All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

Roll With It – Nick Place

on April 19, 2013

Roll With ItRoll With It
Nick Place
Hardie Grant Books
2013, 347p
Copy courtesy of the publisher

It’s a bad time for Tony Laver of the Major Crime Squad, to discharge his weapon, fatally wounding an armed burglary suspect. He becomes the sixth policeman to shoot someone dead in just over a year and due to some red tape and politics, he gets immediately reassigned – to the Mobile Public Interaction Squad. Tony doesn’t even know what that means but apparently he’s going to be spending the time until his inquiry riding around the streets of Melbourne on a pushbike.

So Tony fronts for his new position and finds himself paired up with young guns who take their position very seriously. Although irritated, Tony can begin to appreciate the positives in his new role – his first few days are lovely and sunny and there’s plenty of time to check out different coffee shops. His butt is sorer than he ever thought possible but he’s noticing a difference fitness wise too. And some of the fellow bikers are rather pleasant and he is given a chance to not only show them some proactive policing but also tell them stories about what it’s like to really square up to danger, not just directing traffic on Swanston Street and showing lost Chinese tourists the way to the Eureka Tower.

But there’s a downside too and that’s professional Siberia. His colleagues in Major Crime have been told not to talk to him and Tony can’t so much as run a search or even get a phone call returned. And when he spots two characters that set off his “radar” he knows that he needs to do something, find out more information. But he can’t get anyone to listen to him, people humouring him, thinking that he’s seeing major criminals wherever he goes to combat the boredom of being on the bike each day.

But that isn’t it – Tony is a good cop. He’s only once fired his weapon and only after someone fired at him first. He knows a suspicious character when he sees one. And if no one will listen to him then he might just have to go about this on his own. The fate of a hippy Friend of the Earth and a mild-mannered nerdy supermarket assistant manager depend on it.

This year I’ve made a more conscious effort to read some books by Australian male authors and I’m so glad that it’s something I’ve decided to do because it’s meant that gems like this one have not passed me by. From the first page this is both a fabulously written book and a fun story that combines humour with crime in the most clever ways. 

Tony “Rocket” Laver is a pretty big deal – a cop in the Major Crime Squad, he’s been along on many a bust. The idea of such a career cop being sent to the mountain bike division of the Victoria Police is rife with so many opportunities for laughs and Place doesn’t fail to capitalise on any of them. Tony is paired up with a couple of Neo-Nazi mountain bike cops at first and can’t help but stare open mouthed at their utter devotion to the seriousness they think their job is:

‘C’mon, let’s decamp in a southerly direction and apprehend a coffee.’
‘I don’t drink on the job Laver.’
‘Well okay, you can be on the lookout for potential serial killer motorists while I do.’
‘I am not going into that cafe, Senior Constable.’
‘Fine. See you back at the station this arvo.’
‘We’re not supposed to separate,’ Standish huffed. ‘There must be two officers travelling together at all times.’
‘Excellent. Good to follow the rules, meaning you do have to wait while I get a coffee. Is it against regulations to sit at separate tables?’
Standish muttered under his breath, but Laver was already pedaling towards the cafe.

As well as Laver, we also get the thoughts of Jake, a shy and nerdy supermarket assistant manager who just wants to impress the beautiful girl he sees swimming at the pool each morning and decides that the best way to go about that would be to be interested in what she’s interested in – the environment. And Stig and Wildie are two men that have pulled off quite a heist up north and are now looking to fence the goods in Melbourne so that they can escape somewhere but unfortunately they run into Tony Laver. Laver’s gut instinct immediately tells him that Stig and Wildie are up to no good and he wants to find out exactly what that is.

This novel is a great homage to Melbourne – the busy streets and laneways that connect them, the ever-changing weather, the coffee shops and the mix of people that make up the city. I always love reading books set in Melbourne – even though I’ve lived near Melbourne for almost seven years, I don’t have the need to spend a lot of time in the city. I feel like I got to know it a bit more reading this book and people who are familiar with the CBD intricately will probably enjoy it even more than I did.

I do have to say though – if Tony’s Siberia is an accurate portrayal of what happens to cops in his position as they await their inquiry to determine if the shoot was a good one, that’s a little disturbing. He’s given no support whatsoever and merely reassigned to a division where they probably assume he can get into the least amount of trouble – the irony is that it’s in this very division that Tony uncovers something huge! But I did feel for him a little, well a lot actually. He killed someone and no one even really bothered to ask him how he was. Even for a cop, there are many out there who never have to do what he did, it’s not a light moment and I definitely felt sorry for him. He has very little in the way of emotional backing and his crutch seemed to be drinking.

The end seems left open for another Tony Laver novel and I’d definitely love to revisit him. This is a fabulous debut novel, well-paced and constructed with a core story serious enough to keep your attention throughout and a generous sprinkling of humerous moments to lighten the mood and keep you smiling. It deserves to be big.


Book #97 of 2013

Aussie Author ChallengeI’m counting Roll With It towards my participation in the Aussie Author Challenge. It’s the 3rd book I’ve reviewed for the challenge and Nick Place is also an author that is new to me.

LitExp ChallengeI’m also including this one in my participation of the Literary Exploration Challenge, for the humour category. I definitely this book has strong enough humorous elements to qualify.



4 responses to “Roll With It – Nick Place

  1. […] extremely enthusiastic review of ‘Roll With It‘ by the blog, All The Books I Can Read, with Laver’s lack of support after the shooting a key pick-up by this […]

  2. shelleyrae @ Book'd Out says:

    I really enjoyed this as well, great review Bree!

  3. […] to go with something I haven’t already said – Roll With It by Nick […]

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