‘Before it Breaks’ is the first novel that Dave Warner has written in 15 years and it is the first that I’ve read.
DI Dan Clement was a high flying homicide detective in Perth until his marriage fell apart. He followed his ex-wife back to his small hometown of Broome on the north West Australian coast so that he could be near his daughter.
He now lives in a room illegally converted into an apartment and his detective skills are in danger of atrophying with the criminal set of Broome mostly comprising drunks and petty thieves.
Then the body of a murdered man is found in a crocodile infested water hole. Clement must use all of his dormant skills and get the most from his inexperienced but enthusiastic team to avoid having the case taken over by the experts in Perth.
Who would want to murder an elderly, pot growing ex-policeman from Germany? Dieter Schaffer seemed to be a popular man.
Then there is another murder and finally an abduction. Clement is sure that the victims’ pasts hold the key to what is happening but finding out about the victims is difficult.
In the background of the investigation, there is a cyclone brewing. The heat is oppressive, there is humidity as the sky starts to press down, but the desert is not far away. Travelling anywhere from Broome involves hours on the road.
The final scenes have Clement chasing the killer through bushland in a cyclone.
The story was excellent. The beginning of the novel was a bit difficult to get into, but it was well worth persisting. Once the story got going I was swept up by it.
The characters were excellent. Clement had the typical cop life – divorced and depressed, but there was nothing else typical about him or the other characters.
Hopefully Dave Warner will not take such a long break before the next novel and I hope to see DI Dan Clement back again.
Book Published 2015