Shore Leave

David Whish-Wilson

Shore Leave
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Shore Leave

David Whish-Wilson

It is Fremantle in 1989 and Frank is at home, suffering from an undiagnosed and debilitating illness.

When Frank is called in to investigate an incident at a local brothel, it soon appears there is a link between the death of two women and the arrival of the US nuclear-powered aircraft carrier Carl Vinson in the port city. Shore Leave is the fourth book in the Frank Swann series. It also features Lee Southern, the main character from True West.


Frank Swann is not cut out for any kind of crime legwork anymore. He’s tired, he’s sick all the time, and nobody can figure out what it is that’s wrong with him. All he knows is he can’t get halfway through a conversation without feeling nauseous, but people are still knocking on his door all the time, asking for help. First, there’s the brothel owner needing help with a suspicious client; then there’s his old friend, the officer of the US navy, off the aircraft carrier docked in the port; not to mention the calls Frank’s been ignoring about thefts from a goldmine. Frank’s never been good at saying no – or avoiding problems – and when one of the brothel’s sex workers is killed, apparently at the hands of a sailor, he finds himself as the intermediary between local police and the navy’s investigators, each at the other’s throat to catch the culprit first.

As the Fremantle Doctor blows its cool sea breeze across town, soothing the summer heat and unearthing the connections between the good, the bad, and the in-between of the city, Swann makes his rounds, gets people to talk, knows when to back off, finds ways around closed crime scenes. Lurking at the edges of these crimes are an escaped convict at the end of his sentence, a neo-Nazi looking to prove himself, and a bent cop intent on taking Swann down. In the middle of it all is Swann himself: a man you want onside when shit gets real, and with David Whish-Wilson, it relentlessly, thrillingly, always will.

Fiona Hardy is our monthly crime fiction columnist, and also the bestselling author of the acclaimed How To Make a Movie in 12 Days, and How To Write the Soundtrack To Your Life.

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