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Feisty Jane Kenwood is a strong woman councillor and popular public figure in Alexandra City, Southland.
Her debating skills are legendary.
She is independent and vociferously opposed to a megacasino proposal. When the Council becomes hung, her vote is critical. She disappears and her colleague and friend, Dr Phillip Keane, a forensic scientist, investigates with the help of her zany friends and a novel forensic method.

Will they find her alive? Will she recover? Will they be able to stop the casino?  Will she be able to transform the city’s fossilised partisan government into the participative democracy she wants?

This is crime fiction that will leave you feeling empowered.


In Store Price: $32.95 
Online Price:   $31.95



Ebook version - $AUD9.00 upload.


ISBN: 978-0-6481607-7-9
Format: Paperback
Number of pages: 428
Genre: Fiction

Cover: Clive Dalkins

Martin Knox
Publisher: Zeus Publications
Date Published:  2018
Language: English


     Read a sample:   



Feisty Councillor Jane Kenwood is a popular public figure in Alexandra City, Southland.

Jane regards the political parties as self-seeking and their bipartisan duopoly as undemocratic. She sits alone on the cross-bench and wants political party control ended.

She is in a relationship with Dr Phillip Keane, who is also a Councillor.

The Government wants a multibillion dollar casino project but Jane is opposed and demands that they consider a multicultural centre. Her debating skills are legendary and Phillip crosses the floor.

Their friend Cutter sympathizes and the Council is hung. When Jane disappears, the Police search for her helped by her friends. When Phillip and Cutter try to prevent approval of the casino they are attacked.

After 5 weeks, workers find Jane buried alive in wet concrete. She is in a coma and slowly recovers in hospital from starvation and PTSD.

DCI Peggy Wall waits for Jane to lead them to the perpetrators but Phillip reconstructs the crime in meetings with the rakish Cutter, renegade Barbie, Bohemian Sunita and quixotic Tony in a Think Tank.

Jane had glimpsed her abductor. Workers remember a man who worked there who matches Jane’s description. While the Police are looking for him, a whistle-blower disappears and is found drowned in a faked suicide. Phillip baits a trap with Jane, lures the paranoid perpetrator from hiding and the Police shoot him.

DCI Peggy Wall and Phillip confront the masterminds in a dramatic denouement. A conspiracy of seven political and business leaders is arrested. The casino bid folds and the multicultural centre is approved.

Jane recovers and makes a heroic return to work. The people of Alexandra elect her Lord Mayor. She devolves authority and ousts the political parties. Her new Council has participative democracy.

Jane and Phillip plan to have a baby.




In the dim light of dawn, the concreters plodded in funereal procession across the construction site towards boxes in the ground that would mould the pillars of a road overpass. Ready Mix trucks waited in a line to move their bowel contents into a pipeline for pumping across to Norman in his crane. He swung the spout from box to box, playing the knobs like piano keys.

The gouts plopped down into the darkness, over tufts of steel rods. Brian and Bob came close behind with vibrating pokers, jiggling the ooze into cavities.

‘Something under!’ yelled Bob, pointing to where he had felt a push against his poker. They buried all sorts of things: cans, tools and garments. Perhaps this was an animal or a large bird?

When he jumped in and tried to lift it, he sank up to his waist in the quagmire.

‘Help!’ he called.

Brian jumped in too and Norman swung his crane over. They hooked their arms over the spout and were lifted up. Holding on to the thing, they dragged it out from under the surface onto the ground. They were amazed to discover it was a woman, in a blouse and skirt, with bound wrists and ankles, a gag in her mouth.

‘Alive,’ shouted Bob. ‘Quick.’

How skinny she was as she lay on her back with her bones protruding. They removed the gag, pulled off the blindfold and undid the bindings. Norm started pumping her chest. She coughed, gasped, groaned and rubbed her eyes. They rolled her on to her side and hosed away the grit and slurry. Her skin was smooth and grey, her hair lank and matted. She shivered and lapsed into unconsciousness.

Paramedics arrived with a stretcher.

‘Almost dead she is,’ Norman cautioned as they lifted her on.

They carried her to a waiting ambulance. It rushed away with her, siren wailing.

‘Another hour and it would take a jackhammer to get her out,’ said Bob. ‘What evil bastard did this?’

Police cordoned off the site, keeping the crowd back with crime-scene tape.

A reporter said, ‘It could be that city councillor who went missing over a month ago.’

Norman replied with vehemence, ‘It’s premeditated fucking murder. Whoever did it should be locked away forever.’

‘What if she lives?’

‘Attempted murder — no two ways about it. Our Jane — after she has done so much good! What a thing to do! He must be a psychopath. Throw away the key.’

The reporter set up his camera on a tripod and stood in front talking to it.

‘I am at a construction site where a woman has been rescued from under wet concrete. She was barely alive and has been rushed to hospital. It would be a terrible way to die. If the concrete had set, her body would have decayed to gas and liquid and leaked away slowly, leaving only an empty mould with a brown stain, like they found at Pompeii where a person was buried alive in volcanic ash. She would never have been found.

‘The police are investigating how she was buried alive, a horrific crime. We will find out from the hospital if she will survive.

‘The victim could be a councillor who disappeared five weeks ago on her way to a meeting in City Hall, but her identity has not been confirmed. There is no evidence that this cruel attack was politically motivated.’

The picture switched to a uniformed police officer, who said, ‘We have located a place where we believe she was held captive before she was brought here. We are following leads to find the abductors. If you have any information would you phone this number: 3386 1190.’

The reporter said, ‘We are awaiting developments. This is Grant Summers for ATV.’




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