OUTBACK NOIR: AFTER THE FLOOD by Dave Warner
In the increasingly crowded field of outback noir, few do it as well as Dave Warner.
After The Flood (Fremantle, 2 August 2022) is the third in his series about Broome detective Dan Clement and follows on from Before It Breaks, which won a Ned Kelly Award, and the exquisitely plotted Clear To The Horizon (see below).
After The Flood takes us back to the outback town of Broome and dogged Clement, who finds his days mainly filled with relatively minor crimes, including the theft of explosives from a Halls Creek mine site and social justice protests at an abattoir. That all changes when a man is found crucified near a remote cattle station. The identity of the dead man is initially a bit of a mystery, but gradually Clement and his team come to realise that something very sinister links the killing to other crimes in the area.
Warner is very good at realistically capturing the mechanics of remote police work in an interesting manner and there is plenty of convincing, gritty police detail here, as well as evocative descriptions of Broome and the surrounds, including a nearby island. The plotting is very good, and Warner keeps you guessing as to where the story is going. I particularly liked how each discovery by the police moves the plot in a new direction.
The opening sections generate plenty of interest and the tension steadily increases as the book builds to taut and bloody climax. Much of the pleasure of After The Flood comes from the strong cast of characters that add real texture and credibility to the story. They capture the diversity of views in a small town and help create a vivid sense of place. They are also characters that you come invested in and worry about what happens to them.
As with the earlier books, Warner takes time to reflect on topical events and themes around corporate greed, but without slowing the story. There are nice touches of poignancy and Clement’s reflection on his life and family add good substance to the story.
Dave Warner can always be relied upon to produce a stellar piece of crime fiction and After The Flood is no exception. Four to four and a half stars out of five!
It also has another fantastic cover from Fremantle Press, which has done a great job with the covers on Warner’s books.
After The Flood is released in Australia on 2 August 2022. It is released on Kindle in the United Kingdom on 2 August 2022 and in paperback in November 2022.
In preparation for reading After The Flood, I went back and re-read Dave’s Clear To The Horizon (Fremantle, 2022).
Clear To The Horizon is an exquisitely plotted novel. It starts in Perth in 1999 with former cop and now current private investigator Snowy Lane unsuccessfully on the trail of a serial kidnapper and killer of young women. Seventeen years on and Snowy is hired by a wealthy mining magnate to find his daughter who has gone missing in the state’s north-west. It is a case that brings him into contact with Dan Clement and the two of them find themselves looking into a cold case.
Clear To The Horizon is a terrific novel. In addition to the clever plotting, strong characters and clear sense of place, Snowy’s reflections on ageing and the direction that his life has taken adds real depth to the book. It moves at a good pace and Warner really captures the mood of the different periods that the book is set in. It is probably my favourite of Warner’s novels to date, although it gets strong competition from River Of Salt. If you have not read it, you should!