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Bad Debts
Cover of Bad Debts
Bad Debts
Jack Irish Series, Book 1
Introducing Australia's most acclaimed crime-thriller writer to North American audiences with his first two books in his award-winning Jack Irish series.
A phone message from ex-client Danny McKillop doesn't ring any bells for Jack Irish. Life is hard enough without having to dredge up old problems: His beloved football team continues to lose, the odds on his latest plunge at the track seem far too long, and he's still cooking for one. When Danny turns up dead, Jack is forced to take a walk back into the dark and dangerous past.
With suspenseful prose and black humor, Peter Temple builds an unforgettable character in Jack Irish and brings the reader on a journey that is as intelligent as it is exciting.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
Introducing Australia's most acclaimed crime-thriller writer to North American audiences with his first two books in his award-winning Jack Irish series.
A phone message from ex-client Danny McKillop doesn't ring any bells for Jack Irish. Life is hard enough without having to dredge up old problems: His beloved football team continues to lose, the odds on his latest plunge at the track seem far too long, and he's still cooking for one. When Danny turns up dead, Jack is forced to take a walk back into the dark and dangerous past.
With suspenseful prose and black humor, Peter Temple builds an unforgettable character in Jack Irish and brings the reader on a journey that is as intelligent as it is exciting.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
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Excerpts-
  • Chapter One I found Edward Dollery, age forty-seven, defrocked accountant, big spender and dishonest person, living in a house rented in the name of Carol Pick. It was in a new brick-veneer suburb built on cow pasture east of the city, one of those strangely silent developments where the average age is twelve and you can feel the pressure of the mortgages on your skin.

    Eddie Dollery's skin wasn't looking good. He'd cut himself several times shaving and each nick was wearing a little red-centred rosette of toilet paper. The rest of Eddie, short, bloated, was wearing yesterday's superfine cotton business shirt, striped, and scarlet pyjama pants, silk. The overall effect was not fetching.

    'Yes?' he said in the clipped tone of a man interrupted while on the line to Tokyo or Zürich or Milan. He had both hands behind his back, apparently holding up his pants.

    'Marinara, right?' I said, pointing to a small piece of hardened food attached to the pocket of his shirt.

    Eddie Dollery looked at my finger, and he looked in my eyes, and he knew. A small greyish probe of tongue came out to inspect his upper lip, disapproved and withdrew.

    'Come in,' he said in a less commanding tone. He took a step backwards. His right hand came around from behind his back and pointed a small pistol at my fly. 'Come in or I'll shoot your balls off.'

    I looked at the pistol with concern. It had a distinctly Albanian cast to it. These things go off for motives of their own.

    'Mr Sabbatini,' I said. 'You're Mr Michael Sabbatini? I'm only here about your credit card payment.'

    'Inside,' he said, wagging the firearm.

    He backed in, I followed. We went through a barren hallway into a sitting room containing pastel-coloured leather furniture of the kind that appears to have been squashed.

    Eddie stopped in the middle of the room. I stopped. We looked at each other.

    I said, 'Mr Sabbatini, it's only money. You're pointing a gun at a debt collector. From an agency. You can go to jail for that. If it's not convenient to discuss new arrangements for repayments now, I'm happy to tell my agency that.'

    Eddie shook his head slowly. 'How'd you find me?' he said.

    I blinked at him. 'Find you? We've got your address, Mr Sabbatini. We send your accounts here. The company sends your accounts here.'

    Eddie moved aside a big piece of hair to scratch his scalp, revealing a small plantation of transplanted hairs. 'I've got to lock you up,' he said. 'Put your hands on your head.'

    I complied. Eddie got around behind me and said, 'Straight ahead. March.'

    He kept his distance. He was a good metre and a half behind me when I went through the doorway into the kitchen. There were about a dozen empty champagne bottles on various surfaces around the room – Perrier Jouët, Moët et Chandon, Pol Roger, Krug. No brand loyalty here, no concern for the country's balance of payments. The one on the counter to my right was Piper.

    'Turn right,' Eddie said.

    I turned right very smartly. When Eddie came into the doorway, the Piper bottle, swung backhand, caught him on the jawbone. The Albanian time-bomb in his hand went off, no more than a door slam, the slug going Christ knows where. Eddie dropped the gun to nurse his face. I pulled him into the room by his shirt, spun him around and kicked him in the back of the right knee with an instep while wrenching him backwards by his hair. He hit the ground hard. I was about to give him a kick when a semblance of calm descended upon me. I spared him the grace note.

    Eddie was moaning a great deal but he wasn't going to die from the impact of the Piper. I dragged him off by the heels...
About the Author-
  • Award-winning author Peter Temple has worked as a journalist, editor, and teacher of journalism. He has won four Ned Kelly Awards for crime fiction. Bad Debts, his first crime novel, won Best First Novel.
Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    October 10, 2005
    Australian Jack Irish—ex-lawyer and sometime debt collector, cabinetmaker and barfly—gets a double introduction as MacAdam/Cage releases his first two adventures (number two is Black Tide
    ) this month. Jack's a gumshoe in classic hard-boiled style: there's his clipped, black-humor dialogue, his hard-drinking past and his sad backstory (his wife was murdered by one of his clients). When Jack gets a desperate message from Danny McKillop, whom he defended years before on a hit-and-run charge "at the beginning of the forgotten zone, the year or so I spent drunk," he takes a while to call him back. When he does, Danny, who was fresh out of prison, is dead. Jack's guilt fuels his ensuing search for the truth about Danny's murder. The main plot, which has to do with a crooked land development deal, is overly complicated, but solid subplots—one concerning a romance, another about a horseracing scheme—keep the pages flipping. The engaging Jack and his friends are absolutely original and unfailingly amusing, and figuring out their speech patterns is great fun, even in its difficulty ("We'll have to get on the Drizas, motor out to the bush next week. Suit, Jack?"). Readers will take to this series like a thirsty man to strong drink and bang the bar for another round.

  • Publishers Weekly

    "The engaging Jack and his friends are absolutely original and unfailingly amusing, and figuring out their speech patterns is great fun, even in its difficulty. Readers will take to this series like a thirsty man to a strong drink and bang the bar for another round."

  • Robin Moore, author of The French Connection and REACT: CIA Black Ops "Australia's top crime novelist has arrived, and is wowing American readers of hard-guy fiction."
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    Doubleday Canada
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Bad Debts
Bad Debts
Jack Irish Series, Book 1
Peter Temple
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