True believer Murray Whelan makes his debut in Shane Maloney's first thriller set among the ethnic feuds, union machinations, and sexual politics of his city's working-class heartland. The fiddle at the Pacific Pastoral meat-packing works was a nice little earner for all concerned until Herb Gardiner reported finding a body in number 3 chiller. Enter Murray Whelan, minder, fixer, and general dogsbody for the Minister of Industry. Between playing off party factions and pursuing the kohl-eyed Ayisha, it's all in a day's work for Murray to hose down the situation at Pacific Pastoral.
Murray Whelan, political minder, is world-weary, terminally horny, and addicted to cigarettes. On a sultry Melbourne summer night, while Murray is in the Botanic Gardens tasting Salina Fleet's apricot lips, a dead artist is being fished from the ornamental moat outside the art gallery. Whelan goes looking for the big picture among the culture vultures of Melbourne's art world and quickly learns there is nothing abstract about a loaded gun. A romantic comedy and drop-dead thriller, The Brush-Off mixes high art with low blows.
When Murray Whelan, lovelorn political minder and part-time fitness fanatic, is recruited to massage Australia's bid for the Olympics, he has no idea how tough the going will get. Not even the sight of the gorgeous Holly Deloite in her taut blue leotard at the City Club can stop him diving head first into trouble. And, when the death of the young Aboriginal athlete Darcy Anderson proves that murder is a contact sport, Murray is soon breaking all the rules.
Murray Whelan is in trouble. A disastrous election is looming, and his days as advisor to Angelo Agnelli, minister for transport, may be numbered. His son, on loan to his ex-wife, is missing and may be in danger. His ex-fling, Heather, is prowling for his inner prince. And on an icy Melbourne winter morning, he has a rendezvous with a renegade driver in the corrupt truckers union.