Tuesday, January 29, 2013

New Mate Bernie Dowling Brings Aussie Music, Racing With...Murder!

"I drank too much coffee and studied lots of form,
for about two hours. Most punters have given up
studying the form closely, with so many race
meetings to choose from. Big mistake. A punter
should study the form of every horse in every race
they are likely to bet on. If I followed my own
golden rule, I might have been rich. Knowing
what's good for you is a lot easier than doing
what's good for you...
"I knocked on the glass-and-aluminum door of
Unit 4, but got no answer for my trouble. I half-
turned to go back to the car, but found the door
handle slid across easily in my hand. And so I
found myself standing in the office of Caulfield
Jones, turfologist...
"It was a little untidy. A glass was upturned near
a wet spot in the carpet. A cigarette had burned
a hole in the same carpet. White ash encircled
the cigarette stuf. And a man who I took to be
Caulfield Jones was stretched out on the floor.
"Except that I knew him as Marcus Georgio..."

Iraqi Icicle

By Bernie Dowling

Probably most of you, including myself, have wondered about the title of this novel... I'm a literalist, so to start writing my review, I immediately started searching for this rose... I searched until I found the interview where Bernie Dowling says it doesn't exist--that it is a metaphor and we were to figure out what it represented...Say What...?

Now, what's a person like me to do...yeah, I decided to think the author was a bit of a romantic, in some strange way, and forget about it! LOL After all, the novel is full of quips, sarcasm and Aussie slang that I also didn't truly understand sometime...at least until I got into the swing of the book and Steele Hill's personality...

he's weird...and check out the author pic...no wonder his character is...weird...LOL!

Well, for me, somebody who is a part-time bookie, who works diligently to receive unemployment because he's been banned from all race courses in the country, and is intelligent enough to figure out just how to do that, is indeed weird...LOL OK, maybe not for some of you potential readers, but for the rest of us "working stiffs...." I also know nothing about horse racing...nor the music of the period in which Steele Hill lived (so I found a lead group to play and learn while like I did--I enjoyed them, why about you?!)

But none of that stopped me from having fun with the book, enjoying meeting this character and watching his reaction to...

The bodies that kept piling up for him to discover...

"Brisbane, summer, 1989
"When Bub's fellow first-year acting student
Suzanne Lu dropped dead in a La Boite production
of Waiting for Godot, I thought it was in the script.
Even when Jane screamed, it seemed to fit. More
astute theatrical punters near me in the first rows
picked up on the discordant vibes and a Mexican
scream started, washing out behind us...
"Only a tiny grimace at the corner of her mouth
gave any hint that Suzanne Lu was disappointed
at her passing. Overall, her unlined face looked
Steele's "cucumber" Natalie and her sister live in his apartment house where Natalie doesn't know he's enjoyed both sisters a time or two...

But then, Natalie gets him involved with her sister's acting career and school activities, so maybe that's fair? In Australia? In any event, that first murder was discovered while he had attended a play her sister was in...

Now, there's a couple issues about this book--it's divided into "books" and most of the characters, except for the victims of course, appear throughout each book which seems in someways like short stories.

And then there's the fact that the various books don't seem to be in order... but, if you are working to solve the mystery killings, you simply must pay attention on just about every page...well, maybe not every page, but clues that Steele doesn't "use" to figure out what is going on until much later may have been simply a part of the narrative... So that's your only warning because the author is not giving you any!

Two cops make many appearances--all to blame Steele for the latest murder. Sure, he happens to be in the vicinity, such as when he attended a school play, but you got to figure that these cops are a bit screwy???

And while all these murders are taking place, Steele gets involved in fixing a race! Actually, he's only the money guy but did make the contact to find an unidentifiable "go-fast" for the horse. And a horse is not the only one into drugs... Of course that contact later turns up dead... Honestly, you just have to go with it, because when you read a paragraph like"
A bag of fruit is walking down the street with his nose inside a plastic folder. He glances over its top edge, then pretends to be lost, backtracking down the concrete path and into a side street. That is what you call going out of your way for the unfortunate.
you just have to keep on reading, and hoping, that you'll be able to figure out how a "bag of fruit" walks...

Seriously, at one time I had dreams of going to Australia. Thinking they spoke English... But the bloke who wrote this novel kept me turning each page until the latest gig Steele was asked to get involved with made him run in the opposite direction. I think Steele is the only one who really knows who committed all of the murders 'cause I lost track! ! I told you Steele was weird, and so's the author...

I like weird...


From the Author

If you enjoy the works of Chandler and Hammett, my neo-noir novel could be your swig of whiskey.
As an Australian journalist, I have worked in  reporting rounds such as arts and entertainment, crime, politics, human interest and sports. I  published a weekly humor column for 11 years and travelled extensively across my home State. I have drawn on all these diverse strands of his working and social life to produce Iraqi Icicle, a highly original detective thriller which is my first novel after publishing non-fiction and short stories. I present you Iraqi Icicle.

About the Author

Bernie Dowling is an Australian journalist who lives  in the  Pine Rivers district, just north of the Queensland State Capital of Brisbane.
Dowling grew up and lived in Brisbane most of his life though he has lived in or frequently visited provincial and coastal towns across south-east Queensland.
He has worked in many reporting rounds, including arts and entertainment, crime, politics, human interest and sports. He  published a weekly humor column for 11 years.
Dowling has drawn on all these diverse strands of his working and social life to produce Iraqi Icicle, a highly original detective thriller which is his first novel.
The author lives with his wife and son in Lawnton, a Pine Rivers suburb.