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Drowning by Bryan Brown

In a serene coastal town in northern New South Wales, tragedy strikes when the lifeless body of a local teen, David, washes ashore, during what should have been a routine evening swim. However, appearances can be deceiving.


Meanwhile, the disappearance of Lelia, an independent backpacker employed at the local café, barely registers with locals. Café owner Benny assumes it’s just another transient worker moving on and is unfazed. But, underlying unease prompts him to voice his concerns to Adrian who is a former cop, now servicing the tranquil coast with an illicit sideline.

Meanwhile, a looming threat emerges from the shadows on the outskirts of town. A motorcycle gang readies itself for a significant shipment from South America, hinting at a darker web of criminality infiltrating the community. As tensions escalate and secrets unravel, the picturesque façade of the coastal haven crumbles.


Murder, drugs, lies and liaisons… this thriller has it all. Bryan’s laconic writing strikes a balance between believability and imagination. If you are familiar with Bryan’s storytelling you’ll enjoy his trademark narrative style. He effectively weaves suspense into the narrative to increasingly reveal more about the characters and their intertwined fates. Gripping, gritty and realistic, I’d recommend this novel to readers who enjoy crime and mystery with a twist of humour.


Australian author Bryan Brown is well-known as an actor, having appeared in over 80 films and TV shows. The Drowning is his second book and follows a collection of crime stories, Sweet Jimmy.


Reviewer: Andrea Molloy

Allen & Unwin


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