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Best Rural Crime This Year? Review of Greenlight by Benjamin Stevenson

September 11, 2018

‘Four years ago, in the small town of Birravale, Eliza Dacey was murdered. Within hours, her killer was caught. Wasn’t he?’

These are the opening titles of Jack Quick’s new true-crime documentary, a filmic unravelling of the circumstances surrounding Eliza Dacey’s murder. Experienced in the ways of the film industry, Jack knows that a good conspiracy generates high ratings – which is exactly why he claims that Curtis Wade, the supposed killer, was convicted on flimsy evidence and a botched police investigation. His documentary is convincing, and before very long, the general public is on his side, appalled by the supposed ‘police misconduct’ and Wade’s wrongful imprisonment.

The documentary seems to be a huge success until Jack finds an incriminating piece of evidence just before the final episode is scheduled to air. It could almost prove Wade’s guilt beyond doubt – and ruin his show. The decision is easy for Jack – he’s got high hopes for his production and can’t take any risks, so he disposes of the evidence and continues to portray Wade as an innocent man. Consequently, Wade is released from jail.

Jack relishes in the success of his documentary, but his celebrations are cut short when a victim is found bearing similarities to the deceased Eliza Dacey. Jack feels ill. Has he just freed a killer?

With a guilty conscience, Jack returns to Birravale looking for answers. But he has his own secrets to keep, and, much like his documentary, the lines between fact and fiction (and life and death) begin to blur.

The only thing that can save him now is the truth…but it comes at a cost.

Greenlight is Benjamin Stevenson’s debut novel, and even in a year that has boasted a string of incredibly successful debuts, this is an absolute knock-out, perhaps even the best so far. Big call we know, but Greenlight has it all – well-developed characters, a meticulously crafted plot, loop-holes and red-herrings that will leave your knuckles white and nails bitten to the quick.

In both its concept and construction, Greenlight is incredibly different to all the other rural crime we’ve seen this year. The protagonist, Jack, is likely the most original thriller character you will have ever come across. His profession makes him, by default, a natural born story-teller – but that doesn’t necessarily mean that his narration is reliable. We know for a fact that Jack has sensationalised the truth in the past – and it is precisely this ongoing battle between his ego and conscience that Jack faces throughout the novel, that makes the book so un-put-downable.

Moreover, Benjamin is a master at weaving the classic thriller ‘web of suspicion.’ For every revelation there is another unanswered question, keeping the reader on edge, literally from start to finish. Much more than a well-constructed ‘whodunnit’ novel, Greenlight criticises the way society sensationalises crime, and asks important questions about the media and the reliability of some of the media sources that we rely upon.

We recommend you don’t pick up Greenlight unless you have no other plans for the following twelve or so hours, because it will not leave your hands until the very last sentence. We’d also suggest you pair it with (multiple) cups of coffee to keep you awake, because you will not be sleeping until you know how this one ends – trust us.

About the author:

Benjamin Stevenson is an award-winning stand-up comedian and author. He has sold out shows from the Melbourne International Comedy Festival all the way to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and has appeared on ABCTV, Channel 10, and The Comedy Channel. Off-stage, Benjamin has worked for publishing houses and literary agencies in Australia and the USA. He currently works with some of Australia’s best-loved authors at Curtis Brown Australia. Greenlight is his first novel.

Purchase a copy of Greenlight here 

 

 

 


Comments

  1. Eileen Walder

    Can’t wait to read this when I get back home.

  2. Lauren Macdonald

    Loved this book. Not my usual genre, but the characters are so intriguing, I ended up thoroughly enjoying it. Such great plot twists too! Highly recommend!!

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