David Owen has been writing excellent fiction for many years, but with shame I say this is the first in his Pufferfish series that I’ve read. It deserves every success. 

The Tasmanian Police Force’s Detective Inspector Franz Heineken, aka Pufferfish, is as prickly and full of attitude as the creature he’s named after.  Which is no bad thing for a “seasoned Tasmanian rozzer”.

His small team is called in when the dashing and outrageously good looking sommelier Romeo Ferrari goes missing from his home, leaving behind bloody drag marks across the kitchen floor.

They have a horrified witness who is certain she saw a dead body on the rug, but by the time the police can get there, it’s gone.

As Pufferfish starts to investigate, the fingers start pointing in some very murky directions, including right into the heart of a major drugs operation in Victoria.

In the background, a killer strikes again, and it is a case that Heineken cannot ignore, even when it becomes professionally dangerous.

This is the seventh Pufferfish novel from Owen, an adopted Australian who now lives and works in Hobart.

The writing is funny and sharp, and loaded with attitude and local colour. The names, as might already be obvious, are often outlandish – it’s a good indicator of the fun Owen has with his writing.

For those lucky crime fans who will discover him for the first time with this book, the good news is his new publisher has indicated his back catalogue will be re-released.

This book was published in November 2016. This review first appeared in the Herald Sun’s Weekend magazine.