Fullers Publishing, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia, 2019
First conceived some years ago, Why Neville shot Gus is at once a crime novella and an exercise in the principles of crime writing – by someone who has taught the craft. It would spoil the story to go into too much detail, but suffice it to say that David Owen takes us through his usual circuitous paths drawing disparate threads to a satisfying denouement.
We meet each character in some detail as the story proceeds, without always having an inkling of connections but knowing there is one that will be revealed. The disconnected threads do weave together though and the titular character of Neville eventually yields his bigger story.
David Owen is an author who interests himself in ideas greater than his story might suggest – he revels in the usual themes of crime – jealousy, revenge, cruelty, greed – but also looks behind the causes of human behaviour and into our big national stories.
He doesn’t shy away from violence and the revelation of how it impacts on the innocent, but he does suggest that a different story could have been told if people in power had behaved better in the first place.
The back cover blurb says simply: Read it. Go ahead. You won’t be disappointed.