All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

Review: Beams Falling – P.M Newton

on March 13, 2014

Beams FallingBeams Falling (Ned Kelly #2)
P.M. Newton
Penguin Books AUS
2014, 384p
Copy courtesy of the publisher via NetGalley

Detective Nhu “Ned” Kelly has been returned to work, albeit light duties for now. Still healing both mentally and physically from being shot by one of her own inside her home, Ned expects to be fronting back up to Bankstown, only to be told that she’s been reassigned. There’s a special group being set up to penetrate Cabramatta and all the various forms of Asian crime. Ned looks the part and someone thinks she could be valuable, despite the fact that she doesn’t fit in or speak the language.

But Ned is a fish out of water in Cabramatta where the young boys known as ra choi (gone out ‘to play’) are killing each other and no one can find out why or get anyone to roll over and grass the next one up the chain so that they can keep putting the pressure on all the way to the top. Ned is convinced it’s going to go all the way back to Chinatown and the one man she can’t stop thinking about, the one is convinced is responsible for the crime that changed her life all those years ago. She finds herself sitting outside his house, not even trying to hide. Wanting him to know that she is there.

So recently I read The Old School the first of the books centered around Detective Ned Kelly and it was so good I said in my review that it made me want to read more crime. I’m sticking to that because luckily for me the second book with Detective Kelly has just been released and it’s every bit as good as the first. In this one, Ned is still recovering from being shot and she’s still got a lot of issues. She’s still in pain, she needs to keep doing her exercises but she’s back at work, although only on very light duties. She’s immediately placed with with a new team working Cabramatta and the Asian crime wave that has taken it by storm. Plenty of Vietnam refugees in Cabramatta and someone higher up didn’t seem to get the memo that Ned doesn’t speak the language and isn’t immersed in the culture.

In Cabra, the kids are selling drugs for the dealers, flashing expensive toys and moving out of home at a young age, living a lifestyle that will see them burned out on the gear quickly or shot dead. On her first trip out there, Ned crosses paths again with Murph, the undercover agent who turned out to be a whole lot more complex than he first seemed. In a short time, Ned will have to stand up on a stage with Murph so that they can both get medals for what happened surrounding her shooting. It’s something she’s not looking forward to and it seems that Murph has his own reservations about it too, for many reasons. Although there’s no longer a personal relationship between them like there was in The Old School, scenes that Ned and Murph share together in this book still have a…quality to them. An infinitely readable, addictive quality. I mentioned in my review of that first one how much I enjoyed his character even though he’s shady in the extreme, fingers-in-many-pies, always ahead of the game shady. He’s charismatic and interesting and he and Ned bounce well off of each other. I don’t trust him (and neither does Ned) but I still like him and I like the fact that Ned can read him. She knows him, every inch of him.

In this book, Ned is, quite bluntly, a freaking mess. She’s jumpy, experiencing kind of “blackout” moments where she suddenly can’t remember where she is or what just happened a few minutes ago. She’s a ticking time bomb and she almost goes off. I loved the way this was written, because Ned has to work hard (and reluctantly) to overcome her trauma and it may always be with her. She was shot and nearly killed in her home by someone who should have been in a role of protector, not killer. I enjoyed that it’s so well explored here, that she doesn’t just shrug it off and go back to the streets, without a care in the world. It’s part of her job but few people will have to experience what she does and because she was shot by a cop, there’s a bit of an air of suspicion towards her. This is 20 years ago where cops had each other’s backs and corruption wasn’t exactly uncommon. She rolled some, told ICAC and there are people she works with who wonder about her. She doesn’t seem to have an easy relationship with too many of her colleagues.

Beams Falling is an excellent follow up to The Old School. Ned is such an interesting, complex character, seen by people when they look at her as Vietnamese through and through but having no real connection to the Vietnamese people and culture. She’s haunted by what happened to their parents, unable to stop thinking about making the person who she believes to be responsible, pay. She’s not like her sister, who has found some peace in Buddhism and a work that doesn’t revolve around criminals. Ned still has a long way to go and I am curious to see where her obsession with bringing this person down goes…just how far. She’s already been warned off but she doesn’t seem the type to listen! Can’t wait for the next novel, unluckily for me I’ll have to wait a lot longer than I waited to read this one!


Book #60 of 2014


Beams Falling is the 23rd book read and reviewed for the Australian Women Writers Challenge 2014

One response to “Review: Beams Falling – P.M Newton

  1. Gede Prama says:

    Thank you for sharing and Greetings from Gede Prama 🙂

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