Why we love it: Andy Muir’s cracking crime yarn, Something for Nothing, is filled with wry humour, cagey crooks and a hapless, down-to-earth hero – who somehow finds himself adrift in the dark waters of bikie gangs, drug deals and murder. This page-turning romp introduces a great new voice in the Australian crime landscape.
Lachie Munro is a house painter with a gambling debt that has him and his mate Dave indulging in a little extra-curricular abalone poaching to pay the bills. But when the haul brings in several kilos of high-grade heroin, Lachie has to decide if he’s just pulled his biggest payday, or the worst day of his life. Before the week is out, Lachie has stumbled over a headless, limbless torso on the beach, lost his job and found himself on the wrong end of a bikie’s fist.
It’s not long before his life is fraying at the seams: Dave is acting strange, the police are on his case and Lachie’s starting to wonder if this is one catch he should have tossed back into the murky depths. Then there’s the captivating Karen, a Fisheries Officer, who he’s pretty sure he’s falling for… If he manages to get his life together for long enough to go on another date. Lachie is seriously out of his depth. So how is he going to get rid of the stash, make some fat stacks and get the girl?
Andy Muir’s time as a screenwriter for the Underbelly franchise pays dividends in this rather light-hearted beachside noir. The writing in Something for Nothing is lively, the pace cracking and the cast of grimy small-town shysters – including a Chinese restaurant proprietor who runs a Mahjong gambling den – feel ordinary enough to be utterly believable.
Like the best crime anti-heroes, Lachie is no angel. He’s bent, but likeably so. And readers can’t help but be drawn into his somewhat dubious morality. This very Aussie crime is served up with a healthy dose of Strine and a seemingly endless stream of cold beers. Lachie Munro is a cracker. And Muir is definitely one to watch.
Andy Muir is a Sydney-based author and screenwriter with credits ranging from Neighbours and Home and Away to comedy series Thank God You’re Here. But, while working on the writing team for the Underbelly franchise, crime really stole his heart. He has been nominated for an Australian Writers Guild Award for TV series Underbelly Squizzy, which he also adapted for the novelisation Underbelly Squizzy: The Story of Australia’s First Celebrity Gangster. Something for Nothing is his first novel.