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April 17 , 2008

Too Close to Home


Roused from his bed in the middle of a cold July night, Senior Constable Fess Jordan stands in a nearby cobbled lane, one of those that make up the notorious network known as The Narrows. At his feet a well-dressed young woman lies dead. It is 1925 and the Melbourne newspapers are writing about a wave of crime crashing down on the city. Since the police strike, the gangs have become more vicious and their crimes more brazen. They are now much better organised and flush with cash from their rackets in sly grog, gambling, prostitution and drugs. Fess Jordan, heading the small Plain Clothes Section at the Carlton Station, is not going to make any real difference until he gets onto those who fund and run these rackets. What hope does he have of doing that? And here he is, standing vigil over a woman killed on his doorstep; a tragedy for the girl and her family, but with no connection to the gangs and their backers. Despite his twenty years in the Force, Fess finds he has more to learn, and not just about this murder: the allure of crime for some, the twisted motives of others, the reach of corruption and, closer to home, hidden family truths.

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