Truth by Peter Temple

Truth by Peter Temple

Peter Temple is an Australian author whose ninth book has just been published in the UK. I have all of his books and have enjoyed most of them, particularly the four Jack Irish books about a Melbourne solicitor.

I had been looking forward to reading Truth, but now that I have, I am disappointed. This is not Temple at anywhere near his best.

The main character in ‘Truth’ is Stephen Villani, who is head of the Melbourne Homicide Squad. He is a most unsympathetic character, a bully who is hardly able to speak to his subordinates without verbally abusing them, or a member of the public without threatening them.  Do Melbourne policemen routinely threaten suspects with murder if they don't cooperate? Yet, Temple asks us to believe that his men love Villani.  In real life such a prize bastard would probably be ‘accidentally’ shot by his men during a raid.

Villani is not the only problem. I have read the book through and I have no idea who did what to who, and why. Who were the villains? Were they ever caught?  I do not know and I care even less. Usually I read a Temple book from cover to cover in one sitting. Truth was only too easy to put down. Temple can do much better than this.

I hope that this is the last book he writes with Villani as the protagonist. I would like to see a fifth book in the Jack Irish series, or a second book about Mac Faraday from ‘An Iron Rose’.

The good thing about ‘Truth’ is that it only cost me £7.78 from Amazon [Amazon cut the price between my placing the order and receiving the book], and I see that somebody else on Amazon is offering it for £4.48. That is about the amount you would pay for a remaindered hardback and perhaps indicates a lack of confidence on the part of the UK publishers.

If you are a Peter Temple fan I suggest you give ‘Truth’ a miss. If you have never read any of his books I can highly recommend any of the Jack Irish series. I have read and reread my copies.

Perhaps if I read 'Truth' a few more times I will be able to work out what was happening. Or, perhaps I will not bother.


Anonymous said...

i thought Truth was Peter Temple's most sophisticated book yet, and his most affecting. Villani isn't the clear-cut good-guy you get in conventional crime novels - Temple's far too clever for that. And there are no 'villains'- just like in real life, there are bloody awful people and somewhat awful people. You seem to like Temple's more straightforward books, but I think there's a lot to love in Truth if you're prepared to work for the rewards and like your reading complex and challenging.

Francis said...

My dear Eclectic, don't you think it's a little self-important of you to suggest that Temple's fans give this novel a miss? Some of the, I dare say, might enjoy it. You're not really that pompous, are you?