SMALL TOWN. BIG SECRET.An unforgettable literary crime debut that brings the darkness in an Australian country town vividly to life, as it slowly reveals its devastating secrets.
SMALL TOWN. BIG SECRET. An unforgettable literary crime debut that brings the darkness in an Australian country town vividly to life, as it slowly reveals its devastating secrets.
In the long, hot summer of 1989, Ben and Fab are best friends.
Growing up in a small country town, they spend their days playing cricket, yabbying in local dams, wanting a pair of Nike Air Maxes and not talking about how Fab's dad hits him, or how the sudden death of Ben's next-door neighbour unsettled him. Almost teenagers, they already know some things are better left unsaid.
Then a newcomer arrived in the Wimmera. Fab reckoned he was a secret agent and he and Ben staked him out. Up close, the man's shoulders were wide and the veins in his arms stuck out, blue and green. His hands were enormous, red and knotty. He looked strong. Maybe even stronger than Fab's dad. Neither realised the shadow this man would cast over both their lives.
Twenty years later, Fab is still stuck in town, going nowhere but hoping for somewhere better. Then a body is found in the river, and Fab can't ignore the past any more.
'Very little fiction is as emotionally true as this. WIMMERA is a dark and disturbing story from a substantial new talent.' SATURDAY PAPER
'This is literary crime fiction at its best.' BOOKS+PUBLISHING
WINNER OF THE 2016 CRIME WRITERS' ASSOCIATION DEBUT DAGGER (UK)
WINNER OF THE 2018 INDIE DEBUT FICTION AWARD
SHORTLISTED FOR LITERARY FICTION BOOK OF THE YEAR, ABIA AWARDS 2018
SHORTLISTED FOR THE MATT RICHELL AWARD FOR NEW WRITER OF THE YEAR, ABIA AWARDS 2018
Given the substantial list of award wins and short-listings that the unpublished manuscript has already received, including the Crime Writers' Association's Debut Dagger Award, it's clear that the reader is in the hands of a master storyteller. Comparisons are already being made to Jane Harper's THE DRY and Dennis Lehane's MYSTIC RIVER. This is literary crime fiction at its best. - BOOKS+PUBLISHING
written with great delicacy and deliberate restraint - ADELAIDE ADVERTISER
Very little fiction is as emotionally true as this. WIMMERA is a dark and disturbing story from a substantial new talent. - SATURDAY PAPER
Wimmera makes excellent use of atmospheric rural Australia to weave a gothic story with a strongly rooted sense of place. - HERALD SUN
Congratulations to this debut Australian author, Mark Brandi. This well-plotted tale lets the reader see how evil can be so pervasive and affect the lives of innocent children, but also how true friendship can alter your life forever.
If you like reading stories that will stay with you for days, put this onto you're to be read list. - Read Round Oz Blog
Wimmera is a dark and melancholy coming-of-age story / murder mystery from a talented new voice in Australian crime fiction. Incorporating some iconic Australian elements, the story is like time-travel back to the eighties, capturing the quintessential rural Australian spirit of the time. With some very dark elements running through the story, it may not appeal to all readers, but I found it a gripping and haunting read and am looking forward to reading more from this author in future. - But Books are Better Blog
This book carried me along very quickly and I read it in almost one sitting captured by the tension of wanting to know how the boys handle the menace and what happens next. - ReadPlus
Wide open skies, hidden country lanes, spooky escarpments, baking heat and bone-chilling cold - Victoria's Wimmera district is ripe for use as a backdrop for a novel. - Weekend Gold Coast Bulletin
Mark Brandi's bestselling novel, Wimmera, won the coveted British Crime Writers' Association Debut Dagger, and was named Best Debut at the 2018 Australian Indie Book Awards. It was also shortlisted for the Australian Book Industry Awards Literary Fiction Book of the Year, and the Matt Richell Award for New Writer of the Year.
Mark's second novel, The Rip, was published to critical acclaim in 2019, and his third novel, The Others, was shortlisted for the Best Fiction prize in the 2022 Ned Kelly Awards. His fourth novel, Southern Aurora, will be published in 2023.
Mark's shorter work has appeared in The Guardian, The Age, The Big Issue, and in journals both here and overseas. His writing is also sometimes heard on ABC Radio National.
Mark graduated with a criminal justice degree and worked in the justice system before changing direction and deciding to write. Originally from Italy, he grew up in rural Victoria. He now lives in Melbourne and is working on his next novel.