Comeback, by Peter Corris

Comeback is the latest in the long-running Cliff Hardy series. Hardy is a little older and, sometimes, slower, but he still manages to get himself in and out of all kinds of scrapes, making friends and enemies equally well

‘I was heading for the golf course. I wanted to take a look at it. I’m going to play there next…Jesus Christ!’
“He’s crowding me off the roa. I have to stop. Shit, oh shit….’
I heard two sharp reports and then nothing except the buzz of an open connection.
‘Bobby! Bobby!’
The buzz stopped.

Cliff Hardy is back in business. Finally he has his PI licence back and is free to take on new clients. But new clients are slow to come – and then, when he finally gets one, the client gets himself murdered. Bobby Forrest seemed like a nice enough guy – so why was he being followed, and, more importantly, who wanted him dead? As Cliff investigates he finds links to his own past, and plenty pf dead ends. It’s going to take all of his skill to solve the case and keep himself out of trouble. Come to think of it, staying out of trouble is not something likely to happen where Cliff Hardy is involved.

Comeback is the latest in the long-running Cliff Hardy series. Hardy is a little older and, sometimes, slower, but he still manages to get himself in and out of all kinds of scrapes, making friends and enemies equally well. Fans of Peter Corris’ work, won’t be disappointed with this latest installment, but it will also please new readers.


Comeback, by Peter Corris
Allen & Unwin, 2012
ISBN 9781742377247

This book can be purchased from good bookstores or online from Fishpond. Buying through this link supports Aussiereviews.

Follow the Money, by Peter Corris

When beautiful young women kiss you on the cheek you know you’re over the hill, but I didn’t really feel like that. As Wesley said, I still had the moves.

Whether he has the moves or not, Cliff Hardy keeps finding himself in trouble. Since he had his private investigator’s license stripped, his life has taken multiple twists and turns. Most recently, he’s lost all his money to an unscrupulous financial advisor, and now he’s at risk of losing everything. So when he has the chance to find said advisor and perhaps avoid total ruin, he takes it – even though officially he’s not allowed to investigate anything.

Cliff Hardy has graced the pages of Australian crime novels for thirty years, and it is wonderful to see him back in Follow the Money. Like a favourite coat, each new tale fits comfortably so that fans know what to expect – but at the same time the character grows and develops a little each time. Follow the Money is no exception. Cliff is in new danger and must face new challenges personally too, meaning that the story avoids becoming too predictable.

Another satisfying instalment.

Follow the Money

Follow the Money, by Peter Corris
Allen & Unwin, 2011
ISBN 9781742373799

This book can be purchased in good bookstores, or online from Fishpond. Buying through this link supports Aussiereviews.

Torn Apart, by Peter Corris

I remembered what my mother – a hard-drinking, heavy-smoking, piano-thumping descendant of Irish gypsies – used to say when my father a dour, sober man, bemoaned a difficult circumstance: ‘Never you mind, boyo. Something’ll turn up.’ For her, it mostly did, and right then it did for me when I met my cousin, Patrick.

Cliff Hardy is at a loose end. He’s been stripped of his license as a private detective, his partner Lily is dead , and he has to take things slow after bypass surgery. But when his cousin Patrick appears, he finds himself with a new lease on life. Together the pair travel to Ireland, and then set up home together. It all seems to be working fine – until Patrick is murdered. This is personal – and Cliff is determined to solve the case and figure out who killed Patrick, and whether the bullet was in fact intended for Cliff himself.

Torn Apart is the thirty fifth title in the Cliff Hardy series, and has many of the traits which have ensured the success of the series, whilst still managing to be fresh enough to be interesting. Hardy continues to grow as a character – learning new things about himself and adapting to the changes his life brings. At the same time, he never fails to solve the mystery, or to get into scrapes along the way.

Torn Apart is a fine read, in a new C format paperback.

Torn Apart, by Peter Corris
Allen & Unwin, 2010

This book can be purchased online from Fishpond. Buying through this link supports Aussiereviews.

Deep Water, by Peter Corris

We were walking south along King Street when my mobile rang. I listened and broke into a run.

‘What?’ Hank said as he loped along beside me.

I stumbled, fought for balance. ‘Megan. She’s been attacked.’

After his last case saw his partner Lily murdered and his private detective licence cancelled, Cliff Hardy decides to spend some time in the US. But, while he is there, he has a heart attack and a quadruple bypass. While he is recovering he meets Australian nurse Margaret McKinley, whose father has disappeared. Back in Sydney, Hardy gets his old friend Hank Batchelor to take on the case though, in spite of his no longer being licensed, it is Hardy who takes the lead.

Margaret’s father, geologist Henry McKinley’s disappearance seems linked to his research into a possible solution to Sydney’s water crisis. With his disappearance, all details of where and how the massive Sydney basin aquifer could be tapped have been lost, but there are parties who will stop at nothing to unearth that information. Once again Hardy’s life is at risk as he tries to uncover the truth – but this time his daughter Megan’s life is also under threat as she works alongside her father.

Deep Water is the latest in the Cliff Hardy series and, in spite of Hardy’s lack of a PI licence, sees him up to many of his old tricks – getting himself into just as many scrapes in the search for the truth. At the same time, Hardy’s vulnerable side is on show in this instalment, as he deals with his mortality, the death of Lily and his relationship with his daughter.

A satisfying addition to the series.

Deep Water

Deep Water, by Peter Corris
Allen & Unwin, 2009

This book can be purchased online from Fishpond. Buying through this link supports Aussiereviews.

Open File, by Peter Corris

I dropped the envelopes in the box and felt a hard punch to the right kidney that drove the wind out of me. I spun around, fighting for breath, and took a solid thump down where you don’t want it. The toast and coffee threatened to come up, my eyes flooded and closed against the pain and I sagged against the postbox, still gasping, and with no strength to retaliate.

Cliff Hardy, private investigator, has been forced into retirement by deregistration. As he packs up his office, he comes across an open file, from a case back in 1984. Reading the file takes him back to his investigation into the disappearance of a teenager, Justin Hampshire.

What would cause a quiet, ambitious teenager to disappear without a trace? As Hardy delves into Hampshire’s past, he is drawn into a stream of events involving all members of the teenager’s family, a politician and various hired thugs. Hardy’s own life is endangered as he works to uncover the truth.

Open File is an intriguing mystery story, filled with the usual blend of mishaps, close calls and humour which mark this likeable larrikin detective’s work. He manages to alienate the police, charm some ladies and outwit the rogues who want him stopped. But is this mystery too hard for Hardy to solve?

A good read.

Open File, by Peter Corris
Allen & Unwin, 2008

This book can be purchased from Fishpond. Buying through this link supports Aussiereviews.

The Undertow, by Peter Corris

Cliff Hardy, private investigator, has been asked for help by his long time friend, Frank Parker. Parker’s former lover, Catherine Castiglione, has made contact, claiming that Parker is the father of her missing son. Hardy is asked to locate the son and see if he can prove the innocence of the man who believed he was the boy’s father – a long-dead doctor who died while serving time for a murder he may not have committed.

While Hardy investigates, he meets a cast of players in a mystery bigger than he envisions, including policemen past and current, prostitutes, dodgy plastic surgeons and more. He also faces more than one threat on his life, and risks losing his investigator’s licence yet again.

Undertow is the thirtieth book in the Cliff Hardy series. Author Peter Corris continues to use the formula which has give the series its longevity, including a likeable main character, plenty of twists and turns and a first person narration which gives the story immediacy and accessibility.

Good stuff.

The Undertow: A Cliff Hardy Novel (Cliff Hardy)

The Undertow, by Peter Corris
Allen & Unwin, 2006

You can purchase this book online at Fishpond.

Saving Billie, by Peter Corris

When Cliff Hardy does a mate a favour and takes on a gig as a bouncer at a high-society gig, he doesn’t expect it to lead him to his next case. But when he gets journalist Louise Kramer out of a tight situation, Hardy soon finds himself hired by Kramer to locate a missing person. Kramer is working on an expose of a media big-wheel, and one of her sources was Billie Marchant, a junkie and stripper, who has gone missing.

Soon, Hardy has tracked Billie down to the South-West of Sydney, but finding her could be the easy part. Saving her from those who are supposedly looking after her, and keeping her out of trouble could be more than Hardy expects. He needs to negotiate the way through some sinister obstacles – including rival media figures, Billie’s rocky relationship with her sister, and a client who unexpectedly turns up dead. In the end, Hardy has to wonder if saving Billie is really worth the trouble.

Saving Billie is the latest instalment in the 27-title Cliff Hardy series and is a fast-moving detective novel with the wry first-person voice of the hard-boiled detective. Fans of the series will appreciate this offering. Those who haven’t come across Cliff Hardy previously will not find it difficult to get to know the hero or follow his life.

Good stuff.

Saving Billie, by Peter Corris
Allen & Unwin, 2005

Taking Care of Business, by Peter Corris

The character of Cliff Hardy has dominated Australian crime fiction since 1980, in a career catalogued in 26 books. This new offering sees Hardy in a different literary form – the short story – but he is still the same likeable rogue detective.

Hardy’s clients range from a highly strung corporate whisteblower to a computer genius and his local florist. The cases are varied – invloving missing people, missing paintings, missing money. Yet two things bind the collection together – a common theme of money and a common quality of writing.

For fans of Peter Corris, the change to the shorter form is refreshing – showing another side of his talents, and for those who’ve not read previous books, this is a good introduction the character of Cliff Hardy. The form is not actually new to Corris and some of the stories have been previously published, but for many readers this will be a new side of Corris’ work.

Taking Care of Business is superb crime fiction.

Taking Care of Business, by Peter Corris
Allen & Unwin, 2004

The Coast Road, by Peter Corris

When millionare Frederick Farmer dies, the police rule it death by accident. But his daughter is unconvinced. How can someone who refuses to use heating at night be trapped in a burning house? She is convinced his scheming second wife is behind the death.

Enter Cliff Hardy, the detective hired to investigate the case. Hardy is a colourful private investigator, who ruffles plenty of feathers in his quest to solve his case.

Hardy sees this is a low-key case, so when he’s offered a second, he believes he can handle both. The second case is that of a teenage runaway. Her mother wants Hardy to track her down and return her to the nest. Hardy finds himself drawn to the exotic Marisha Karastky and determined to help her find her daughter.

But as the two cases proceed, Hardy wonders if he’s taken on more than he can handle. Neither case is as simple as it first appeared. He finds himself dealing with crooked cops, violent bikies and dying witnesses. He wonders if he’s being set up in Marisha’s case and if he will be killed because of his involvement in the other.

This is the 26th book in the Cliff Hardy series. Hady continues to develop as a character, and author Peter Corris as a writer. Readers are drawn into the mystery, with enough information to follow Hardy’s train of thought, but enough left out to keep them guessing.

Action packed and well-paced, The Coast Road is a gripping read.

The Coast Road, by Peter Corris
Allen & Unwin, 2004

The Empty Beach, by Peter Corris

Cliff Hardy is an established Private Investigator, but has private demons to battle. He’s given up smoking and cut back on alcohol. His brief marriage and other ghosts still haunt him.

When he’s offered a case in Bondi, Cliff thinks it will be a chance to enjoy the attractions of that suburb. The case seems straightforward – establish whether or not a long-missing millionaire is actually dead. Hardy soon remembers, though, that nothing is ever as simple as it seems. He finds himself fighting to stay alive as others around him are murdered.

One of twenty six Cliff Hardy titles, The Empty Beach was first published in 1982, and has been rereleased to coincide with the release of the latest installment, Master’s Mates. This edition includes a bonus novella, Man in the Shadows. Both are gripping reads.

For those new to the Cliff Hardy stories, The Empty Beach will provide an insight into the character in his earlier life.

The Empty Beach, by Peter Corris
Allen & Unwin, 2003