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Let me start this review by saying that my best friend is a Queenslander and I’m not quite sure how she will feel about a book which has a character quoting;

“Queensland, like some obese Dracula, was allowed to monopolise the artery that kept her sisters alive … Queensland is a black-hearted pig that must be bombed backward into barefoot beggary. Which is not so very far, it being a nest of hillbillies and drudges.”

This is the story of Merv, who, depending on which side of the fence you are, commits an act of terrorism or an act of desperation to save his daughter, his town and his beloved South Australia.

South Australia has been cut off buy a large dam, built by the Queensland government, which has strangled the Darling River and sucked the lifeblood from towns and turned farms into dust. Merv takes drastic action to reverse the damage done and fill the river beds with water once more, quenching the thirst of a parched people.

The Last Pulse is a slow burn. Don’t expect any crazy twists, gasps of surprise or a race to the end. This book has the pace of the people it speaks for; straight talking, mostly inappropriate at times, with a slow drawl to reflect the heat of the day and the mugginess of night. Supporting characters appear as ‘The Party Animal’ meanders downstream and Barwon the aboriginal kid with a spirit in his heart and rocks in his head is by far my favourite and a burst of fun when he arrives on the page.

It is a one sided story, there is no balance here, but this is Merv’s story and i’m sure it will resonate with many farmers and Australian’s who are struggling with drought, corrupt councils, suicide, divorce and all the terrible things that come with losing a livlihood.

A dark comedy, with a serious message to share.

3 out of 5 stars

Read via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

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