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Black Tide (Jack Irish Series #2)

Black Tide (Jack Irish Series #2)

2.7 4
by Peter Temple

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When Des Connors calls to ask for help in the matter of a missing son, Jack is happy to lend a hand to his father's old friend. But sometimes prodigal sons go missing for a reason.

Book two in the thrilling Jack Irish series, adapted for the screen starring Guy Pearce.


When Des Connors calls to ask for help in the matter of a missing son, Jack is happy to lend a hand to his father's old friend. But sometimes prodigal sons go missing for a reason.

Book two in the thrilling Jack Irish series, adapted for the screen starring Guy Pearce.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

'The Irish films make a good introduction to the work of Peter Temple, who's just a terrific writer — sharp, funny and ambitious.' NPR - Fresh Air

"Temple's characters are complex, his plots complicated, his world smudged if not outright dirty - that is, his books are entirely credible." -HeadButler.com

"Peter Temple? Only one of the world's better novelists. But unknown to most American readers largely because he lives in Australia." -HeadButler.com

Library Journal
Gold Dagger Award winner Temple follows up Bad Debts with this second entry in his Jack Irish series (both titles were published in the United States by MacAdam/Cage in 2005 and are newly available from Bolinda Audio). Here, Jack finds himself running for his life after agreeing to help an old friend of his father's locate his missing son. Narrator Marco Chiappi (An Iron Rose) delivers the Australian accents and double entendres brilliantly. Particularly enjoyable are his spirited reading of Temple's action-packed descriptions and his voicing of Jack's internal reasoning as he works out the convoluted mystery. Those liking a roller coaster of a story that is also well written and skillfully presented will enjoy this series, whose protagonist evokes Raymond Chandler's Philip Marlowe.—Susan G. Baird, formerly with Oak Lawn P.L., IL

Product Details

Text Publishing Company
Publication date:
Jack Irish Series , #2
Edition description:
Second Edition
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.00(w) x 7.70(h) x 1.00(d)

Read an Excerpt

In the late autumn, down windy streets raining yellow oak and elm leaves, I went to George Armit’s funeral. It was a small affair. Almost everyone George had known was dead. Many of them were dead because George had had them killed.

My occasional employer and I sat in my old Studebaker Lark a little way down from the church. When the first mourners came out, mostly men in raven suits, Cyril Wootton said, ‘Most relieved lot I’ve seen since the plane out of Vietnam. Still, they won’t sleep easy till the ground subsides. May I be told why we’re here?’

‘Your bloke’s mate’s in deep to the Armits,’ I said.

‘How’d you find that out?’

‘Anyone could find that out. Wade through sewage for a week, that’s all it takes. George liked him. He’d be dead otherwise.’

Two big men, sallow, black hair, moustaches, came out, followed by two women.

‘The sons, Con and Little George Armit,’ I said. ‘Con’s wife’s the thin one.’

‘Well,’ said Wootton. ‘The other one appears to have shoplifted watermelons and put them down the front of her dress.’

Con and Little George and the wives lined up, backs to us, each with wife to the right. Con put his right hand on his thin wife’s shoulder. His left hand moved around slowly and squeezed his brother’s wife’s high right buttock.

‘Racked with grief,’ I said.

‘Reflex action,’ Wootton said. ‘Armits have been in the fruit business for many years.’

‘Here’s George.’

The box had a hard black sheen, a perfect match for the Mercedes hearse. It was carried by six young men, tanned, even height, thick necks, could have been a surfboat crew.

‘Relying on professionals to the end, I see,’ Wootton said.

When George was in place, the mourners made for their cars.

‘Well, that wasn’t exactly paydirt, old sausage,’ Wootton said. ‘You’ve brought me out here in this appalling con­vey­ance, this hot rod, for sweet bugger all.’

‘Somewhere Tony’s going to pay his respects. In so deep, he’s got no choice,’ I said. ‘Strong on respect, the Armits. If he’s not here, the bastard’s last chance is to arselick the boys at the cemetery.’

‘I’m paying you for your time,’ Wootton said. ‘Who’s paying me for mine?’

‘Believe me, if I could do this without your presence, I would.’

The priest came around the corner in a white turbo Saab, its Michelins giving a plump little squeal of pleasure. He looked at us as he passed, a nightclub-owner’s pale face, cigarette tilted upward in the mouth, mobile phone at his ear.

I started the Stud and did a U-turn. A block down the street, I looked right and saw the car. A Hertz car. I turned first left, left again and parked behind the church.

‘I’m going in to say a little prayer,’ I said, opening the door. ‘Keep an eye on the back gate.’

‘Spoken like an officer,’ Wootton said.

‘Still rankles, doesn’t it, corporal.’


I’d known Wootton since Vietnam. He’d been in stores, stealing more goods than he dispensed.

The church door was open. Inside, the blood of the martyrs fell from the stained-glass windows and lay in pink patches. The air smelled of incense, stale vase water and brass polish.

I didn’t see him at first. There was a row of pillars across the church and he was sitting in front of the one nearest the wall to my right: man in his early forties, crew-cut blond hair, little folds of tanned fat over his collar.

I walked across and stopped behind him. ‘Hello Tony.’

Tony Ulasewicz didn’t look at me, didn’t say anything.

‘Brendan sends his regards,’ I said.


‘Remember Brendan? Brendan O’Grady. From Reser­voir? From school? Your best man? Your friend? That Brendan.’

Tony sniffed loudly. ‘Whadda you want?’ He shot his left cuff and looked at his watch, a big black diver’s watch.

‘Me? I don’t want anything. Brendan, he wants you to tell a lawyer where he was on the night of February 11 at 11.26 p.m.’

Tony looked at me, shrugged. He had a small scar above his left eyebrow, like a worm under the skin. ‘Dunno what you’re saying.’

‘The two hookers, Tony,’ I said. ‘Sylvia and Carlette? Out there in that fancy hotel in Marysville. You and Brendan and Jim Beam and the hookers. Chatting, reading maga­zines. Just when some person unknown was shooting Frank Zakia in his driveway in Camberwell. With a .22 pistol. Many times.’

‘Know nothing about that,’ said Tony, getting up. ‘Gotta go.’

I put a hand on his shoulder, a meaty shoulder. He ­resisted, I leant, he sat.

‘Tony,’ I said, ‘Brendan’s going down big time. Frank’s wife ID’d him, not a doubt in her mind. She knows him. He was in the house three days before, arguing with Frank. Now Brendan says he couldn’t have been the one topped Frank because at that moment he was off with you, screwing hookers in Marysville. But you’re gone, the hookers are gone, hotel doesn’t know if it was you and Brendan or the Pope and Elvis in the room. Plus the cops find the .22 in Brendan’s office. Plus Brendan’s got more form than Phar Lap.’

Tony’s chin slowly moved down to meet his collarbone.

‘Brendan’s going, Tony,’ I said. ‘And blokes in there are waiting for him. Death penalty, that would be easier. Nicer even.’

Tony’s shoulders went weak. He tilted at the waist until his forehead rested on the pew in front.

‘Can’t,’ he said, voice spitty. ‘Fucking can’t.’

‘Why? He’s your mate.’

‘People want him. He’s owed big, three hundred grand, more, three-fifty, I don’t know. He put the weight on them, they want him gone.’

‘Frank’s wife? The ID?’

‘Bullshit. Bitch wanted Frank done. In it over her tits.’

‘How’s that?’

‘Fucking. True fucking love fucking. She’s rooting a bloke, his brother owes Bren. This way, they top Frank, she gets Frank’s money. Then there’s about eighty grand belongs to Bren. Frank was hanging on to it. Bitch gets that too. And Bren goes in, close that gate, he’s history, everyone’s happy.’
‘And you?’

Tony looked up at me, sniffed again. ‘I live,’ he said. ‘I fucking live.’

Meet the Author

Peter Temple has worked extensively as a journalist and editor for newspapers and magazines in several countries. He has won five Ned Kelly Awards for his novels, and won the world’s most prestigious crime writing prize, the Duncan Lawrie Dagger. In 2010 he was awarded Australia’s greatest writing prize, the Miles Franklin Literary Award. His books are published in more than twenty countries.

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Black Tide 2.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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bambi748 More than 1 year ago
This is a great mystery, once you get into it you won't want to put it down. Its about this family and husband goes off to work and is catching the subway train, someone has bombed the train and wife is horrified. A year later she sees the anniversary of the bombing on tv and sees her husband was not killed in the bombing,like she was lead to believe. This book is 416 pages on my nook. Dont want to spoil it but its a great book you gotta read if you like mysterys.