QUOTA is the debut novel of Australian author Jock Serong. The novel is set in Melbourne and a sea side town on the South Coat of Victoria.
Charles Jardim is a lawyer whose life is in crisis. He has just had a tirade against a judge that resulted in 2 days in the lockup and could mean the end to his career. He has also just broken up with his fiancé (a much more serious lawyer than he is). Then an older barrister friend throws him a lifeline.
Harlan Weir has just sent Jardim to the small town of Dauphin where Matthew Lanegan has been murdered. Local men Skip and Mick are suspected of carrying out the murder, but the statement made by Matthew’s brother Patrick is full of holes. Jardim’s job is to find out the truth from Patrick. To complicate matters, the 4 men were involved in the illegal abalone business as well as drug distribution.
Jardim arrives to a town that is hostile to the outsider sticking his nose in. Mick’s family – the Murdochs own most of the town and don’t hesitate to tell Jardim to leave things alone.
It takes a while but eventually Jardim finds out what really went on the night that Matthew died. But will this be enough when the case gets to court.
The results of the court case weren’t much of a surprise but what happened after was.
This was an excellent first novel. It was very Australian but also depicted small town mentality from around the world. The descriptions in the novel were brilliant and a pleasure to read and as an Australian I could definitely get the feel of the small faded seaside town run by a bully.
Jock Serong’s own experience as a lawyer showed in his courtroom descriptions.
I’m looking forward to reading other novels by Jock Serong.