Just as there are some places you don’t want to live – Midsomer, the fictional town in the UK TV series Midsomer Murders, for example, or those towns in the US state of Maine where many of Stephen King’s scariest novels are set – there are some people you really don’t want to be.

In Trust (Chris Hammer, Allen & Unwin), the third instalment of the Martin Scarsden series, Martin’s new life seems perfect. The former Sydney Morning Herald journalist and author of two successful true crime books is living on the Far North Coast of NSW with his partner Mandalay and her young son, and spending his days on the beach.

This idyllic scene is abruptly shattered by a single scream she leaves on his voicemail. Sprinting home, Martin discovers a policeman face down on the floor unconscious and Mandalay gone. He suspects she’s been abducted.

Within hours, Martin is speeding south towards Sydney, where the secrets of Mandalay’s past lead him into a murky world of cronyism, corruption, privilege and power that threatens to destroy them both.

And that’s when things start to get really hairy for Martin. Again. For a basically law-abiding person, he sure does attract a lot of strife.

On the upside for Martin, he’ll probably be able to write a third true crime book once the dust settles.

By Ylla Watkins


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