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The Unbroken Line - Book Review

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Published July 3rd 2015
Australian crime thriller with a Scandinavian flavour
Defence lawyer Will Harris is back in The Unbroken Line as a co-owner of a fledgling law firm, but life is far from plain sailing for him.

Barely six weeks after sustaining serious injuries while on a mission to expose a murderer in Blood Witness – while in the company of the alluring Eva Mercuri – Will is run off the road in Melbourne's Domain Tunnel by masked men who mutilate the hapless Eva who is on a dinner date with him. To add on, Will's business partner Chris Miller is arrested in Port Douglas and extradited back to Melbourne to face trumped-up charges of manslaughter as the firm struggles to get off the ground. Will also has to juggle his business dealings with the Ivanič crime family and his assistance to the troubled son of a family friend, while the Legal Commissioner hovers over him like a vulture thanks to the Ivaničs. As the events collide, Will discovers a web of corruption with deep historical roots that reaches far beyond the surface and hits dangerously close to home.

Dark overtone: Alex Hammond's new legal thriller The Unbroken Line features corruption in high places that fits in more with a Stieg Larsson novel

Alex Hammond describes the minutiae of a busy solicitor's life in rather great detail. Readers learn about the numerous meetings and court appearances associated with the legal profession. This time, he has also managed to throw in a taste of Scandinavian noir into a strongly Australian-flavoured legal thriller. If Blood Witness breathed fresh air into an otherwise stuffy sub-genre, The Unbroken Line brought it into uncharted waters.

Once again, Will seems unlucky in love, having lost his fiancé in a diving accident in Blood Witness and blowing his chance with Eva following the attack in the tunnel. There also seems to be some objectification of women in this book, with several female characters coming off as sexualised.

The Unbroken Line features a tense plot line that escalates right at the end of the first chapter. It then builds up suspense until the shocking climax with the Melbourne Cup racing carnival as the backdrop, with numerous twists and turns in between.

Hammond has positioned his creation Will Harris as something of an Australian version of Jake Brigance. While Will has the tendency to cross the line at times in his quest for truth and justice, his actions are understandable as more often than not he finds himself stymied by petty politics while trying to do his job.

If you are finding it hard to sleep and would like something to occupy yourself, The Unbroken Line could be your answer.

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