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Bad Debts [Kindle Edition]

Peter Temple
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (65 customer reviews)

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Book Description

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.

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

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. (Nov.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


‘Having read the new novels of Michael Connelly and Martin Cruz Smith, I have to say that Temple belongs in their company. Australia is a long way off, but this bloke is world-class.’ Washington Post

'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

‘One of the world’s finest crime writers.’ The Times

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

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

Product Details

  • File Size: 487 KB
  • Print Length: 320 pages
  • Publisher: MP Publishing Limited (May 22, 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002U0KY9K
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #131,570 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Jack Irish Is An Across The Board Winner! November 13, 2005
I like Jack Irish. I like him a lot. Fortunately for me MacAdam/Cage now publishes author Peter Temple's noir novels, featuring Mr. Irish, in the US. By the way, he is not Irish at all, but the great-grandson of I. Reich, a German Jewish immigrant to Australia. In a market chock-full of detective type anti-heroes, Jack stands above the pack as the only Renaissance sleuth. He's also a man from Melbourne who gives great Aussie slang! Literary points for that! Professionally his moniker reads "licensed criminal attorney," but he branches out into debt collecting and is not above doing his own investigative work either. A horse-racing man and habitual gambler, barfly, apprentice cabinetmaker and Australian Rules Football fanatic, Irish is just pulling himself off the rails, and a serious bout with self destruction involving alcohol, when the novel begins. His wife was murdered by a disgruntled former client and Jack is only now beginning to cope with the rage and guilt while sober.

As he surfaces, he discovers that Danny McKillop, supposedly a former client, has been leaving a series of desperate sounding messages on his answering machine. Jack needs to refresh his memory since the Danny McKillop part of his past is a blur. The files show him the man was convicted of a hit and run accident, while under the influence of considerable alcohol, which resulted in a young woman's death. There were witnesses and plenty of evidence, so Irish could not have done much on Danny's behalf...even if he had been sober with his act pulled together. Recently released after serving ten years in the penitentiary, McKillop apparently wants to speak with his old lawyer ASAP.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I love Peter Temple's Jack Irish books, and have been evangelizing about them for the past year on my blog ([...] I'm so glad they're being published now in the US. This is some of the best crime fiction--the best fiction, period--you will ever read. They are elegantly written and constructed, but they also pack a punch; and they've got this great Australian vocabulary thing going on that works as a kind of minor enjoyable brain-teaser as you're luxuriating in the compelling first-person voice.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
It was somewhat distressing to discover that Peter Temple has been active for years in Australia with nary a whisper in the United States. He has won three Ned Kelly awards for crime fiction, including one for BAD DEBTS as "Best First Novel." Indeed, with no slight to the other nominees that year, upon reading BAD DEBTS one can see why. It is a complex and richly told tale with a fascinating protagonist.

That protagonist is the wonderfully named Jack Irish, a rumpled knight with an enigmatic and fascinating backstory that undoubtedly will provide the impetus for many volumes in the years to come. Irish is what is known as a suburban solicitor, which means that he practices law in some way or another. He is not a shady character himself, though most of his friends and clients are, and the adage about lying down with dogs certainly holds true in Irish's case. His first marriage ended in divorce, and his second wife was murdered by one of his clients.

This resulted in Irish going on a functioning bender of a number of years' duration during which time he came close to losing his license to practice. As part therapy and part recreation, he assists a cabinetmaker and is also a fan of the local football club. Occasionally he is involved in the business end of horseracing with a former jockey named Harry Strang and his assistant, Cam Delray, an extremely capable gentleman who quietly and unobtrusively steals every passage in which he appears.

The impetus behind the novel is a telephone call that Irish receives from Danny McKillop, who claims to be one of Irish's former clients. Irish has no memory of the man or his case; when McKillop turns up dead in an unfortunate police confrontation before Irish can talk to him, it arouses Irish's curiosity.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best thriller I've read in years October 8, 2006
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I'v read more thrillers and mysteries than I'd care to admit, and this is the best I've read in years. "Bad Debts" gives new meaning to that tired genre "thriller." People say, "I couldn't put it down." I had to put it down several times. It was too intense to read uninterruptedly. Apart from strong characterization -- characters with whom one could genuinely empathize, exceptional plotting and engaging settings, the language is fresh and startling, the tough-guy argot of Australia. Without giving away the plot, there's one moment in which a high official explains all of the events that have driven the action to that point so as to undermine the assumptions of the reader as well as the hero. It's a daring authorial moment that draws the reader to stronger identification with the hero's shifting perspectives. Buy this book. If you don't find it compelling, you should give up reading thrillers altogether.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars If you can overcome the local lingo... January 31, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I kept feeling interrupted by trying to figure out what the local slang meant. Not in online dictionaries or apps. So I started ignoring that and picked up the pace a bit. I enjoy this genre of the lone wolf fixer, and Jack Irish fits the bill pretty well. This book has an exciting pace to the finish line and he does meet a woman along the way. It's not Lee Child or Vince Flynn, but who is?
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars but the main character was too much like some other bigger than life...
Once I got the hang of the Australian slang, are ignored it, I found the story interesting, but the main character was too much like some other bigger than life leads for my taste. Read more
Published 18 days ago by RJ
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Good read, I like the Australian crime style
Published 28 days ago by Alistair Ayto
4.0 out of 5 stars Fun!
I want to go to there.
Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
not read yet
Published 1 month ago by M. Raphael
4.0 out of 5 stars bad debts
Well paced. Different angle from the Australian view. New vocabulary to learn and interesting characters. Will read more from this author.
Published 2 months ago by James Clark
5.0 out of 5 stars Great seller
Great experience! Book was even better than described, doesn't look like its ever been opened! Fast shipper, happy to work with again.
Published 2 months ago by CB
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
it's ok
Published 2 months ago by tsn
3.0 out of 5 stars Okay read.
A glossary of Australian slang would be a big help.
Published 2 months ago by Abigail
3.0 out of 5 stars Read with an Aussi Slang Dictionary Nearby
The Kindle version does not include scene breaks within chapters so with no warning whatsoever the scene may change from one sentence to the next, which makes it difficult for the... Read more
Published 2 months ago by JC
4.0 out of 5 stars A real page-turner!
It's such a delight to come across a new author who has a character (Jack Irish) and a series that promises hours of good reading ahead. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Ted. Wakefield
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More About the Author

Peter Temple is the author of nine novels, including four books in the Jack Irish series. He has won the Ned Kelly Award for Crime Fiction five times, and his widely acclaimed novels have been published in over twenty countries. "The Broken Shore" won the UK's prestigious Duncan Lawrie Dagger for the best crime novel of 2007 and was made into an ABC telemovie in 2014. Truth won the 2010 Miles Franklin Literary Award, the first time a crime writer has won an award of this caliber anywhere in the world. Temple's first two novels "Bad Debts" and "Black Tide" have been made into films with Guy Pearce starring as Jack Irish.

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