One robbery. Three people. No heroes. James O’Loghlin’s novel explores why and how ordinary people turn to crime.
What makes a criminal? One May 2019 morning, two masked gunmen rob Blacktown Leagues Club. What happens next will change the lives of three people. Twenty-three-year-old Dean Acton is a heroin addict trying to get off the break and enter treadmill by pulling one big job. Sarah Hamilton, also twenty-three, is a police officer on stress leave, working behind the bar, trying to forget the mistake she made that caused the death of her fiance. Mary Wallace, a forty-five-year-old ex-schoolteacher who lives and drinks alone, feels that her life is already over, and has made plans to formalise that arrangement.
When Sarah realises there is something familiar about one of the gunmen, she is drawn back to the thrill of investigating, and can identify Dean. Dean is overjoyed at his $12,000 haul, but before he can decide whether to spend it on a new start in Queensland or a few months’ worth of heroin, he’s arrested, and in Long Bay jail everyone wants to find out where he’s stashed the cash.
Mary is inspired by the robbery. Pottery and French classes haven’t jolted her out of her depression, but perhaps embarking on a life of crime will. She starts small, and then ups the ante. When she, too, is arrested and her lawyer tries to discover why a respectable middle-class woman would steal constipation medication, will she be able to reveal what caused her to give up on teaching and everything else?
Dean learns that the only person who identified him at the robbery was Sarah and is tempted by a plan that will ensure she won’t ever be able to give evidence against him. But is he prepared to go that far? And if he does, will he ever come back?
As Dean’s trial approaches, Mary, Dean and Sarah must work out why they have become who they are, and whether they have the courage to change.Buy Print Buy eBook
‘Criminals absolutely enthralled and had me utterly involved… the question from the blurb “What makes a criminal?” becomes more pertinent, nuanced with every single twist.’
‘Written with insight, wit and compassion, Criminals is a thought-provoking and engaging novel.’
‘I absolutely loved this book!’
‘Criminals is a fascinating read which is underpinned by a real understanding of what makes people take to a life of crime. One robbery, three people, no heroes! Excellent.’