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Best Novel
or Best Crime
Subcategory of Ned Kelly Awards for Crime Writing
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2021 winner y separately published work icon Consolation Garry Disher , Melbourne : Text Publishing , 2020 19549694 2020 single work novel crime

'Winter in Tiverton.

'Constable Paul Hirschhausen has a snowdropper on his patch. Someone is stealing women’s underwear, and Hirsch knows enough about that kind of crime—how it can escalate—not to take it lightly.

'But the more immediate concern is a high school teacher worried about one of the students.

'A little girl in danger. A family on the edge. An absent father who isn’t where he’s supposed to be.

'The cold, seeping feeling something is very, very wrong.' (Publication summary)

2020 winner y separately published work icon The Wife and the Widow Christian White , Melbourne : Affirm Press , 2019 16866544 2019 single work novel mystery thriller

'Set against the backdrop of an eerie island town in the dead of winter, THE WIFE AND THE WIDOW is a mystery/thriller told from two perspectives: Kate, a widow whose grief is compounded by what she learns about her dead husband's secret life; and Abby, an island local whose world is turned upside down when she's forced to confront the evidence that her husband is a murderer. But nothing on this island is quite as it seems, and only when these women come together can they discover the whole story about the men in their lives.' (Publication summary)

2019 winner y separately published work icon The Lost Man Jane Harper , Sydney : Pan Macmillan Australia , 2018 14706327 2018 single work novel crime

'The man lay still in the centre of a dusty grave under a monstrous sky.

'Two brothers meet at the border of their vast cattle properties under the unrelenting sun of outback Queensland.

'They are at the stockman's grave, a landmark so old, no one can remember who is buried there. But today, the scant shadow it casts was the last chance for their middle brother, Cameron.

'The Bright family's quiet existence is thrown into grief and anguish. Something had been troubling Cameron. Did he lose hope and walk to his death? Because if he didn't, the isolation of the outback leaves few suspects...'

Source: publisher's blurb.

2018 winner y separately published work icon Crossing the Lines Sulari Gentill , Neutral Bay : Pantera Press , 2017 11455446 2017 single work novel

'When Madeleine d’Leon conjures Ned McGinnity as the hero in her latest crime novel, she makes him a serious writer simply because the irony of a protagonist who’d never lower himself to read the story in which he stars, amuses her. When Ned McGinnity creates Madeleine d’Leon, she is his literary device, a writer of detective fiction who is herself a mystery to be unravelled. As Ned and Madeleine play out their own lives while writing the other’s story, they find themselves crossing the lines that divide the real and the imagined. This is a story about two people trying to hold onto each other beyond reality.' (Publication summary)

2017 winner y separately published work icon Police at the Station and They Don't Look Friendly Adrian McKinty , London : Serpent's Tail , 2017 10406617 2017 single work novel crime

'Belfast 1988: a man has been shot in the back with an arrow. It ain't Injuns and it isn't Robin Hood. But uncovering exactly who has done it will take Detective Inspector Sean Duffy down his most dangerous road yet, a road that leads to a lonely clearing on the high bog where three masked gunmen will force Duffy to dig his own grave. Hunted by forces unknown, threatened by Internal Affairs and with his relationship on the rocks, Duffy will need all his wits to get out of this investigation in one piece.' (Publication summary)

2016 winner y separately published work icon Before It Breaks Dave Warner , North Fremantle : Fremantle Press , 2015 8141981 2015 single work novel crime

'Detective Daniel Clement is back in Broome, licking his wounds from a busted marriage and struggling to be impressed by his new team of small-town cops. Here, in the oasis on the edge of the desert, life is as stagnant as Clement’s latest career move.

But when a body is discovered at a local fishing spot, it is clearly not the result of a crocodile attack. Somewhere in Broome is a hunter of a different kind.

As more bodies are found, Clement races to solve a decades-old mystery before a monster cyclone hits.' (Publication summary)

2015 winner y separately published work icon Eden Candice Fox , North Sydney : Random House , 2014 8074486 2014 single work novel crime thriller

'The breaktaking new thriller from the author of Hades, winner of the Ned Kelly award for Best Debut Crime Novel. 'I fool myself that Eden has a heart – that she would at least have trouble killing me...'

'Most police duos run on trust, loyalty, and the desire to see killers in court. But Detective Frank Bennett's partner, the enigmatic Eden Archer, has nothing to offer him but darkness and danger. She doesn't mind catching killers – but it's not the courthouse where her justice is served.

'And now Eden is about to head undercover to find three missing girls. The only link between the victims is a remote farm where the desperate go to hide and blood falls more often than rain. For Frank, the priority is to keep his partner monitored 24/7 while she's there – but is it for Eden's protection, or to protect their suspects from her?

Across the city at the Utulla Tip, someone is watching Hades Archer, a man whose criminal reputation is the stuff of legend. Unmasking the stalker for him might be just what Frank needs to stay out of trouble while Eden's away.

'But it's going to take a trip into Hades's past to discover the answers - and what Frank uncovers may well put everyone in danger . . .' (Publication summary)

2014 winner y separately published work icon In the Morning I'll be Gone Adrian McKinty , Crows Nest : Allen and Unwin , 2014 6975475 2014 single work novel thriller

'Sean Duffy's got nothing. And when you've got nothing to lose, you have everything to gain. So when MI5 come knocking, Sean knows exactly what they want, and what he'll want in return, but he hasn't got the first idea how to get it.

'Of course he's heard about the spectacular escape of IRA man Dermot McCann from Her Majesty's Maze prison. And he knew, with chilly certainty, that their paths would cross. But finding Dermot leads Sean to an old locked room mystery, and into the kind of danger where you can lose as easily as winning.

'From old betrayals and ancient history to 1984's most infamous crime, Sean tries not to fall behind in the race to annihilation. Can he outrun the most skilled terrorist the IRA ever created? And will the past catch him first?' (Publisher's blurb)

2013 winner y separately published work icon Blackwattle Creek Geoff McGeachin , Camberwell : Viking , 2012 Z1866470 2012 single work novel crime mystery

'It's September 1957, two days before the VFL grand final, and Detective Sergeant Charlie Berlin finally has some time off. But there's no rest for this decent if damaged man, still troubled by his wartime experience as a bomber pilot and POW. A recently widowed friend asks a favour and he's dropped into something much bigger than he bargained for. When he uncovers dubious practices at a Melbourne funeral parlour, it's quickly obvious that anyone asking questions is also asking for trouble. His offsider is beaten and left for dead, witnesses are warned off, Special Branch is on his case, and even Berlin's young family may be at risk. His pursuit of the truth leads him to Blackwattle Creek, once an asylum for the criminally insane and now home to even darker evils. And if Berlin thought government machinations during World War II were devious, those of the Cold War leave them for dead . . . ' (Source: publisher website)

2012 winner y separately published work icon Pig Boy J. C. Burke , North Sydney : Random House Australia , 2011 Z1775677 2011 single work novel young adult crime

'On Damon Styles's eighteenth birthday, he is expelled from school. But it's what happens afterwards that changes everything.

'Now Damon must come up with a plan. It's the only way he can think straight. First, get his firearms licence. Then, see if the Pigman will give him a job - pig hunting will teach Damon what he needs to know. And he'd better get a lock for his wardrobe so his mother won't find what he's hiding.

'Damon's taking matters into his own hands - but so is the town of Strathven.' (From the publisher's website.)

2011 winner y separately published work icon The Diggers Rest Hotel Geoff McGeachin , Camberwell : Penguin , 2010 Z1712260 2010 single work novel crime mystery 'In 1947, two years after witnessing the death of a young Jewish woman in Poland, Charlie Berlin has rejoined the police force a different man. Sent to investigate a spate of robberies in rural Victoria, he soon discovers that World War II has changed even the most ordinary of places and people.

'An ex-bomber pilot and former POW, Berlin is struggling to fit back in: grappling with post-traumatic stress disorder, the ghosts of his dead crew and his futile attempts to numb the pain.

'When Berlin travels to Albury-Wodonga to track down the gang behind the robberies, he suspects he's a problem cop being set up to fail. Taking a room at the Diggers Rest Hotel in Wodonga, he sets about solving a case that no one else can - with the help of feisty, ambitious journalist Rebecca Green and rookie constable Rob Roberts, the only cop in town he can trust.

'Then the decapitated body of a young girl turns up in a back alley, and Berlin's investigations lead him ever further through layers of small-town fears, secrets and despair.

'The first Charlie Berlin mystery takes us into a world of secret alliances and loyalties - and a society dealing with the effects of a war that changed men forever.' (From the publisher's website.)
2010 winner y separately published work icon Wyatt Garry Disher , Melbourne : Text Publishing , 2010 Z1660125 2010 single work novel crime

'The job's a jewel heist. The kind Wyatt likes. Nothing extravagant, nothing greedy. Stake out the international courier, one Alain Le Page, hold up the goods in transit and get away fast.

'Wyatt prefers to work alone, but this is Eddie Oberin's job. Eddie's very smart ex-wife Lydia has the inside information. Add Wyatt's planning genius and meticulous preparation, and what could possibly go wrong?

'Plenty. And when you wrong Wyatt, you don't get to just walk away.' (From the publisher's website.)

2009 winner y separately published work icon Smoke and Mirrors : A Brad Chen Novel Kel Robertson , Port Adelaide : Ginninderra Press , 2008 Z1533116 2008 single work novel crime detective

'Ace detective Brad Chen is lured back to work by the double murder of a Whitlam government minister and the editor of his political memoirs. The body count rises as Chen uncovers the deadly secret behind the most momentous events in Australian political history.'

Source: Ginninderra Press website, (Sighted 30/09/2008)

Joint winner with Peter Corris, Deep Water.
2009 winner y separately published work icon Deep Water Peter Corris , Crows Nest : Allen and Unwin , 2009 Z1554857 2009 single work novel crime detective

'Stripped of his private detective licence and devastated by the murder of his partner Lily Truscott, Cliff Hardy travels to the US to help Lily's brother's tilt for a world boxing title. In San Diego he suffers a heart attack and undergoes a quadruple bypass. He meets nurse Margaret McKinley, an expatriate Australian who is concerned about the disappearance in Sydney of her father - renowned geologist Dr Henry McKinley.

'Hardy takes on the investigation, and it turns out that McKinley had discovered a way to tap into the massive Sydney basin aquifer, a possible solution to the city's water problems. Working with Margaret and his daughter Megan, Hardy confronts an old enemy and opposing forces of big business bent on exploiting the discovery - and prepared to kill for it.

'Energised by the case and by his attachment to Margaret, Hardy obeys the strict rules for the restoration of his health - but in pursuing the truth and the malefactors, he makes his own rules.'

Joint winner with Kel Robertson, Smoke & Mirrors.
2008 winner y separately published work icon Shatter Michael Robotham , London : Sphere , 2008 Z1488264 2008 single work novel crime thriller

'A naked woman in red high-heeled shoes is perched on the edge of Clifton Suspension Bridge with her back pressed to the safety fence, weeping into a mobile phone. Clinical psychologist Joseph O'Loughlin is only feet away, desperately trying to talk her down. She whispers, 'you don't understand,' and jumps.

'Later, Joe has a visitor - the woman's teenage daughter, a runaway from boarding school. She refuses to believe that her mother would have jumped off the bridge - not only would she not commit suicide, she is terrified of heights.

'Joe wants to believe her, but what would drive a woman to such a desperate act? Whose voice? What evil?' (Publication summary)

2007 winner y separately published work icon Chain of Evidence Garry Disher , New York (City) : Soho Press , 2007 Z1357231 2007 single work novel crime detective

'Hal Challis is 1000 kilometres away from the Peninsula, watching his father die. Ellen Destry is left to mind his house for a month. And his job.

'Katie Blasko, aged nine, has disappeared. Ellen fears abduction-the Peninsula is sleepy, picturesque, prosperous, but she suspects the existence of a paedophile ring. Superintendent McQuarrie scoffs: the girl came from the Seaview Estate, notorious for broken homes and truancy. Ellen's team investigates. They find suspects, but an officer is murdered and his witness discredited. They find DNA evidence, but the sample is contaminated. Who can Ellen trust, when lawyers, judges and police officers might be involved?

'Meanwhile, Challis feels out of time and place in the remote outback town of his youth. Past failures haunt him; his father is dying slowly and bitterly; and Homicide Squad detectives have arrived from the city to question his sister about a murder. Challis can cope with being warned off. He can cope with his father. But soon the past catches with him.' (Publication summary)

2006 joint winner y separately published work icon The Broken Shore Peter Temple , Melbourne : Text Publishing , 2005 Z1207328 2005 single work novel crime (taught in 9 units)

'Joe Cashin was different once. He moved easily then; was surer and less thoughtful. But there are consequences when you've come so close to dying. For Cashin, they included a posting away from the world of Homicide to the quiet place on the coast where he grew up. Now all he has to do is play the country cop and walk the dogs. And sometimes think about how he was before.

'Then prominent local Charles Bourgoyne is bashed and left for dead. Everything seems to point to three boys from the nearby Aboriginal community; everyone seems to want it to. But Cashin is unconvinced. And as tragedy unfolds relentlessly into tragedy, he finds himself holding onto something that might be better let go.'
Source: Publisher's website (Sighted 22/8/11)

2006 joint winner y separately published work icon Crook as Rookwood Chris Nyst , Pymble : HarperCollins Australia , 2005 Z1185843 2005 single work novel crime

'From the writer of the hit film Gettin' Square - Some people are bad for your health ... In an inner suburb of Sydney, a pensioner is bashed in his own home. An old Labor Party stalwart loses the faith and goes looking for someone to blame. And a young woman called Slick finds an unsettling connection between the death of her ex-husband and her new boss. When Gold Coast lawyer Eddie Moran comes to Sydney to look after Slick's interests after the death of her ex, he finds a simple drug overdose isn't so simple after all. It's not just the crooked cops, it's the strong whiff of a deal being done higher up and well offstage. From sleazy Sydney backstreets to the new-money glamour of the Gold Coast, this is the world where politics and business meet, and where the consequences are far-reaching - and surprising ...'

Source : publisher's blurb

2005 winner y separately published work icon Lost Michael Robotham , Australia : Sphere , 2004 Z1185132 2004 single work novel crime thriller

'Mickey Carlyle disappeared, in a building with only five floors and eleven flats ? How is this possible? Everyone knows that Mickey Carlyle is dead and a man is in prison for her murder, except Detective Inspector Vincent Ruiz, who cannot stop searching for her and will not give up hope that she is still alive. Vincent is found one night, shot and with a picture of Mickey in his pocket; he seems to have amnesia. After being accused of faking amnesia and under investigation by his colleagues he retraces his steps, and relives that night with the help of a psychologist. Facts, not memories will tell him what happened to Mickey Carlisle. ' (Publisher's blurb)

2004 winner y separately published work icon Degrees of Connection Jon Cleary , Pymble : HarperCollins Australia , 2003 Z1073877 2003 single work novel crime detective
2003 winner y separately published work icon White Dog Peter Temple , Melbourne : Text Publishing , 2003 Z1011755 2003 single work novel crime

'Jack Irish—gambler, cook, and cabinet maker, finder of people who don't want to be found—has a new job, hunting for evidence that might save the beautiful sculptor Sarah Longmore from a murder rap.

'White Dog is the final installment in the Jack Irish series, featuring Peter Temple's best-loved protagonist.' (Publication summary)

2002 winner y separately published work icon Death Delights Gabrielle Lord , Rydalmere : Hodder Headline Australia , 2001 Z872920 2001 single work novel crime

'Forensic scientist Jack McCann, an ex-crime scene detective, is separated from his difficult wife and living with his 17-year-old son, Greg. He is also trying to track down his teenage daughter, Jacinta, who ran away two years ago - an event that stirred memories of an earlier tragedy, the abduction of his little sister Rosie from outside the family home in 1975.

'Reluctantly, Jack agrees to help a detective friend investigate a series of grisly pedophile murders. Then an anonymous telephone tip-off about Jacinta's whereabouts leads Jack into an intimate relationship with an enigmatic woman, a relationship that threatens not only to compromise the entire investigation, but also to bring him appallingly close to the mutilator murderer.

'As Jack uncovers the extraordinary link between the old and new crimes, he is forced to confront the destructive patterns within his own family. But before he can fully unravel the mystery, he unwittingly exposes both himself and his son to deadly danger.'

Source :

2001 joint winner y separately published work icon The Second Coming : The Passion of Joe Panther Andrew Masterson , Pymble : Flamingo , 2000 Z668768 2000 single work novel crime

''There is no god,' I told him. Then I drove the syringe up into his nostril and straight through the side of his nose.' Joe Panther is a psychotic, alcoholic, violent, substance-abusing heroin dealer. He is also, he believes, Joshua Ben Pantera, born two thousand years ago, the son of Mary and the Lord God Yaweh Himself, not dead yet, the crucified Jesus: still around, abandoned by his Father, abused by the world, and as pissed off as hell.'

Source : publisher's blurb

2001 joint winner y separately published work icon Dead Point Peter Temple , Sydney : Bantam Books , 2000 Z668706 2000 single work novel crime
2000 winner y separately published work icon Shooting Star Peter Temple , Sydney : Bantam Books , 1999 Z10555 1999 single work novel crime

'Pat Carson’s old eyes were on me, looking for something.
‘Man is born unto trouble,’ he said.
I said, ‘As the sparks fly upwards.’
Deep lines at the corners of his mouth. ‘Know your Job. Soldier. Policeman. Haven’t been a bloody priest too, have you?’

'Anne Carson: fifteen, beautiful, wayward. Abducted.

'The rich Carsons have closed ranks and summoned Frank Calder, subject to strict instructions. This is not the first kidnapping in the Carson family and hard lessons have been learned.

'But are the two events connected? And is greed the motivation? Revenge? Or could it be something else? To find out, Frank Calder must go beyond his brief.

'And his every step into the darkness may end a girl’s life.'

Source: Publisher's blurb (Text ed.).

1999 winner y separately published work icon Amaze Your Friends Peter Doyle , Milsons Point : Random House , 1998 Z376939 1998 single work novel crime humour

'As 1959 dawns, Billy Glasheen is in deeper trouble than ever. The past has caught up with him in the form of Fred Slaney, Sydney's meanest, most corrupt cop, who's got Billy framed up for the murder of his crooked partner. Not that Slaney wants to arrest him - what he wants is ten grand. He gives Billy a choice - pay up within six months, or take early retirement, forever. Billy can't think of a legal way to come up with the money that fast, and anyway, earning an honest living has never been his strength. 

'So what's the answer? Up the ante on Uncle Dick's mailorder scams? Rig a horse race or two? Rob a bank? Maybe all of the above? Surely something will work...and it does, though not in the way you might expect - and not before Billy's situation gets a whole lot worse.'

Source: Publisher's blurb (2019 ed.).

1997 winner y separately published work icon The Brush-Off Shane Maloney , Melbourne : Text Publishing , 1996 Z316121 1996 single work novel crime humour (taught in 3 units)
— Appears in: The Murray Whelan Trilogy 2001;

'On a sultry summer night Murray Whelan is in the Botanical Gardens tasting Salina Fleet's apricot lips. Meanwhile the body of an artist is being fished from the ornamental moat outside the Art Gallery. The papers called it suicide. The police say it's an accident.

'Political minder, brushed-off lover and art buff on the make, Murray goes looking for the big picture. He finds there's more than meets the eye among the self-made millionaires, ruthless culture vultures, and cool operators of Melbourne's art world. He learns that when you dabble with death there's nothing abstract about a loaded gun.

'Murray Whelan, the hero of Stiff, Shane Maloney's brilliant debut novel, is back at his richly futile best. A romantic comedy and drop-dead thriller, The Brush-Off mixes high art with low blows.' (Publication summary)