This engrossing story of the Sydney underworld is based in Kings Cross in the early nineties, home to prostitutes, gambling, drugs, and violence, run by a crime boss who is determined to hold onto his lucrative patch.
British Micky turns up on his boat in Sydney, looking for criminal opportunities to make money and he heads for The Cross. The book charts his highs and lows; he goes from having hundreds of thousands of dollars and blowing them on gambling, women, and alcohol, to living on the street.
He’s a complex character with an indeterminate past, all we know is he’s been around a bit, but we learn this isn’t his first encounter with crime.
It’s very much a crime noir novel, in terms of style, characters and dialogue, and with the protagonist playing the anti-hero for the most part, yet, he appears to have some scruples. The writing is terse, simple, and in the first person. We see the world through Micky’s eyes and his alone. And, we come to know the women he meets, or we know them as much as he does. With everyone, there is always a question about who they truly are. The story focuses on how people establish relationships when no one can really trust anyone.
Sellars keeps the mystery and intrigue going throughout the book, with an amazing epilogue.
He also uses the prologue in an interesting way, in that he starts with the ending of the story to introduce how he arrived at his current position in Sydney. I liked the originality with the way he has used traditional novel construction for his own ends. Somewhat like his main character uses everyone, and who is after all, the narrator. Rather than chapter numbers, Sellars uses clever and appropriate titles for each chapter too.
This book is a page-turner for anyone who likes noir thrillers/mysteries.