Two detectives form an unconventional partnership in this deeply atmospheric thriller set in the Australian outback.
“The road stretches in a straight line for miles, shimmering like oily water in the heat. On either side are flat plains of pale grass, leached by the sun of any hint of green, endless and empty. The occasional tree, marooned in a sea of grass, shimmers and flickers in the bright light, the haze of heat making it look as if it is floating above the earth.”
One morning, in the height of summer, two young German backpackers set off from the small town of Caloodie, in the middle of the Australian outback, on their way to a job at a ranch in an even smaller town. Except they never arrive.
DI Lucas Walker is on leave from the serious crime unit in Sydney, taking care of his dying grandmother in Caloodie. So, when his boss asks him to look into a case of missing backpackers, who no one is sure are actually missing, he can’t help but wonder if there is more to the case than first appears.
Meanwhile, German Detective Sergeant Barbara Guerra, frustrated with the lack of urgency with which the police in Caloodie are investigating her sister’s disappearance, is taking matters into her own hands.
Forced to work together and faced with the challenges of investigating a potential crime in an inhospitable and unforgiving place, Walker and Barbara discover that the case is far more complex, and heartbreaking, than either of them expected. Outback is a tense and thrilling crime novel, in which the suffocating heat and dusty harshness of the Australian landscape is vividly portrayed.