Reviews

“The Election” initially started out as a difficult read for me to get into. The book is set in Australia and the author writes with a distinct Australian flair which takes a little getting used to especially as I did not have my Aussie to English dictionary available for some of the lingo. Crikey! It also did not help that in the opening chapter I was almost immediately thrust into a tragic and shockingly gruesome World War II scene which transpired on the Kokoda Track in 1942. I presumed this was an integral piece of information for later in the story but I hoped that there would not be too much more of the same throughout. However, once I started reading the subsequent chapters the tone changed and I was able to sit back, relax, and enjoy the book.

“The Election” focuses on Australia becoming a republic and the consequent campaigning and election of its first president. One of the book’s main characters, Michael Takada, is Australian-born but his father is full-blooded Japanese. These are turbulent times for Michael Takada and his family as well as anyone of Japanese decent within the country because of racial discrimination from a fanatical right-wing organization as well as a white supremacist terrorist group. While I know the story is fictional I am aware that racial discrimination is not and quite often the book took a very realistic turn because of this.

In summary, “The Election” is a well written story and the author, Darryl Greer, does an excellent job of making the characters come to life for the reader. He walks us through the complete election process which begins with an “idea” of who the candidates should be and ends with Australia successfully voting in its very first president. The ending has a rather unexpected twist which definitely leaves an opening for a sequel should the author feel compelled to write one. Lastly, Greer is descriptive without becoming verbose or boring and I feel “The Election” will definitely hold the attention of anyone who reads it. All in all a great book; an interesting read and I highly recommend it.

Charline Ratcliff for RebeccasReads

Prince Charles is on the throne but republicans rule in Australia. Two men, Japanese-Australian Michael Takada and tormented David Shawcross, are vying for the presidency. Racism, war crimes, corruption and ambition erupt in an exciting novel from a Gold Coast writer.

In a word: tense.

Michael Jacobson for Gold Coast Bulletin

Politics are in no way a clean game. “The Election” tells the story of the race for Australia’s first president. Michael Takada, a half-Japanese man and his opponent David Shawcross meet for the first shot at the presidency, and the race is far from civil as radical groups target Takada, fueled by Shawcross’s racist views. A story of politics and race, “The Election” is a fascinating and exciting read from start to finish.

Carl Logan for Midwest Book Review

“Your concerns in that [racist] direction are entirely unfounded. You won’t get any of that nonsense.” “I wish I was as sure about that as you are.”

The story is set in the near future in Australia during the reign of King Charles III of Britain, after opening in a World War Two setting. A majority of Australians have voted against the British monarch as their head of state, necessitating the election of a president. The race is between Michael Takada, an Australian whose father was Japanese, and racist David Shawcross.

Much of the story focuses on the election’s development. Greer’s plot is intriguing and recalls somewhat the persecution of other minorities in older policital dramas—The Man and Advise and Consent in particular. The story contains a surprise as well that paves the way for further possibilities but this book will be enjoyable to anyone who likes political drama. A style note that is effective because it is intriguing is Greer’s method of describing time. The opening sequence in the past is dated exactly to the minute: “Wednesday, 23 September 1942 – 1410 hrs,” while the opening chapter in the future beings with a cryptic, “London, England. Tomorrow 6 a.m.” It is for the reader to decide when “Tomorrow” is, since the situations in the novel and their intertwining—racism, war, assassination attempts and, grounding it all, politics—are always with us.

Carolyn Davis for The US Review of Books

The Election is based on the premiss that a president must be elected to rule a new Australian democracy. The candidates come from each State and voting for statewide candidates is narrowed down to the sole candidate in each State.

The leading Queensland candidate is Australian-born Michael Takada whose father is Japanese. His strong leadership and speaking skills stem from his being a lawyer in partnership in his Gold Coast firm, a position his Australian wife assures him will be left behind when he becomes president and she the first lady.

His rival is the Western Australian candidate David Shawcross an equally talented speaker with roots in the union movement who harbours racial prejudices.

A group of right wing extremists hampers Michael Takada’s campaign with a series of attacks. Duncan Fox was the orchestrator of the most lethal attacks undertaken by his group of thugs in the National Association for Zero Immigration (N.A.Z.I.).

The story is not a political tale so much as a human story of deep emotions. An old man who survived the Kokoda Track is now sought out by an enthusiastic journalist seeking the whole story of Michael Takada’s grandfather’s background. Could the news that Michael’s grandfather was a Japanese soldier who perpetrated war crimes there in 1942 jeopardise his election hopes?

Darryl has created a unique and challenging story that draws the reader into the drama of each situation. In our current election climate the campaign, intense travels around the country, hand-shaking, baby kissing and speech making, it rings very true.

As a fellow Gold Coast writer and our legal eagle, Darryl displays a sharp perception of detail, relating human drama and possible political maneuvers that make this book difficult to put down and haunting in its real life situations. I would encourage members to take advantage of the opportunity to purchase this book at our next meeting.

Jill Smith for Gold Coast Writers’ Association

Reviews of Darryl’s second novel Calvus

Thirteen days into his constabulary, PC Costain finds his first dead body.  It’s not so much the body, as how it died.  The crucified man is discovered in Verulamium Park in England, by the ruins of an ancient Roman city.  Australian DI O’Rourke is called in to head the investigation.  This riveting introduction to the first part, set in modern times, is a strong hook which draws the reader into this interesting and well-crafted murder mystery.

Part I goes back in time to the crucifixion of Christ and gives an intimate view of the life of Calvus, a loyal and ethical centurion in the age of Nero, Ruler of Rome.  The young Calvus is amongst the soldiers who cast lots for Christ’s belongings, and he reluctantly ends up with His sandals.  These sandals are the thread used to connect the past with the present story.  The experience of the crucifixion will change Calvus’ entire life.  It will influence his beliefs and moral attitudes, and reward him with dignity in death.

This is an expansive and well-researched historical thriller/murder mystery.  It exposes the class distinctions, corruption, abuse of power, but also the absolute loyalty commanded, before it again returns to modern times, the reason for the crucifixion and how it was connected to Calvus’ life.

But who carried out the crucifixion and why?  This is the challenge for O’Rourke and his group as they go back and forth in time to find the answers.

The author Darryl Greer is a Gold Coast lawyer with a passion for writing gripping, murder mystery.  With powerful writing and a unique subject, he has the reader engaged from the first to the last word.

Anastasia Gonis

The cover of this book is dark and foreboding, however, I was delighted to find myself immersed in the mystery of the police investigation of a crucified body in modern-day St Albans, England in Verulamium Park.  The site was the historical site of such punishments in ancient Roman times.  Was there a band of Roman enthusiasts going about in costume with the full regalia who carried out this horrific act?  Would DI Chris O’Rourke find out who the victim was and bring the culprits to justice?  How does this case relate back to ancient Romans living in the sodden cool English climate 2000 years earlier?

This is a fascinating story of Julianus Tadius Calvus, his journey around the world serving the Roman Empire, first as a legionary soldier, then after his marriage to his beloved Vipsania, rising through the ranks to centurion, his peace keeping duties in the Roman outpost suiting his nature.  His adoring children Zeno and Fannia, his true love Viipsania and their devoted slave Helena lived comfortably, not expecting trouble from any others than the locals he went out on patrol to subdue.  Little did he realise that imbibing with a fellow centurion, a slip of the tongue without his wits, could lead to devastating consequences for himself and his family.

The investigation in the modern day is frustratingly impossible to solve; DI Chris O’Rourke is confronted by a crowd of religious zealots over-running the crime scene at Verulamium Park.  The police set up a vigil to watch over a rough group of Roman fanatics that dress up in Roman costumes to indulge in orgies, but they don’t seem capable of such a heinous crime.

I loved the way the families in past history and the modern world were portrayed.  Darryl has provided a page turning and engrossing tale.

Jill Smith for Book Coasters

Wow, well when I decided to take a chance on Calvus I had no idea what a thrill ride I was about to let myself in for.  It is a fascinating crime/thriller. British police procedural with a plot line that has implications that date back thousands of years. I guess if I had to make a comparison with a more widely known writer I would say Dan Brown, but to be honest I enjoyed this way more than The DaVinci Code.  The writing is tight but pacey and despite the complex subject matter you’re never confused as to what is going on as the exposition is dealt out in manageable bite sized chunks. I loved it, and look forward to reading more by Darryl Greer.

Emily for Blacksun Books

Calvus by Darryl Greer is an amazing story spanning two thousand years and many miles. As a young legionary, Calvus experiences the crucifixion of Jesus in Jerusalem and is profoundly moved by the feelings of love and brotherhood he perceives as they join glances. Later in his own life as a centurion of Rome posted in the British outpost town of Verulamium, that same profound sense of calm pervades Calvus’ spirit as he is about to be crucified for treason against Rome, a charge brought against him by the camp commander jealous of his loving relationship with his wife. In modern day, Chris O’Rourke is a detective charged with solving the crucifixion murder of an unknown victim on the same hillside. With no way to identify the body and no evidence linking anyone to the crime, the case is scaled down and Chris is reassigned. In the meantime, an ancient coffin that can be dated back to the first century is uncovered in an excavation nearby, opening the door to many new questions. Can there be a relationship that joins the past and present?

A wonderful look into the life of Roman soldiers and citizens at the beginning of the Christian era, Calvus by Darryl Greer offers much, much more. The plot is intricately interwoven, combining past and present, with characters that truly come alive. This book offers a tremendous message about the corruption of power through greed and lust, and provides a reminder that love and brotherhood should be honored above all else. This story is amazing! The descriptions are vivid. The message is certainly timely as well.

Melinda Hills for Readers’ Favorite

5star-shiny-web

Review of A Dragon In The Snow

This is a well-written book. Darryl has produced a story with a terrifying litany of physical and psychological torment injected into the lives of Gary and Helena.

Gary is a first rate drummer in a third rate band and dissatisfied with his life. When he meets Helena, she gives him hope that his life can improve. Helena sees Gary as someone who needs her help, support and love.

It is the early stage in their relationship and they decide to take a holiday to get to know each other. Helena has moved in with Gary and made his place more liveable. Her parents have a small cabin in a remote part of the Tasmanian wilderness. There would be no distractions on this trip, with no radio, TV or telephone to distract them. Helena loves the cabin as it holds many fond childhood memories. They arrive in the worst winter conditions for many years.

A blizzard arrives and with it a monster, Francis Jeremiah Morgan, an escaped prisoner with nothing to lose and everything to gain by invading their safe haven. The menace in this man is palpable and written with such clarity it is frightening.

Gary and Helena are his victims. With frustration and thwarted attempts to escape they become part of Frankie’s escape plan, they will remain his hostages. The police are on the hunt for this number one escapee. The reader is constantly wondering how they will get away or when Morgan will finally kill them both.

This is a riveting read by former Gold Coast Writers Committee member Darryl Greer, showcasing his knowledge of the legal system.

Review by Jill Smith