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A coastal town is evacuated after record floods. Three young police officers are left behind. With a killer.
'Headland veers into the gothic realm that is visited by the best Australian fiction that dares to go somewhere dark and unfathomable . . . It's a cracker.' - Sydney Morning Herald
The small beachside town of Gloster is on the edge of disaster. After constant rain, floodwaters are rising fast. Detective Constable Craig Watson, exiled to Gloster from Sydney, is a young man with a damaged past and an uncertain future.
Constables Ellie Cameron and Larissa Brookes are young women struggling to show their worth as police officers under a misogynistic sergeant.
The drowning town holds a secret that someone is prepared to murder for, and as the floodwaters cut Gloster off from the world the three young police officers begin to understand that it's not just them left stranded. Somewhere out there in the floodwaters is a killer. And he needs them dead.
Taut, compelling and visceral, John Byrnes' Headland announces a major new voice in Australian crime fiction.
'Following in the footsteps of Jane Harper and Chris Hammer . . . Byrnes does a fantastic job of turning the relentless downpour into a constant threat. This thriller is a pacy and compelling debut.' - Books+Publishing
'This has all the ingredients of a classic rural noir, but dialled up to 11 . . . all the elements come together for a final, thrilling, climax, as resolution and redemption are delivered . . . a page-turner' - Newcastle Herald
'[Headland] takes readers on a dark and captivating journey . . . blends realistic action scenes and bleak character moments with a clever mystery. With this impressive debut, Byrnes has set himself up as an exciting and distinctive new Australian crime fiction talent who has a very bright future. Headland is an outstanding read and is highly recommended.' - Canberra Weekly
'A propulsive, lean and gritty crime thriller from a distinct new voice in Australian crime writing . . . Crisp and economical prose means Headland won't gather much dust on your nightstand. It's relentlessly paced, and no-holds-barred.' Simon McDonald, Diary of a Bookseller
About the Author
Born in Sydney, John Byrnes moved to Mid North Coast of New South Wales with his wife and three children in 2012. He has a broad range of life experience having spent time in the Australian Army, worked fishing trawlers out of Darwin, worked bars and doors in pubs and clubs all over Australia, and somehow ended up with an Economics Degree. He started writing in 2015 and has a fascination with the darker aspects of the human condition; the addicted, the malevolent, the scarred. He cheers for the outsider, the slacker, the contrarian, the non-conformist.
When he is not writing or pondering the darkness within men's souls he works part-time in financial services.
"Is pulp rural noir fiction a thing? If not perhaps Headland by Australian author John Byrnes is the first of its kind. Dark, lurid, gritty and violent, this debut novel includes elements of both crime fiction subgenres. . . . Aggressive, fast paced and gripping, I couldn’t put it down." —Book'd Out
"A propulsive, lean and gritty crime thriller from a distinct new voice in Australian crime writing. It reads like John Byrnes hails from the school of Mickey Spillane. His debut is packed with debauched sex and gunplay. . . . Crisp and economical prose means “Headland” won’t gather much dust on your nightstand. It’s relentlessly paced, and no-holds-barred." —Simon McDonald