The Weekly Review book club: Michael Rowland reviews The Greater Good

Photo: Julian Kingma

Photo: Julian Kingma

Welcome to our monthly book club, where we invite you to read along with ABC News Breakfast‘s Michael Rowland.

Each month, Michael will share his impressions of his chosen book and we want your thoughts on each title.

To join the conversation, make sure you like our Facebook page. Your mini review could be featured in the next instalment of our book club.

At the end of the year, three readers will receive a bundle of great titles from Australia’s top publishers.

Make sure you share your reflections of Michael’s most recently reviewed books on The Weekly Review’s Facebook page to be in the running.

The May read: The Greater Good

John Bailey is a broken man. After one too many shaves with death as a war correspondent in Iraq, Bailey finds himself back in Sydney as a 53-year-old police reporter, drinking to forget.

Dispatched to cover an inner-city murder, Bailey stumbles onto a plot that extends all the way to the corridors of power in Canberra and catapults our jaded hero into a world of trouble.

Tim Ayliffe’s debut novel is a crime thriller with the lot: murder, deceit, corruption and a hint of romance.

The ABC journalist (full disclosure: he’s a colleague and friend who’s told tall tales for years) has a reporter’s eye for detail.

Drawing on his extensive experience, Ayliffe takes you deep inside the worlds of politics and the media, with a heavy dose of international intrigue thrown in. Chasing the story, Bailey has to confront shady police, scheming politicians, Chinese spies and haunting flashbacks to Fallujah. Helping him out is old CIA hand Ronnie Johnson, who has mysteriously popped up in Sydney. A man well versed in the black arts, Ronnie ‘had never killed anyone who hadn’t deserved it’.

Sprinkled through the book are Ayliffe’s dry observations on the media (the radio shock jocks who are ‘inflammatory morons masquerading as journalists’) and, in a line that will have all of Melbourne cheering, a frustrated Bailey laments Sydney turning into a ‘bullshitter’s paradise’.

Michael’s last word

The Greater Good is the first in a trilogy. 
It is easy to see John Bailey proving just as popular a literary figure as Peter Temple’s Jack Irish or Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan.

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Next month’s read

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Michael Rowland is the co-host of ABC News Breakfast, weekdays 6-9am on ABC TV.

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