prodigal Son»). The action in «The Dutch Book» takes place in Boston, but the main character is Australian. The story is about that life in general is a dangerous game, and gamblers know about it more than anybody else. «Prodigal Son», the story of a private investigator, is interesting in how Corris makes his detective Cliff Hardy not a knight on mean streets, frozen in the 40's, but the modern detective, using modern technology. Although in terms of morality Hardy is old-fashioned chap.

After the heavy shift this anthology is what needs to relax and get to know about the dark side of Australia.

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