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A New Crime-Buster is Born: review of The Greater Good by Tim Ayliffe

May 15, 2018

It’s refreshing when a thriller featuring spies, crooked cops, cynical politicians and CIA agents, is set not in London, New York or Eastern Europe, but on the familiar streets of Sydney from the upmarket Eastern Suburbs to celebrity playground of Palm Beach and even, Harry’s Cafe de Wheels pie shop at Woolloomooloo.

Hard drinking journalist Bailey is traumatised by his years as a war correspondent in Iraq and Lebanon.  He’s trying to forget the past, especially the horror of his kidnap and torture, but that proves futile when his friend and editor at the country’s biggest newspaper, The Journal, sends him to the scene of a brutal murder. A beautiful prostitute has been slain in her luxury apartment and the last man to see her alive happens to be a key advisor to the Australian Defence Minister.

When CIA agent Ronnie Johnson, a former comrade and ally of Bailey’s from the Iraq days, shows up at the scene, Bailey knows something is seriously off. It turns out the Defence Minister has dubious connections to Chinese business interests and is about to propose major policy changes that would give China much greater influence in the region. Changes that would seriously put the US Government’s nose out of joint.

Complicating matters further, Bailey’s ex, Sharon Dexter, is the detective on the case and when it looks like the corruption may infiltrate the highest echelons of the police force and government, Bailey knows they have to break this story before someone tries to stop them.

As Dexter, Bailey and The Journal close in on the scandal, exposing a web of spying, murder and corruption that could bring down a government, the criminals close in on them. They know Bailey’s vulnerabilities all too well; that the way to silence him is through the one person he lives for – his grown up daughter Miranda – and they’ll do whatever it takes to stop the story coming out.

A dramatic, suspense-laden chase ensues through the late-night bars of Newtown and the back streets of Kings Cross, as Bailey tries once again to beat the deadly odds stacked against him, but is determined to survive.

We’re with whiskey drinking, battle-torn, but sympathetic, Bailey all the way.  Despite all he endured in Iraq – his terrifying capture and extreme torture – he faces down the criminals with bravery and sarcasm, giving light relief to the brutality that confronts him. Bailey’s running commentary on modern day Sydney, from the hipsters in a Bondi café to the divorcees of Paddington, is a refreshing counterpoint to the action.

With The Greater Good, Ayliffe delivers a taut, nail-biting page-turner, stamping his mark on the modern day Australian thriller. It’s an incisive look into the minds of men, like Bailey and Ronnie, who sacrifice their own wellbeing for their ideologies – what they perceive as the ‘greater good’. And the good news is… We’ll be seeing more of Bailey as The Greater Good is the first of a three part series featuring the hardened war correspondent.

Ayliffe, an ABC journalist, is already receiving high praise for his debut novel:

‘If Rake were a journalist, with a talent that equals his capacity to survive being beaten up, Bailey would be him.’ Julia Baird

About the author

Tim Ayliffe has been a journalist for almost 20 years and is the Managing Editor of Television and Video for ABC News. He has also worked as TV News Editor for ABC News and the Executive Producer of ABC News Breakfast. Before joining the ABC in 2006, Tim worked in London for Sky News as a digital and television journalist. The Greater Good is the first book in a three-book series featuring John Bailey. When he’s not writing or chasing news stories, Tim rides bikes and surfs. He lives in Sydney with his wife, Justine Dougherty, and their two children, Penelope and Arthur. 

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  1. Timayliffe

    Tim you met my son Jonathan in Portsmouth and I have just read the greater good that you sent to him and James, really enjoyed the character of Bailey, the book has an excellent plot ,I can’t wait for the next book of the series, all the best to you Tim. Paul Gaines,

  2. Barbara

    Please please please MORE by Tim Ayliffe

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