The Strip by Iain Ryan

Our Rating
Author: Iain Ryan

Category: Fiction & related items

Book Format: Paperback / softback

Publisher: Ultimo Press

ISBN: 9781761152306

RRP: $34.99

It’s the bad old days of policing in Queensland. Corruption is rife. Another murder – on top of five they’re already investigating – has a team of detectives completely flummoxed. Of course, since it’s early 1980, it could be that the murderer is ‘protected’ by these same officers. Detectives are in the pocket of the criminal underworld, where brothel owners can dictate which crimes are investigated and which aren’t.

Into this mix of boozy testosterone comes NSW detective, Lana Cohen. The sixth murder (of GP, Brian Amstell) occurs just over the border and Cohen is seconded to the Diablo task force, partnered with another outsider, Bruno Karras. She’s also tasked with digging the dirt on corrupt Queensland officers and reporting back to her NSW superior. One of those Queensland officers is Henry Loch, the archetypal detective with drug, alcohol and career issues. He’s on his last chance with the Homicide squad, threatened with a return to Consorting. His mentor is Emmett Hades, currently off work due to mental health problems. Loch is given another line of investigation to follow (by a criminal bagman): trying to find missing prostitute, Sarah Utton. Both investigations lead back to brothel owner, Colleen Vinton.

The narrative style in The Strip is reminiscent of Joseph Wambaugh’s famous, The Choirboys. This is the Gold Coast, rather than LA, but similar grittiness and chaos is generated. There’s a religious undertone in the novel, from the task force’s ‘devilish’ name, the hell of Emmett’s surname, the interjections of the church, and the last chapter’s title, ‘Revelations’. The conflict implicit in borders is mirrored elsewhere: male/female; straight/corrupt; criminal/police; and sacred/profane. This fast-paced novel, with its suspenseful plotting, is an excellent addition to the genre.

Reviewed by Bob Moore



Iain Ryan grew up in the outer suburbs of Brisbane, Australia. He predominantly writes in the hardboiled/noir genre and his work has been previously published by Akashic Books Online, Crime Factory, Kill Your Darlings and Seizure.

Four Days, his first novel, saw release November 2015 via Broken River Books. The following year the book was shortlisted for the Australian Crime Writing Association’s Ned Kelly Award (Best Debut Fiction). It didn’t win, Broken River Books folded and the book disappeared. Four Days is currently out-of-print.

Visit Iain Ryan’s website


Reader Reviews

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all reviews

The Latest List