The Murder of Jeremy Brookes

McGinnis Investigations has been operating a small but successful shop in Campbelltown, an hour south of Sydney, for over a decade. Business has been what you’d expect in a sort of rough town in a sort of rough country, with an ever increasing circle of rough and tumble clients spreading the word that Dan McGinnis’ team could get the job done, but only above board.

Nothing shady, nothing illegal, frequently successful and frequently just skirting the line.

But nothing could prepare Dan McGinnis for the depths he would plumb when a wealthy Sydney surgeon visits his office and asks him to investigate her husband’s murder. Her husband, Jeremy Brookes, was legal counsel for the owner of a right-wing media empire.

The police say he was killed during a mugging gone bad. She thinks it was a targeted attack.

Crossing powerful media types, the real killer and two other cases that seem to be connected drag Dan and his team into the darker side of politics, money and corruption.

“The Murder of Jeremy Brookes” is available for pre-order now, and will be released on June 30th, 2019.

e-book: Amazon | iTunes | Barnes & Noble | Kobo  USD$0.99 until July 31st, $2.99 thereafter.

Paperback: Amazon US | Amazon CA | Amazon AUS ($16.99 USD /$22.37 CAN (??) / $27.49 AUD (??) ) [Excuse the bizarre non-US prices. Limited control with that.]

I was thinking today, while in a position that is very conducive to thought, that there are some things in life that we expect to be easy, simple and basic, and some things in life difficult, complex and hard to understand.
In the ‘easy’ category we would have walking on the beach, opening doors and making peanut butter sandwiches.In the ‘difficult’ or ‘hard to understand’ pile I’d include triple integration, calculating the thrust required for geosynchronous orbit and how they get the pizza in Pizza Pockets.

We don’t expect the easy to get more difficult, and while we may pray for it, particularly just before mid-terms, we really don’t expect the difficult to get any easier.

Which brings me to my point.

Toilet paper dispensing should sit very close to the top of the ‘easy’ list, alongside ‘sitting’ and ‘Suzy the head cheerleader’.

The physics are extremely straightforward, and the application of the physics even easier. Sure, there will be interminable debate over whether ‘over the top’ is preferable to ‘hanging down the back‘, but that’s really just silly.

(‘Over the top’. Discussion just displays your backwardness.)

Unfortunately somebody at a company I can’t name has decided to complicate it. REALLY complicate it. (I’d name the company, but the dispenser doesn’t have a name on it. Anywhere. Hiding something maybe?)

This thing, which I examined very closely while sitting and thinking in the office today, is designed to hold three rolls of paper. A Tall, rectangular metal box nailed to the wall, and locked at the top.

Yes. Locked.

At first blush, this would seem a great idea. No chance of running out at that critical, and potentially embarrassing, moment. Nightly cleaning staff (this is in the office, remember) would be tasked to make sure it never got below two rolls.

Simplicity itself, you might be thinking.

And you would be so wrong.

You see, the bottom roll, the one that the would be accessed first, has two rolls sitting on top of it. When you try to roll the bottom one, you have to also roll the ones above it. The bottom one, rolls in one direction, the middle one is rolling in the opposite direction and the one on top, reversed again.

That’s a lot of extra weight to deal with.

Pulling on the square on the bottom roll requires an infinite amount of patience. You need to pull with some degree of force – you’ve got the weight of two additional rolls to deal with – but you can’t pull TOO hard or you’ll be ripping off single panels and that’s just not acceptable.

So, in an ideal situation, it is possible if you’re careful and patient.

It’s more often than not a non-ideal situation though.

In the non-ideal scenario, the middle and top rolls are loose, their respective tails dropping down and mingling, YES, MINGLING, with the TP tail you’re trying to grab. You might manage to grab the right one, but odds are better that you’ll get either the middle or top tail and then you are up shit creek, as they say, without a, um, paddle.

It’s like some weird kind of negative feedback loop is deployed. The harder you pull on the wrong tail, the tighter the whole mess gets, and you end up tearing off a piece about the size of a fifty cent piece.

Which is why I’m still sitting here, four hours later…

I was born and mostly grew up in Canada. A lovely country. Gets cold enough during the winter to seriously curtail any really nasty threats. It’s a good news / bad news thing. You can go in the ocean in Nova Scotia without worrying about sharks, but you do have to worry about hypothermia. All year round. And bears.

I now live in Australia. Very little chance of hypothermia (though it’s not out of the question in Tasmania and some of the higher elevations during what is laughably called “winter” here). Sharks, a little more common. Had a shark warning at the beach a week or so ago. I wrote about it. ‘Twern’t nuthin’.

But even still, you don’t run into sharks on a daily basis unless you’re a surf lifesaver. Or, possibly, a surfer.

Here on terra firma we have spiders. And snakes.

The categorisation of threats held in my North American brain, factoring access (to me) and lethality (to me) has ALWAYS placed snakes above spiders. Hell, I can stomp on a spider. Wouldn’t think of stomping on a snake. Not without steel capped, steel-arched, steel-shanked – ah, fuck it — steel boots.

Then I saw this video. It’s about a year old, but it still freaks me the hell out.

Watch it. Don’t watch it. But remember things are never as good as you think they are.


This holiday break has been a good one. A few extra days off gave me a full two weeks and the temps have been in the mid to high 30s. Celsius. True Christmas weather.

So, naturally, we went to the beach. Many times. (Going again, with the pooch, in about 30 minutes.)

On January 1st, my son and I hit City Beach in Wollongong and after three and a half hours of looking for a parking spot (HA! I joke. It was only three hours.) we made it to the sand. The place wasn’t (yet) too crowded and the water was nice. I plopped down on the warm sand and my son hit the water.

Not thirty seconds after entering the water the surfies started ringing their school bell and the conspicuously hovering chopper lit up its siren (like a police siren – so much so I spent a full minute craning my neck looking for the PD issued dune buggy). Everyone immediately hauled ass out of the water, none faster than my son.

Apparently a shark (type and size unknown to me) wanted to party with the holiday revellers.

Now, to my non-native Australian brain, this would call for an immediate, nation-wide beach shutdown, extending at least 10km inland. HA!, I say, again.

Literally less that two minutes later the siren stopped, the bell was stowed and peoples started getting back in the water. Son and I decided we wait until there were enough small, tantalisingly bits-sized people in the water before we’d go back in — you know, the appetisers to the entre.

Talking just after that with an American friend based in California, he likened the Australian attitude to sharks to the Californian attitude about earthquakes: Unless it’s a big mothereffer, it’s “meh, lets get back in. The water’s fine.”

Stay tuned. Up next, how a spider killed a snake and ate it. Right here in Australia.