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Homecountry - T.W. Lawless Peter couldn't remember why he had been in a fight. Maybe he'd been an innocent non-combatant. It would also explain the blood on his shirt when he had woken up on the couch this morning, face down in a pizza. Despite having over a decade's experience if excessive drinking, he still hadn't cured the after-effects, which was why he always planned his hangovers for the weekends. During the week he stuck religiously to his nightly limit of twelve cans of VB.

Homecountry is a fast paced, fairly captivating mystery-crime novel, with colorful language and short chapters that are easy to grasp. Overall, it was a satisfying read, because I didn't get bored (sometimes, keeping the book short is the best way to do it), I found some bits of good humor, I got a glimpse of Australia and I experienced some really gritting moments.
Yet, the ending felt rushed, there was no direct confrontation between the hero and the bad guy (the latter had too easy an ending) and there was a bit too much violence for my taste. The hero also starts to weep several times towards the end, which was odd, seeing that he didn't seem to give a damn until then (what a sook!).

Peter Clancy's character is not easy to like: he is a hard drinking journalist, writes scandal articles for a tabloid, treats his girlfriend like a disposable object. After his mother dies (he hasn't seen her for 10 years), he goes back to Clarkes Flat, which he was so eager to leave behind. He finds a town still hostile towards Aboriginals, where Max, the chief policeman, maintains order by applying the bush law and using Peter's cousin as a spy. Most human beings are like cattle. They have to be led. They have to be directed.
Peter is regarded as an outsider, despite the fact that his family helped develop this part of Australia. Soon, things from his past come to haunt him - his father's death, the rocky relationship with his mother, the girlfriend that was raped because of his cowardice, the lousy friends that got him into trouble. Moreover, he finds out that two distant deaths, that were labeled as suicides at the time, could be in fact murders. Peter has to decide whether to flee back to his chaotic life in Melbourne or stay in Clarkes Flat to investigate and fight for the truth.

I've learned some new words in the process, like VB (Victoria Bitter, one of the highest selling beers in Australia), Vegemite (I want to taste that, I'm so curious! Or Marmite...), derro (hobo, bum), ghost gum (evergreen tree species), porkpie hat (huh? it seems to resemble a pork pie dish and it was made famous by Buster Keaton), sook (cry baby), wowser (killjoy, prude, puritan).
All in all, it was an enjoyable experience and I hope that T.W. Lawless will come out with better and better novels over time.

*I've won this novel in the First Reads giveaway, yay!*