When beautiful 25-year-old Bella Michaels is brutally murdered in the small New South Wales town of Strathdee, the community is stunned and a full investigation gets underway as a media storm descends.
Unwillingly thrust into the eye of that storm is Bella’s beloved older sister, Chris, a barmaid at the local pub and occasional sex worker, and a woman whose apparent easygoing nature conceals hard-won wisdom and the kind of street-smart only experience can bring.
As Chris is plunged into despair and searches for answers, reasons, explanations – anything – that could make even the smallest sense of Bella’s death, her ex-husband, friends and neighbours do their best to support her. But as the days tick by with no arrest, Chris’s suspicion of those around her grows.
Also interested in Chris is May Norman, a young, self-absorbed city journalist, who is determined that Bella’s murder will be the story to launch her career. But the longer May spends in Strathdee, the more she feels unable to do the job she was sent to do, yet unwilling to leave until she knows how the story ends.
An Isolated Incident is a psychological thriller about everyday violence, the media’s obsession with pretty dead girls, the grip of grief and the myth of closure, and the difficulties of knowing the difference between a ghost and a memory, between a monster and a man.