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It’s September 1957 and Melbourne police detective Charlie Berlin, former bomber pilot and ex-POW, has wangled himself a week off.

But there’s no rest for Charlie, a decent but damaged man still troubled by his wartimes experiences, when a just widowed friend of his wife asks a favour and he’s dropped into something a hell of a lot bigger than he bargained for.

A local funeral parlour has been burying bodies with parts missing and when a Hungarian émigré hearse driver points Berlin in the right direction for some answers it quickly becomes obvious anyone asking the wrong questions is in real danger.

With his partner beaten and left for dead, witnesses warned off, Special Branch on his case, and people he doesn’t know watching his every move Berlin realises even his young family may be in danger.

Berlin’s pursuit of the truth leads him to Blackwattle Creek, once an asylum for the criminally insane and now a foreboding home to even darker evils.

And if Charlie thought government machinations during World War II were devious, those of the Cold War leave them for dead…


From author the of THE DIGGERS REST HOTEL, the 2011 Ned Kelly Best Crime Fiction winner and a book described as “a feisty, beautifully researched thriller … shot through with brilliant insights and great dialogue… fitfully lit by explosive flashbacks to battle in the air”, Geoffrey McGeachin’s new BLACKWATTLE CREEK is richly evocative of the mood of the times and a cracking good tale with a wryly macabre wit and a sobering core.


Melbourne-born Geoffrey McGeachin worked for many years as a photographer based in Los Angeles, New York and Hong Kong before moving to Sydney’s Bondi Beach where he now teaches photography and writes. His first book FAT FIFTY AND F***ED! won the 2003 Australian Popular Fiction competition and was followed by three novels featuring globe trotting photographer/spy Alby Murdoch. His fifth book The Diggers Rest Hotel introduced the character Charlie Berlin and won the Crime Writers Association of Australia’s 2011 Ned Kelly Award for Best Fiction.

To learn more about Geoffrey, please visit his website.