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The Pit

"Five decades of Australian social history are unveiled in this brilliantly characterful outback noir novel of trust, truths and brotherhood bonds formed through a murderer’s confessional road trip."

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LoveReading Says

LoveReading Says

Billed as outback noir, Peter Papathanasiou’s DS Manolis novels are nothing but characterful, suspenseful and hotly atmospheric as they simmer with a richness of human experience. That’s certainly the case with The Pit, which sees Senior Constable Sparrow step into the breach as a result of DS Manolis being on holiday in Greece. 

The set-up is ingenious, paving the way for an enthralling, unlikely road-trip that unfolds with razor-sharp social commentary on racism, brutal mining communities, and the AIDS crisis, and unexpected bonds of brotherhood. What a beaut.

With Manolis away, Sparrow finds himself on the receiving end of a murder confession call from 65-year-old Bob, who’s dying in a nursing home. Bob persuades Sparrow to join him on a road trip to unearth the body, promising that “it’ll be the journey of a lifetime. One you’ll never forget.” The two men are joined by Luke, a bigoted, homophobic youngster who’s in the same nursing home as a result of being confined to a wheelchair after a road accident. 

Along the way, with Luke left in the dark about the reason they’re taking this trip, they see stacks of anti-immigrant stickers and flags declaring, “F*ck off We’re full”, and encounter Mouse, who describes herself as a “modern-day siren”, a highwaywoman on a “personal crusade after what those two drunk bastards did to me last summer.” For a time, the three men team up with her, leaving Sparrow “shocked by how quickly he’d abandoned his policeman’s sensibilities.” 

The trio eventually reach where the body is buried, with Sparrow and Bob realising they have more in common than either might have thought, and Bob vowing to help Luke make a real life for himself. A sense of brotherhood is alive, kicking and movingly depicted.

A bloody brilliant page-turner, with a radiant ending that’ll leave your soul basking in a bittersweet glow, The Pit paints a vivid picture of Australia across five decades with the deft touch and profound power of a master artist.

Joanne Owen

Star Books

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