Peter Corris: Gun Control


The fortieth book in the Cliff Hardy canon, GUN CONTROL, is sure as a sawn off shottie, powerful and compact.

Impossible to imagine the Australian crime thriller landscape without Cliff Hardy – Peter Corris’ first book, The Dying Trade, laying the foundations of a series that has matured and manifested a character that not only walks the mean streets of Sydney and environs, but makes commentary on the political and social morass of the day.

Nothing has changed!

“Gun control was constantly in the news with drive by shootings happening regularly and a conservative government trumpeting its law and order credentials while allowing amateur hunting in national parks.”

GUN CONTROL begins with an epigram from The Big Sleep – “My, my, my! Such a lot of guns around town and so few brains”.

Philip Marlowe’s sentiments are soundly echoed by Cliff Hardy, three score and ten years later and speaking about Sydney rather than Los Angeles.

Hardy is hired by a former Olympic sharp shooter to solve the apparent suicide of his son, or at least find out who supplied the firearm.

This pitches Cliff into a world of crooked cops, former members of the Gun Control Unit, and the whistle-blowers from within ranks that want to see them brought down.

Into this lethal mix, toss in a bikie gang with an erudite and urbane leader, and the suicide’s ex who believes Cliff could relieve the bereaved ….and is proved right… not to mention the suicide’s sister and alcoholic mother…

The action takes Hardy from his Glebe habitat through the inner west and out to Camden and Katoomba.

“Like most Sydneysiders I’m ambivalent about the Blue Mountains. We’re glad they’re there but, with snow in the winter, searing heat in the summer and no significant sports venues, we feel it’s a kind of foreign territory to be visited very selectively.”

Forty books on and Hardy makes a good fist at fucking, fisticuffs weaving and ducking, flushing out the felons, for the usual fee. Plus expletives. And smartarse jokes.

GUN CONTROL by Peter Corris is published by Allen & Unwin for a lobster and a bluey.