The meek shall inherit the earth, or so it is said. I get the feeling that Maggie has never heard the saying. Meek is the very last word you’d use to describe this cross between Wonder Woman and Mad Max. She’s someone who acts first and asks questions later.
We first met Maggie in Gabriel Bergmoser’s blistering crime fiction debut, The Hunted, had a brief reacquaintance in the short story The Survivor, and now it’s time to meet face to face with a woman who will stop at nothing to get what she wants. Before this tale is through, she will have been attacked with a whole range of implements and weapons, including a machete, and retaliated with a makeshift arsenal of her own.
The only child of an abusive father, abandoned to her fate by a mother who ran away at the first opportunity, Maggie has had a lifetime to stoke the anger that burns inside her. It is white hot and prone to pour out of her like molten lava – and woe betide the person in her sights when that happens.
As the book opens, Maggie is working behind the bar at a quiet little place in Port Douglas, a coastal town in Queensland. She’s happy to live from day to day, keeping her head down and becoming near invisible. But one day her boss is threatened by a local gangster and that aforementioned anger begins to simmer. Next thing you know, Maggie has blown up the guy’s drugs warehouse… with him inside it. Maybe it’s time to move on once again?
Instead, Maggie’s past catches up with her, in the shape of Harrison Cooper, one of her ex-cop father’s former colleagues. He’s still on the job, and recognised Maggie from video footage of her recent firebombing exploits. He has a tale to tell, and soon the pair are on the road together. Cooper’s reappearance churns up all manner of memories for Maggie, some good but most not. Can she trust him?
The answer comes with Bergmoser’s next gore-filled set piece – god, this guy must have shares in a blood bank or something. Maggie has upset people, big time, and the drugs cartel she crossed are not her only worry. Members of The Scorpions, a no-hold-barred biker gang, are also on her trail, ready to take her dead or alive.
But as I said earlier, this is no shrinking violet and the way Maggie gets herself out of some really hairy situations at times stretches the bounds of believability to breaking point. Best leave the reality radar at the door as you settle down to read this one.
The author is an award-winning scriptwriter, and there’s a sharply cinematic quality to his writing. There’s almost a road trip element in play here, giving the reader a sense of a part of Australia that probably won’t be featuring in any guide books anytime soon, but would work really well on film. And Maggie? Maggie is a towering, if fanciful, protagonist. She’s battered and scarred, but brave, reckless, resourceful and teetering on the edge of madness — and above all, very, very angry. Not someone you’d want to share a tinnie with unless you were in full command of your faculties, believe me.
The Inheritance is a thrill-a-minute ride that keeps up the reading momentum throughout, packed with Aussie chutzpa and hugely entertaining – if you don’t mind an attention to detail that can sometimes prove stomach-churning. If Jack Reacher‘s your thing, then I suggest you give Maggie a try. She could certainly give the guy a run for his money!
Before you get stuck into The Inheritance, why not feast your eyes on The Survivor, a short story bridging the gap between the two books? It’s only available here on Crime Fiction Lover. Also see Steph Broadribb‘s Lori Anderson series, set in Florida.
Faber & Faber
CFL Rating: 4 Stars
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