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Bear Pit

Язык: Английский
Год издания: 2018 год
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      Bear Pit
Jon Cleary

Jon Cleary’s latest novel sees Scobie Malone crossing swords with a number of old adversaries following the assassination of a leading politician on the steps of the Olympic Tower.As the Sydney 2000 Games draw ever closer, the city’s great and good assemble to celebrate the opening of the Olympic Tower. But the gala turns grisly when the State Premier is shot by a sniper.In his twenty years at the head of the Labor Party The Dutchman had made any number of enemies. Rivals claimed he’d reached his sell-by date and should retire. But who wanted him out of the way badly enough to hire a hitman? And with ruthless casino boss Jack Aldwych and his son flanking the Premier at the time of the shooting, who can be sure that the hitman found his true target?As if politcal skulduggery and high-stakes gambling weren’t enough to contend with, Scobie finds that his daughter Maureen, now a tabloid-TV journalist, is working the same case – with terrifying consequences.

Dedication (#ulink_bd50cdcc-3eb0-5893-9303-8eec1f3a1f5e)


Benjamin and Isabel


Cover (#u9fbc4985-34fa-53a6-822a-351a390f83a8)

Title Page (#u17cbe1dd-b1b7-502e-8ba9-31c89c5fb571)

Dedication (#ulink_1d043e4b-f5b4-5163-b06d-2369e0a2125b)

Chapter One (#ulink_acd4287d-fecd-5f82-ae72-0d502f412a2d)

Chapter Two (#ulink_19937fbe-d18e-5f96-933c-f59104802f71)

Chapter Three (#litres_trial_promo)

Chapter Four (#litres_trial_promo)

Chapter Five (#litres_trial_promo)

Chapter Six (#litres_trial_promo)

Chapter Seven (#litres_trial_promo)

Chapter Eight (#litres_trial_promo)

Chapter Nine (#litres_trial_promo)

Chapter Ten (#litres_trial_promo)

Chapter Eleven (#litres_trial_promo)

Chapter Twelve (#litres_trial_promo)

Keep Reading (#litres_trial_promo)

About the Author (#litres_trial_promo)

Also by the Author (#litres_trial_promo)

Copyright (#litres_trial_promo)

About the Publisher (#litres_trial_promo)

Chapter One (#ulink_267d387b-9dc4-5cab-ab59-b684fdfcd715)


Malone switched out the light in his daughter’s bedroom.


He switched it on again. ‘I thought you were asleep.’

‘And I can’t sleep with the light on? God, you’re so stingy! Can I have the light on while I’m thinking?’

‘Depends what you’re thinking.’ He went into her room, sat down in the chair at her desk against the wall. ‘Problems?’

‘Not really.’ Maureen sat up on her bed, nodded at the computer on the desk. ‘I thought I’d try my hand at a Mills and Boon romance. There’s money in it if you click.’

He turned and read from the computer screen:

Justin unbuttoned Clothilde’s tight blouse and her breasts fell out. He picked them up and put them back in again.

‘Thank you,’ said Clothilde, polite even in passion. ‘I’m always losing them.’

‘Not much romance there,’ said Malone with a grin. ‘What follows?’

‘Nothing. That’s the E-N-D. All I have to do is find sixty thousand words to go in front of it. I don’t think I’m cut out for romance –I can’t take it seriously.’

‘Is mat what your boyfriends think?’

She ignored that. ‘Maybe I should try grunge fiction. That had a run a while ago.’

‘Don’t expect me to read it – I get enough grunge out on the job. How’s it going at work?’

Maureen was three months out of university and working at Channel 15 as a researcher. It was a television station that put ratings before responsibility, that insisted the bottom line was the best line in any of its productions. It operated with a staff that was skeletal compared to those of other channels, it had no stars amongst its presenters and no overseas bureaux, buying its international material from CNN and other suppliers. Maureen had hoped to go to work for the ABC, the government channel, where, despite harping from Canberra, no one knew what a bottom line was. She had dreamed of working for Foreign Correspondent or Four Corners, quality shows that compared with the best overseas. Instead she had taken the only job offered her and was a researcher on Wanted for Questioning, a half-hour true crime show with top ratings, especially amongst criminals. They wrote fan notes, under assumed names, to the presenter, a girl with a high voice and low cleavage.

‘We’re doing a special, an hour show on faction fighting in the Labor Party.’

‘On Wanted for Questioning? The ratings will go through the roof.’

She grinned, an expression that made her her father’s daughter. She had his dark hair and dark blue eyes, but her features were closer to her mother’s; she was attractive rather than beautiful, but men would always look at her. She had none of his calmness, there was always energy that had to be expended; she would invent hurdles and barricades if none presented themselves. What saved her from intensity was her humour.

‘No, this is a one-off special – we haven’t been meeting our local quota.’ Channel 15 ran mostly American shows; its programme director thought the BBC was a museum. ‘The word has come down from the top that we’re to pull no punches.’

‘Watch out when you get amongst the Labor factions – they’re throwing punches all the time. Ask Claire.’

‘I have. She’s told me where to go and whom to talk to.’ Like Malone she knew the difference between who and whom. Lisa, her mother, foreign-born and educated, respected English grammar more than the local natives. ‘I think she’s traumatized at what she’s learnt.’

Claire, the elder daughter, had moved out of the Malone house six months ago and was now sharing a flat with her boyfriend Jason. She had graduated last year in Law and now was working for a small firm of lawyers who handled Labor Party business. She was apolitical and Malone and Lisa had been surprised when she had taken the job. With her calm commonsense and her taking the long view, she had told them it was only a first step. She wanted to be a criminal lawyer, a Senior Counsel at the Bar, but first she had to learn about in-fighting. Malone had told her she should have gone into union business, but she had only smiled and told him she knew where she was going. And he was sure she was right.

‘There’s a State election coming up. Is this the time to start ferreting? You could be accused of bias.’

She grinned again. ‘Only the ABC is accused of that. When did you ever hear of a commercial station accused of being biased? The politicians, both sides, know where the majority of viewers are. They’re not going to tread on the voters’ toes.’

He shook his head; without realizing it, he had trained his girls too well. ‘You should’ve been a cop.’

‘I always left that to Claire – remember she wanted to join the Service?’

‘I talked her out of it,’ he said and was glad. Five years after it had happened he still had the occasional vivid memory of Peta Smith, one of his Homicide detectives, lying dead with two bullets in her back. The Crime Scene outline of her body had once or twice been an image in a dream in which the wraith of Claire had risen out of the outline. ‘What have you dug up so far?’

‘Some of the inner branches are stacked – they want to topple the Premier before the Olympics. There are three or four starters who want to be up there on the official dais at the opening ceremony. A billion viewers around the world – they’ll never have another spotlight like that.’

‘Hans Vanderberg isn’t going to let anyone take his place. He’s got his own gold medal already minted.’

He stood up, reached across and ruffled her hair. Lately he had been touching his children more, as if getting closer to them as he got closer to losing them. Maureen would be gone from the house before too long; and even Tom, the lover of his mother’s cooking, would eventually move out. Malone had hugged them when they were small, then there had been the long period when intimacy had become an embarrassment. He was his own mother’s son: Brigid Malone hadn’t kissed him since he was eight years old. Con Malone had shaken his son’s hand on a couple of occasions; when he saw footballers and cricketers hugging each other he said he wanted to throw up. He actually said spew; he never used euphemisms if they were weak substitutions. He never used a euphemism for love, for love was never mentioned. In the Malone family while Scobie was growing up it was just understood that it was there. There was no need to mention it.

‘Take care.’

She looked up at him; there was love in her smiling eyes and he was touched. ‘Don’t worry about me, Dad. I’m not going to get in the way of any punches. What are you wearing that old leather jacket for?’
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