In 1947, two years after witnessing the death of a young Jewish woman in Poland, Charlie Berlin has rejoined the police force a different man. Sent to investigate a spate of robberies in rural Victoria, he soon discovers that World War II has changed even the most ordinary of places and people. When Berlin travels to Albury-Wodonga to track down the gang behind the robberies, he suspects he's a problem cop being set up to fail.
Taking a room at the Diggers Rest Hotel in Wodonga, he sets about solving a case that no one else can - with the help of feisty, ambitious journalist Rebecca Green and rookie constable Rob Roberts, the only cop in town he can trust. Then the decapitated body of a young girl turns up in a back alley, and Berlin's investigations lead him ever further through layers of small-town fears, secrets and despair.The first Charlie Berlin mystery takes us into a world of secret alliances and loyalties - and a society dealing with the effects of a war that changed men forever.
©2010 Geoffrey McGeachin (P)2010 Bolinda Publishing Pty Ltd
McGeachin's stories are new to me even though he's a local Victorian author. His writing superbly captures iconic Australian characters (and rural landscapes) of the post-war WWII era. In his first novel about DC Charlie Berlin, McGeachin paints a believable portrait about a veteran battling what we know as PTSD. The character is endearing in a tragic scary way, who somehow manages to effectively solve the crimes whilst battling his 'demons', alcoholism and prejudice. He is ably assisted by a sharp young country PC and an outrageous (for the time) female reporter (Rebecca) who becomes his love interest. There's lot's of good Aussie humour and action mixed with tragedy and despair of the period.
The only disappointment with the book was that it ended too soon and we are left wondering about what happens next and in particular whether Charlie and Rebecca could make something more permanent of their relationship. I'm looking forward to the sequel, which interestingly is 10 years on in Berlin's life.
This was an exceptional book. The characters and situations were realistic and it was fascinating portrayal of post-war Australia. The reader has a good voice but at first he sounded like he was doing a voice-over for a documentary. He improved as the book went along though and I think he'll do an even better job in the future. I am looking forward to listening to the next book in the series and hope there'll be many more.
I've read the book and was looking forward to listening to it, having read & listened to McGeachin's previous novels - previously all read by Peter Hosking. Sadly a change of narrator for this novel hasn't worked well, with the narration wooden and difficult to listen to.
"Won the Austrailian Crime Writers Award for 2011"
Geoffrey McGeachin won the Ned Kelly award for this story.
I found the story of a pilot from WW11 returning to the Victorian Police Force interesting.
The story line is different, could it be original?
Just how Charlie Berlin trod the line as a policeman from Melbourne investigating a series of crimes, and, could engage the respect and interest of some of the townspeople and still get his job done was very well portrayed.
This is not a fast and furious romp like McGeachin's earlier stories. The humour is there though, coming as far more natural, where most people know most things about most people in the town. The book. while not a comedy does explore Berlin re entering life. He gets the job done too.
I expect this story to linger in my mind for a long time and well worth a second listen.
Back to the old days
Narrator does a good job with the story and it potrays life in country Victoria and the laid back Australian way
A few twists and turns along the way to the plot and the story itself makes for a great listen
Charlie - down to earth, common sense and willing to take people as he sees them
Yes - but with over 8 hours a good listen when commuting
"Australian Who Done It - set in 1947"
Two years after witnessing the death of a young Jewish woman in Poland, Charlie Berlin rejoined the police force a different man. PTSD has him swimming in whiskey and he's n the ropes with his boss. Sent to investigate a spate of robberies in rural Victoria, he soon discovers that World War II has changed even the most ordinary of places and people.
I enjoyed the relationship between Charlie and Rebecca. And Geoff's humor.
A strong Oz accent - LOL! Peter's voice and accent breath life into the tale from down under/
An engrossing and entertaining Aussie thilller and detective story whitch was strangely satisfying. Sort of an adult Biggles book.
"Definitely worth your listening time"
Excellent! This novel is set in a rural area of Australia just after WWII. Charlie Berlin was the bomber pilot who is shot down and sent to a concentration camp in Poland. Eventually he returns to his job as a detective. He has terrible nightmares and daymares, but he perseveres in his investigation first of bank robberies and then of a murder. The cast of characters is great, the sense of place is great and the plot interesting. The narrator has a distinctive voice for each major character and does an excellent job. Well worth your reading/listening time.
"Like a made-for- TV movie."
Plot was weak; characters flat; themes are tired, worn out, and could have been written with more skill.
"Historical and interesting"
I find it's hard for the historical novels to keep my full attention because I'm waiting for the story; however, this book had a great balance between history and story.
I would recommend.
"Exciting slice of period Australian life"
This book caught me by surprise as I knew nothing about it or the author. The story kicks off quickly and the mystery isn't one of the convoluted ones that populate the majority of today's books. the characters are endearing and the time and places well described.
The narration us clear and concise and the reader does a good job with the accents and pacing - a few of the books I've listened to recently have been read with such slowness that it's been jarring to listen to them at times, which isn't the case with this book.
Charlie Berlin is a burned out veteran of WW2 with PTSD and a drinking problem. He is also a great cop! Sent on a special mission to investigate a series of armed robberies in a neighboring district he finds himself in the middle of a strange situation and has few people to trust. Obviously he solves the crime and gets the girl - he is the main character after all. Along the way he has some great adventures and we learn a lot about his inner thoughts and gain insight into the trauma of war. Well done and well narrated. I would have left out the one sex scene though. It was not necessary to further the story and was not very believable anyway. Would have given 5 stars without it.
"Better than I expected!"
I'm not normally a fan of stories heavily focused on war - and the memories of WW 2 are essential to this story and the characters. But the story was intriguing and well-told and the narration was outstanding. I'll definitely read more in this series. Great characters and something a bit different from all the routine mysteries out there - well worth a listen!
"This dreasdful narrator ruined a good story!"
NOT AT ALL, bring back Peter Hoskings! It is painful to listen to - like he is reading a shopping list. Had to stop and read actual book, ruined it for us.
Character is great, facts about Melbourne back then.
Just find someone who has a better reading voice. Someone who cares. Peter Hoskings!
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