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T. W. Lawless
Author
Furey's War

Adult; Mystery/Thriller; (Market)

Jack Furey is a decent man caught up in an indecent time. Retired police sergeant Jack Furey is celebrating his 100th birthday, and he’s not happy about it. Unable to speak following a stroke and estranged from his son, all he wants is to reunite with his beloved, late wife. After a visit from an old friend, he finds himself reliving the past. Suddenly, it’s 1942 and the US troops are about to descend on the town of Wangamba, Australia, where Jack is expected to maintain law and order. When an Australian soldier on leave is murdered, he has to work out who was responsible and why. Along the way, Jack has to deal with corrupt officials, MPs with attitude, and Australian and American soldiers ready for some R and R. Everywhere he looks, people are misbehaving. It’s up to Jack to restore peace to his wartime North Queensland town.
Plot/Idea: 7 out of 10
Originality: 7 out of 10
Prose: 7 out of 10
Character/Execution: 7 out of 10
Overall: 7.00 out of 10

Assessment:

Plot: The story of police sergeant Jack Furey—grappling with past war memories and struggling to make sense of a new war, trying to maintain order in a small town overwhelmed with soldiers, and attempting to piece together separate unspeakable crimes—is deeply compelling. In some respects, however, the narrative might be strengthened had it not been haunted by the specter of the 100-year-old Jack Furey.

Prose/Style: The prose is smooth and well-written, and the story is mostly clear and concise—the language leaves no doubt as to the time period or the Australian Outback location. However, there is a clinical feel to the writing that often causes the story to lack emotion and depth, and it is only during Jack's brief moments of introspection that the reader feels less detached from events.

Originality: Swap Australia for the Old West, the invading American soldiers for outlaws, and Jack Furey for a grizzled sheriff "with a past" who has seen everything, and the story could easily transform into a cookie-cutter Western. Though entertaining enough, the story's originality largely stems from the time period, location, and the hint of murder mystery that surrounds it.

Character Development/Execution: Jack is the storyteller, and this is how we see the rest of the characters—through the lens of his impatience, prejudices, and experiences—resulting in a bare-bones rendering of everyone outside himself. It is in the rare moments of Jack's introspections that we catch a glimpse that there is more behind the man than loud law and order bluster and authority.

Date Submitted: April 01, 2021

Reviews
Australian Crime Fiction

'The novel ends with a return to the current day and Jack's 100th birthday party, which probably didn't go as expected for the dreaded nursing home, and you can't help thinking went exactly as Jack would have wanted. Overall a most unusual novel, a really quick read on one level, but a thought-provoking one on many more.'

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