If God Sleeps
Penguin, $16.95pb, 357pp
Justice is traditionally depicted blindfolded – fair game, one might think, for those who would stack her scales. If God sleeps, who looks out for His little ones in a system that increasingly values property above the person, and expediency above all?
This pacy American crime thriller from an intriguing new Australian voice responds to the common current perception that justice is weighted against the victim, particularly women and children, and that the courts hold life cheap. Demoralised judges, already concerned, according to the ABC, about declines in pay and public respect, will get no joy from J.M. Calder’s caustic representation.
Chief dispenser of acid is Calder’s star cop, Lieutenant Solomon Glass of the unnamed City’s Police Department, a scarred and seamy veteran with all the traditional attributes - a smart mouth, a dark past, a classical education and a load of attitude. Malone is his equally standard-issue young Irish sidekick, dewy-eyed with respect and loyalty, but able on occasion to give as good as he gets: ‘Under one seat he’d found a paperback. An old Penguin Iliad. Strange what Soll went for. Malone had always had him down as an Odyssey man.’