Blood Junction

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

India Kane has no idea that a trip to the Outback will lead to an excruciating process of self-discovery. When the footloose young reporter arrives in Cooinda—nicknamed “Blood Junction” by locals because of a 1952 atrocity in which Aborigines were hacked to death with machetes—she is immediately charged with two murders. She barely escapes a lynch mob and finds herself hiding stark naked in the bush.

Only a precocious little Aborigine girl named Polly and a hard-drinking renegade ex-cop called Mikey the Knife believe and befriend her. With the help of this unlikely pair, India tries to solve the murders of which she is wrongfully accused. Evidently Roland Knox, CEO of sinister, tightly guarded Karamyde Cosmetics Research Institute, has some reason for silencing anyone who knows too much. As India investigates she uncovers more and more unsolved murders of past and present, and when the trail leads her to modern Sydney she learns that she herself is half-Aborigine.

The antagonistic relationship between Mikey and India gradually blossoms into comradeship and sensual love. Together they unmask the sadistic megalomaniac Knox in an explosive climax, and India’s career skyrockets after she breaks the greatest Australian story of the century.

Adventure-loving author Caroline Carver’s debut novel won the Crime Writers’ Association New Writer’s Award. The plot is somewhat confusing and the supervillain is stereotyped, but the authentic descriptions of the hot, forbidding Outback and its semi-civilized white and black inhabitants holds the reader’s interest.