The Tattooed Man, by Alex Palmer

The dead sat at the table like those who are about to eat but never will. Dinner tables set before them contained a meal left untouched. Their rested mouths, their closed eyes, the unshifting weight of their bodies, had a finality beyond waking.

When Paul Harrigan surveys a murder scene in Sydney’s north, he feels like he’s the only living person left in existence. Four people sit dead around a dinner table – a middle aged woman, an older man and a teenage boy, as well as the mummified corpse of a missing corrupt police officer. The woman is the ex-wife of a Senator, the boy their only son. This case is going to take Harrigan to places he doesn’t wish to go,.

Grace Riordan, Harrigan’s love interest, is not impressed that Harrigan is involved in a case when he’s supposed to be on leave. She wants him to take some time off, and to stop shutting her out. But she also can’t stop herself from getting involved. A former police officer herself, she takes risks she knows she shouldn’t – but perhaps in this case she might take one risk too many.

The Tattooed Man is a gripping crime novel, which mixes the personal life challenges of the main characters with a tale of political intrigue, ethics, espionage and more. There are twists and turns and many heart-stopping moments which will keep readers guessing.

An outstanding read from one of Australia’s rising literary stars.

The Tattooed Man, by Alex Palmer
Harper Collins, 2008