Text, $32.95 pb, 221 pp
Dreamland is the first foray into crime fiction of British-born writer Tom Gilling. His earlier novels, The Sooterkin (2000) and Miles McGinty (2001), were historically themed. His closest brush with the world of crime was Bagman, the posthumous memoir of the corrupt Queensland cop Jack Herbert, co-authored in 2004.
The premise of Dreamland is encouraging. Sydney journalist Nick Carmody meets up with playboy Danny Grogan, an old St Dominic’s schoolmate, at the wake of a fellow student, an apparent suicide. Carmody, a scholarship boy from Maroubra, had formed ‘an alliance of outsiders’ at school with Grogan, the son of a billionaire Sydney developer, the chairman-for-life of Grogan Constructions. Life at St Dominic’s, named after the patron saint of juvenile delinquents, was governed not by ‘the immorality of privilege’ but by its ‘amorality’, Carmody observes while catching up with Grogan Jr at his ominously named nightclub, The Crypt.