The Broken Shore

The Broken Shore

by Peter Temple
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The Broken Shore by Peter Temple

Winner of the Ned Kelly Award for Crime Fiction (Australia)

Joe Cashin was different once. He moved easily then. He was surer and less thoughtful. But there are consequences when you’ve come so close to dying. For Cashin, they included a posting away from the world of Homicide to the quiet place on the coast where he grew up. Now all he has to do is play the country cop and walk the dogs. And sometimes think about how he was before.

Then prominent local Charles Bourgoyne is beaten and left for dead. Everything seems to point to three boys from the nearby Aboriginal community; everyone seems to want it to. But Cashin is unconvinced. And as tragedy unfolds relentlessly into tragedy, he finds himself holding onto something that might be better let go.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780312427863
Publisher: Picador
Publication date: 05/27/2008
Edition description: First Edition
Pages: 368
Sales rank: 509,533
Product dimensions: 5.60(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Five-time winner of the Ned Kelly Award for Crime Fiction, Peter Temple is Australia’s most acclaimed crime and thriller writer. He is the author of four Jack Irish novels: Bad Debts, Black Tide, Dead Point and White Dog. He has also written three other standalone novels: An Iron Rose, Shooting Star and In the Evil Day. He lives in Victoria, Australia.

Read an Excerpt

The Broken Shore

A Novel
By Temple, Peter

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Copyright © 2007 Temple, Peter
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780374116934

Excerpt Cashin walked around the hill, into the wind from the sea. It was cold, late autumn, last glowing leaves clinging to the liquid-ambars and maples his great-grandfather’s brother had planted, their surrender close. He loved this time, the morning stillness, loved it more than spring. The dogs were tiring now but still hunting the ground, noses down, taking more time to sniff, less hopeful. Then one picked up a scent and, new life in their legs, they loped in file for the trees, vanished. When he was near the house, the dogs, black as liquorice, came out of the trees, stopped, heads up, looked around as if seeing the land for the first time. Explorers. They turned their gaze on him for a while, started down the slope. He walked the last stretch as briskly as he could, and, as he put his hand out to the gate, they reached him. Their curly black heads tried to nudge him aside, insisting on entering first, strong back legs pushing. He unlatched the gate, they pushed it open enough to slip in, nose to tail, trotted down the path to the shed door. Both wanted to be first again, stood with tails up, furry scimitars, noses touching at the door jamb. Inside, the big poodles led him to the kitchen. They had water bowls there and they stuck their noses into them and drank in a noisy way. Cashin prepared their meal: two slices each from the cannon-barrel dog sausagemade by the butcher in Kenmare, three handfuls each of dry dog food. He got the dogs’ attention, took the bowls outside, placed them a metre apart. The dogs came out. He told them to sit. Stomachs full of water, they did so slowly and with disdain, appeared to be arthritic. Given permission to eat, they looked at the food without interest, looked at each other, at him. Why have we been brought here to see this inedible stuff? Cashin went inside. In his hip pocket, the mobile rang. “Yes.” “Joe?” Kendall Rogers, from the station. “Had a call from a lady,” she said. “Near Beckett. A Mrs. Haig. She reckons there’s someone in her shed.” “Doing what?” “Well, nothing. Her dog’s barking. I’ll sort it out.” Cashin felt his stubble. “What’s the address?” “I’m going.” “No point. Not far out of my way. Address?” He went to the kitchen table and wrote on the pad: date, time, incident, address. “Tell her fifteen, twenty. Give her my number if anything happens before I get there.” The dogs liked his urgency, rushed around, made for the vehicle when he left the building. On the way, they stood on station, noses out the back windows. Cashin parked a hundred metres down the lane from the farmhouse gate. A head came around the hedge as he approached. “Cop?” she said. She had dirty grey hair around a face cut from a hard wood with a blunt tool. Cashin nodded. “The uniform and that?” “Plainclothes,” he said. He produced the Victoria Police badge with the emblem that looked like a fox. She took off her smudged glasses to study it. “Them police dogs?” she said. He looked back. Two woolly black heads in the same window. “They work with the police,” he said. “Where’s this person?” “Come,” she said. “Dog’s inside, mad as a pork chop, the little bugger.” “Jack Russell,” said Cashin. “How’d ya know that?” “Just a guess.” They went around the house. He felt the fear rising in him like nausea. “In there,” she said. The shed was a long way from the house, you had to cross an expanse of overgrown garden, go through an opening in a fence lost beneath rampant potato-creeper. They walked to the gate. Beyond was knee-high grass, pieces of rusted metal sticking out. “What’s inside?” Cashin said, looking at a rusted shed of corrugated iron a few metres from the road, a door half open. He felt sweat around his collarbones. He wished he’d let Kendall do this. Mrs. Haig touched her chin, black spikes like a worn-down hair brush. “Stuff,” she said. “Junk. The old truck. Haven’t bin in there for years. Don’t go in there.” “Let the dog out,” he said. Her head jerked, alarmed. “Bastard might hurt im,” she said. “No,” he said. “What’s the dog’s name?” “Monty, call them all Monty, after Lord Monty of Alamein. Too young, you wouldn’t know.” “That’s right,” he said. “Let Monty out.”  “And them police dogs? What bloody use are they?” “Kept for life-and-death matters,” Cashin said, controlling his voice. “I’ll be at the door, then you let Lord Monty out.” His mouth was dry, his scalp itched, these things would not have happened before Rai Sarris. He crossed the grassland, went to the left of the door. You learned early to keep your distance from potentially dangerous people, and that included not going into dark sheds to meet them. Mrs. Haig was at the potato-creeper hedge. He gave her the thumbs-up, his heart thumping. The small dog came bounding through the grass, all tight muscles and yap, went for the shed, braked, stuck its head in the door and snarled, small body rigid with excitement. Cashin thumped on the corrugated iron wall with his left hand. “Police,” he said loudly, glad to be doing something. “Get out of there. Now!” Not a long wait. The dog backed off, shrieking, hysterical, mostly airborne. A man appeared in the doorway, hesitated, came out carrying a canvas swag. He ignored the dog. “On my way,” he said. “Just had a sleep.” He was in his fifties perhaps, short grey hair, big shoulders, a day’s beard. “Call the dog, Mrs. Haig,” Cashin said over his shoulder. The woman shouted and the dog withdrew, reluctant but obedient. “Trespassing on private property,” said Cashin, calmer. He felt no threat from the man. “Yeah, well, just had a sleep.” “Put the swag down,” Cashin said. “Take off your coat.” “Says who?”  “I’m a cop.” He showed the fox. The man folded his bluey, put it down on his swag, at his feet. He wore laced boots, never seen polish, toes dented. “How’d you get here?” Cashin said. “Walking. Lifts.” “From where?” “New South.” “New South Wales?” “Yeah.” “Long way to come.” “A way.” “Going where?” “Just going. My own business where I go.” “Free country. Got some ID? Driver’s licence, Medicare card.” “No.” “No ID?” “No.” “Don’t make it hard,” Cashin said. “I haven’t had breakfast. No ID, I take you in for fingerprinting, charge you with trespass, put you in the cells. Could be a while before you see daylight.” The man bent, found a wallet in his coat, took out a folded sheet of paper, offered it. “Put it in the pocket and chuck the coat over.” It landed a metre away. “Back off a bit,” Cashin said. He collected the coat, felt it. Nothing. He took out the piece of paper, often folded, worn. He opened it. Dave Rebb has worked on Boorindi Downs for three years and is a hard worker and no trouble, his good with engines, most mechanic things. Also stock. I would employ him again any time. It was signed Colin Blandy, manager, and dated 11 August 1996. There was a telephone number. “Where’s this place?” said Cashin. “Queensland. Near Winton.” “And this is it? This’s your ID? Ten years old?” “Yeah.” Cashin found his notebook and wrote down the names and the number, put the paper back in the coat. “Scared the lady here,” he said. “That’s not good.” “No sign of life when I come,” said the man. “Dog didn’t bark.” “Been in trouble with the police, Dave?” “No. Never been in trouble.” “Could be a murderer,” said Mrs. Haig behind him. “Killer. Dangerous killer.” “Me, Mrs. Haig,” said Cashin, “I’m the policeman, I’m dealing with this. Dave, I’m going to drive you to the main road. Come back this way, you’ll be in serious trouble. Okay?” “Okay.” Cashin took the two steps and gave the man back his coat. “Let’s go.” “Charge him!” shouted Mrs. Haig. In the vehicle, Dave Rebb offered his hands to the dogs, he was a man who knew about dogs. At the T-junction, Cashin pulled over. “Which way you going?” he said. There was a moment. “Cromarty.” “Drop you at Port Monro,” Cashin said. He turned left. At the turnoff to the town, he stopped. They got out and he opened the back for the man’s swag. “Mind how you go now,” Cashin said. “Need a buck or two?” “No,” said Rebb. “Treated me like a human. Not a lot of that.” Waiting to turn, Cashin watched Rebb go, swag horizontal across his back, sticking out. In the morning mist, he was a stubby-armed cross walking. Excerpted from The Broken Shore by Peter Temple. Copyright © 2005, 2007 by Peter Temple. Published in May 2007 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux, LLC. All rights reserved.


Excerpted from The Broken Shore by Temple, Peter Copyright © 2007 by Temple, Peter. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Reading Group Guide

About this Guide

The following author biography and list of questions about The Broken Shore are intended as resources to aid individual readers and book groups who would like to learn more about the author and this book. We hope that this guide will provide you a starting place for discussion, and suggest a variety of perspectives from which you might approach The Broken Shore.

Discussion Questions

1. Why does Joe Cashin decide to take a chance on Dave Rebb in the initial chapters? Is Joe a better judge of character than Mrs. Haig, or was he simply taking a gamble?

2. How are Joe and Michael affected by the Cashin family legacy? In what way does Joe's understanding of his father and of Tommy shift throughout the novel?

3. What do you think happened on the night of the shootout? Would have you have been more likely to trust Hopgood or Donny?

4. How has Joe's community changed since his boyhood? What enabled Bobby Walshe and Helen Castleman to excel in careers that would previously have been closed to Aboriginals and women? How does Joe view his connection to Bobby and Helen now that they are adults engaged in high-stakes circumstances?

5. Discuss the novel's title. How does the beautiful but dangerous segment of coastline called The Broken Shore serve as an appropriate backdrop for the Bourgoyne murder investigation? What has been broken at the Kettle and the Dangar Steps? Whose broken lives are mended in the aftermath?

6. How were you affected by the structure of the novel, featuring brief chapters comprising rapid-fire dialogue and almost cinematic visuals? What made The Broken Shore different from other thrillers you have read?

7. The novel features a glossary of Australian slang, with many of the entries describing various types of people. How does English-language slang vary around the globe, and what does a population's slang indicate? What were you surprised to discover about Australian culture? What commonalities exist between the dialogue of Australian and American crime novels?

8. How did race and class influence the way the case was handled? Without Joe's intervention, would the truth have likely been discovered? In what parts of the world do race and class play the greatest role in how justice is served? How are neighborhoods like the Daunt born?

9. Who was your prime suspect? Were you more swayed by evidence or instinct? Whom did you trust the least?

10. What does Jaime's story indicate about the nature of abuse? Why is evil sometimes allowed to flourish? What allowed this particular evil to affect multiple generations?

11. Why was Jaime's sister hesitant to reveal the truth? What realities was she trying to perpetuate? What would you have done in her situation?

12. In the end, Erica decides not to sell the camp to Fyfe, putting an end to the resort project. What did this clash between the old guard and new developers indicate about views of ideal life in this region? How is progress truly defined, in housing, law enforcement, and other aspects of community?

13. How did you interpret the novel's closing scene? What do you predict Tracy will find after she follows through on Joe's research request regarding the summer of 1988?

14. Just as literature and opera helped Joe recover from the incident with Raimond Sarris, what emotional repairs are accomplished through the repair work on Tommy Cashin's house?

Customer Reviews

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The Broken Shore 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 16 reviews.
AtoZNY More than 1 year ago
This is one of those rare books where you can't wait to turn the next page to continue the story, but you don't want it to finish! Definitely NOT the Australia of "Mad Max" but plenty robust and mucho anyway. If you don't like crude language, this isn't for you but the language is very much in keeping with the characters. Joe Cashen and Dave Rebb are excellently drawn characters and you DO care what happens to them! Definite recommend!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
From a slow start, the novel builds to a shocking ending that leaves you dismayed by the evil that exists and the willingness by many in authority to cover it up. The main characters are thoroughly believable, showing both human faults and honor in their actions and relationships. Rural Australia is not so different from other parts of the world where similar crimes take place, and where there is a convenient scapegoat community to blame for everything that goes wrong.
MDTuck More than 1 year ago
Neither shocking nor very surprising, this may be typical of western Australia, but I tired of the four letter words and lassitude of the characters. Having read a number of Australian books, history and fiction, I would recommend others above this particular one.
BeeTN More than 1 year ago
Another book that was recommended by NPR's "Under the Radar" librarian. The author is Australian as are the setting and characters. I started listening to this on disk and had to go out at 7 p.m. on a Saturday night to find a paper copy. I finished reading it early the next morning. Tight writing, spare prose, lots of cuss words and Australian idioms (there is a glossary at the back.) The plot twists, turns, appears to run almost dry then surges forth again. I read this book twice just to catch all the nuances and plot lines but it was a fantastic read the first time. I would love to see more stories about Det. Mick Cashin but this one is a terrific page-turner. I seldom give 5 stars to anything -- this one definitely rates.
harstan More than 1 year ago
Former Victoria Police Detective Joe Cashin almost died during a homicide investigation. As he physically heals, he mentally is no longer the confident sleuth he had been. He quits the metropolis force and returns home to be a rural cop in South Australia.----------------- His quiet job reverts back to his previous work when local millionaire Charles Bourgoyne is beaten to death. The evidence points towards three Aboriginal teen males who were pawning the elderly victim¿s watch. However, the cops end up killing two of the boys. To Joe¿s shock, the department says case closed on the three deaths. Unable to let it go Joe investigates unofficially only to be buried in the slime of child pornography and sexual abuse.------------------ THE BROKEN SHORE uses a relatively easily solved murder to provide readers with a deep look at social class in Australia. The story line is filled with plausible twists and turns as Joe cannot back off from learning the truth about the Bourgoyne murder, the official homicide investigation, and the inquiry into the sue of force. Police procedural fans will want to read this strong mystery that brings to life rural Australia.------------ Harriet Klausner
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed the style of writting. The plot explored the depths of crimes and the nature of the many who perpetrate them. Nothing is as 'simple' as it may appear.
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BlairDT More than 1 year ago
This is the first book by Temple that I have read but it was so well written that I am excited to read more. A gritty, realistic, understated crime novel set in the stark, unforgiving, southern coastal towns of Australia. Temple writes an interesting and plausible story that keeps you interested while posing more questions than answers to the very end.It's refreshing to read a crime novel that isn't over the top and ridiculous. I would absolutely recommend this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
insurance More than 1 year ago
Good look into Ozzie life. If you haven't read Temple---start!
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huckfinn37 More than 1 year ago
The Broken Shore is a gripping mystery because it is both poetic and thrilling. There are many characters; however, the plot isn't ruined because of it. The reader learns about rural Australia and Australian slang. I would read another book by Peter Temple in a heartbeat. I can't wait to visit Australia.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The book appealed to me because of the way the author explain the country side, the weather. The slang of the people of Australia 'those were explained at the end of the book' It was almost like being there. Of course the suspense was good as it should be.
Guest More than 1 year ago
One of the best books I have read in a long, long, time (and I read a lot).