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Reviews

'Hhannahh' (On Line Book Club) writes:

Patrick O'Leary, Frank Foreshaw, Terence Carmichael, and Martin Gordon have everything in common except their names. In truth, three out of these four names are the aliases of one man, Patrick O'Leary. For every time Patrick changed his city of operation, he, out of necessity, changed his identity and, coincidentally, his spouse. Patrick is a money launderer, and he offers his discreet services to high-profile politicians. He is efficient at what he does and is very rich for that, but he lives a life of modest wealth. At sixty-one, after over thirty years in business, Patrick—Frank, Terence, and Martin—has broken all the laws possible but is still a free man. (It takes a crime to cover up a crime.) Either his deeds have gone unnoticed, or he has been forgotten, or 'justice' just can't figure which of these men committed these crimes. Corruption by Gerard Hogan is simply a complex story of how a young man climbed down the ladder of morality and up the ladder of wealth.

This story was Patrick's, so it was narrated by him, and he makes it clear from the onset that he is Australian and, as such, must tell his story using Australian English. For instance, the doctor's office is called the surgery, and a pickup is called a ute. Set across several cities in Australia, the events in this book happened between the 80s and the present time. On one hand, it was almost confusing for me to keep up with the names of the cities, but on another hand, it was fun to indirectly learn about the geography and operation of Australia. Small portions of the story spread into China and America. Patrick drove his story from the present to the past and back to the present.

Besides its ever-changing geographical setting, the most interesting feature of this book was its characterization, especially Patrick's. At the beginning of the story, Patrick was just an average lawyer trying to win the approval of his lover's father. But Bruce Hungerford, minister of police, had bigger plans for his daughter, Melissa. And so it happened: Melissa was married off to the most promising suitor, and Patrick experienced three increasingly disastrous marriages, all the while in love with Melissa. Despite his failed marriage proposal, Patrick goes under Bruce's employ, and there his journey of corruption began. Melissa and Patrick's lifelong relationship, which took different forms over the years, was another interesting aspect of this book.

It could be said that this book had just one plot, but there was never a dull moment in the story. The book also featured several broad and interesting themes, primarily crime, money, and love. Although Patrick had several romantic engagements, romance was not the focus of this book. However, there was sufficient romantic content to appease romantics like myself. By my judgment, this book was professionally edited, as I noticed less than ten errors in it. In the absence of any other shortcoming, this book has earned 4 out of 4 stars. It was a unique, engaging, and worthwhile read.

Reviewing certain books immediately after reading them can be almost impossible, for the fear of saying too much or not saying enough; Corruption was one of such books. It left me satisfied but in thought. I recommend this book to anyone who appreciates sociopolitical fiction. Notwithstanding that there was little cussing and sexual content in this book, I believe the book is better suited for an adult audience because of its weighty and sophisticated topics. Also, there were allusions to events of the '80s and '90s which a young audience may not appreciate.

Michael Hogan writes:

I read your book as soon as it arrived and enjoyed it very much. I have started to write a novel a couple of times, but not got past a first draft chapter. But I do know something about writing fiction. You made a good choice in making most of the account in the first person. That gives you the opportunity to create your own distinctive voice; colloquial, self deprecatory, and with the occasional wisecrack. It works well. However, the strength can often become a weakness, and you need to have sure touch not to overdo your quirky style. Most of the time you succeed, which is terrific for a first novel.

The plot line is quite original and avoids most of the stereotypical concentration on gory violence, invincible hero, explicit sex, and whodunnit puzzles that permeate most popular crime fiction these days. But, of course, all those things are what sell millions of books for people like Val McDermid, Karin Slaughter, Kathy Reichs, Lee Child, Peter May, Stig Larsen, or any of their kind. So I can’t give you any idea of how likely your book is to become a best seller. It largely depends on how energetic your publisher is. I suspect that your market will be in contemporary Australian fiction. What I can say there is that I have read a couple of recent first novels by Australian authors that have received rave reviews, but that I have regarded as very disappointing. Yours is much better than most Aussie books I have read.

The book is well produced, with very few glitches; I noticed only one typo on my way through, which in these days of automatic correction is remarkable. The publisher (or you) seems convinced that your market is international and especially American. Hence the American greenback on the cover, and your earnest endeavor to explain peculiar Aussie expressions to American readers. I found it grated a bit to be told that a ute was the same thing as an American pickup, and similar explanations. If that is your aimed market, then just call it a pickup and Australian readers will know what you mean. But my opinion is that American readers who are likely to buy British, Australian, or Indian fiction will make the necessary adjustments. Look how popular the Monty Python skits are in the States, and nothing could be more culturally British than that.

Otherwise, it is a great read. The central figure is multifaceted and intriguing, while the topic of money laundering is very topical in Australia with the various inquiries into Crown casinos.

Some other comments

Kim Huyng, ABC Radio National

Cynicism and bastardry abounds in this world where a quiet misanthropic bloke pursues his lifelong love while marrying others and making swags and swags of dirty money. This waggish tale is astonishing, not because it's unreal, but rather because you can't help but believe that this sort of thing happens all the time.

***

Sarah Mackenzie, literary agent

I thought this was a really fascinating premise with a very enjoyable sense of voice.

***

Peter James, author of 'Where have all the Birds Gone?'

A complex story of increasing corruption with crime always lurking just around the corner. I found this book hard to put down

***

Austin Macauley, Publisher

... a gritty and intense work that will undoubtedly captivate your target audience. The reader would find much to absorb them... allowing reflection and understanding to continue in earnest at some distance past the final page ... Your bold narrative works to deliver an enhanced appeal for the reader.

***

Suleiman Mangi 

Hmm paints a crystal clear picture of today's society. I'm looking forward to reading it to the end.

***

Chisom Oguejiofor

I guess this book's cover is a perfect depiction of its content. Patrick's character is also intriguing.

***

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