The top prize was a tie: Crook as Rookwood by Chris Nyst shared the honor with The Broken Shore by Peter Temple.
Last year Sue Turnbull praised The Broken Shore:
If you only read one crime novel this year, read The Broken Shore. It's not just a good yarn--there are plenty of those-- what Peter Temple achieves here is much, much more, capturing a specifically Australian perspective in prose as spare as it is precise. This book is the best yet from a writer who has already won a well-deserved reputation as one of our finest crime writers.And then there's Turnbull's take on Crook as Rookwood:
Nyst knits a convoluted plot in which every stitch counts and the pay-off is guaranteed. However, his real triumph is the nice observation of people and places, from Marrickville to the Gold Coast, the seductions of Sydney Harbour to the brutalities of prison. Nyst's ear for the vernacular is acute, locating the grim poetry in the Australian patois. Take the title. Rookwood is the location of the cemetery where you are likely to end up if you are crook. Next time someone asks how you are, you know what to say. Spread the good word.--Marshal Zeringue