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Jack Irish—gambler, cook and cabinetmaker, finder of people who don’t want to be found—has a new job, hunting for evidence that might save the beautiful sculptor Sarah Longmore from a murder rap. Jack soon discovers there was nothing straightforward about Mickey Franklin’s death, and falls headlong into a world of shady deals, sexual secrets and country rednecks.


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Jack Irish—gambler, cook and cabinetmaker, finder of people who don’t want to be found—has a new job, hunting for evidence that might save the beautiful sculptor Sarah Longmore from a murder rap. Jack soon discovers there was nothing straightforward about Mickey Franklin’s death, and falls headlong into a world of shady deals, sexual secrets and country rednecks.

30 review for White Dog

  1. 4 out of 5

    Alex Cantone

    (Haig) took me round, introduced me to people. He didn’t say what I did for a living and he didn’t say what they did. Most of them were youngish, in black or grey jackets worn over collarless shirts, the full range of hair, from nothing to plenty. Many of the men needed a shave, some could have done with a swift kick up the arse. One woman had hair like a monk’s cap and wore a silken sleeveless top slit to the belly, olive-skinned bulges showing. I knew the names of a few of them: restaurant own (Haig) took me round, introduced me to people. He didn’t say what I did for a living and he didn’t say what they did. Most of them were youngish, in black or grey jackets worn over collarless shirts, the full range of hair, from nothing to plenty. Many of the men needed a shave, some could have done with a swift kick up the arse. One woman had hair like a monk’s cap and wore a silken sleeveless top slit to the belly, olive-skinned bulges showing. I knew the names of a few of them: restaurant owners, fashionable architects, a gallery owner, a photographer, two artists. We stopped briefly at the small court of an ageing film director - two women and a youth I thought I’d seen on television, mostly cheekbones and big brown eyes, all absorbing cinematic genius through their pores. The director paid close attention to Tony Haig, ignoring his own acolytes while we were there. It was a food chain. Readers familiar with the TV mini-series of Jack Irish, starring Hollywood A-lister Guy Pearce in the lead role, with a host of Australian character actors, will recognise the slightly down-at-heel Melbourne solicitor, his on/off love affair with journalist Linda, apprentice to cabinetmaker Charlie Taub, the old codgers drinking at the Prince of Prussia bewailing their Aussie Rules football team, and former jockey and racing identity Harry Strang, with his assistant / fixer Cam Delray. Plus overweight detective Barry Tregear. What the TV series cannot convey is the late Peter Temple’s acerbic wit, dissecting people, places and even the unpredictable Melbourne weather with the precision of a surgeon. In White Dog (published 2003), Jack Irish is assisting his former partner, now associate, Drew as he prepares to defend an attractive female sculptor of scrap metal, charged with murdering her ex-boyfriend, developer Mickie Franklin, who was involved in some shady dealings in the building industry. Jack is to find some evidence to clear the client by tracking down the supposed witness for the prosecution, using his resources in Sydney and help from Cam. Other parties don’t want that to happen, and when the defendant is killed in an apparent accident in her studio, Jack finds himself a target. There was no signing for envelopes from D. J. Olivier. I went back to my table and opened this one with a sharpened bicycle spoke I’d found in the alley and sterilised. A wad of A4 sheets of paper, some photographs, laser-printed. A sticky yellow square was attached to the first page. One handwritten sentence: ‘Care might be in order.’ A stranger to care, I returned to my chair behind the tailor’s table. I read… All the Jack Irish books are a joy, with intricate plots and wonderful characters. A perfect holiday or weekend read. Not recommended for long-haul flights as you’ll annoy other passengers.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Calzean

    Jack Irish has a lot of interests. So a fair bit of each book covers his love of a struggling football team, his old mates at a struggling pub, his struggling efforts as a furniture maker, helping his mate to make a more than struggling living of horse racing, his struggles with yet another lovely lady under the doona and his struggling business as a lawyer/investigator. In this fourth book (and so far last) in the series I think the author was also struggling.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Ystyn Francis

    The quality of the story is irrelevant - I just can't get enough of Peter Temple's style. The quality of the story is irrelevant - I just can't get enough of Peter Temple's style.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Rob Kitchin

    White Dog is the fourth and (so far) last book in the excellent Jack Irish series set in and around Melbourne about a former lawyer who divides his time between being an investigator, debt collector, furniture maker, horse-racing gambler and watching Aussie rules football. Like all of Peter Temple’s novels, White Dog is a nice mix of hardboiled crime and literary voice and observational asides. In a genre full of workman-like prose, Temple writes with a fresh tone. The narrative is layered and s White Dog is the fourth and (so far) last book in the excellent Jack Irish series set in and around Melbourne about a former lawyer who divides his time between being an investigator, debt collector, furniture maker, horse-racing gambler and watching Aussie rules football. Like all of Peter Temple’s novels, White Dog is a nice mix of hardboiled crime and literary voice and observational asides. In a genre full of workman-like prose, Temple writes with a fresh tone. The narrative is layered and sometimes almost elusive or veiled, the reader as unsure as to what is happening as Jack. It’s an intriguing and beguiling style. As usual, the characterisation is excellent, especially Jack and the Youth Club, an elderly group of football supporters that prop up the local bar, and Jack’s horse racing friends. The plot is tight and engaging and there’s a nice sense of place. Overall, a first rate read and I’m hoping that now the first two books have been adapted for television that Temple will resurrect what has been a stellar series.

  5. 5 out of 5

    P Seeley

    Start with the first book in the Jack Irish series so the characters and background in this book are familiar. Not necessary, but I found this book more enjoyable because of the continuity with the previous three. In any case, Peter Temple's books are always worth reading. He's up there with the best of the literary/mystery stylists. Wit, sass, an eye for detail and the ability to express both mood and action in a way that resembles no one else's. And no one writes better dialogue. You don't eve Start with the first book in the Jack Irish series so the characters and background in this book are familiar. Not necessary, but I found this book more enjoyable because of the continuity with the previous three. In any case, Peter Temple's books are always worth reading. He's up there with the best of the literary/mystery stylists. Wit, sass, an eye for detail and the ability to express both mood and action in a way that resembles no one else's. And no one writes better dialogue. You don't even have to understand all the Aussie slang at first read to know how perfect the ear for spoken language is.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Hermien

    Very enjoyable. I love the humour.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer (JC-S)

    ‘You’ve got to look after yourself.’ In this, the fourth (and now last) Jack Irish novel, Jack is assisting his former partner and now associate Andrew Greer as he prepares to defend Sarah Longmore from a charge of murder. His sometime girlfriend Linda Hillier has headed overseas for work. Sarah Longmore has been charged with the murder of Mickey Franklin, her ex-boyfriend. Mickey, shot with his own gun, was involved in some questionable activities in the building industry. Is Sarah Longmore inno ‘You’ve got to look after yourself.’ In this, the fourth (and now last) Jack Irish novel, Jack is assisting his former partner and now associate Andrew Greer as he prepares to defend Sarah Longmore from a charge of murder. His sometime girlfriend Linda Hillier has headed overseas for work. Sarah Longmore has been charged with the murder of Mickey Franklin, her ex-boyfriend. Mickey, shot with his own gun, was involved in some questionable activities in the building industry. Is Sarah Longmore innocent? What follows is a complicated story as Jack follows clues while dealing with the many other aspects of his busy life. And Jack himself is at risk, naturally. While this is the final complete Jack Irish novel, it is the first I have read. My appetite for Jack Irish was whetted by reading the significant fragment (89 pages) of ‘High Art’ (an unfinished Jack Irish novel) which appeared in ‘The Red Hand’ (published in 2019, after Peter Temple’s death in 2018). I was intrigued (and, no, I’ve not watched the television series). I’ve read a few of Mr Temple’s novels. I have enjoyed the clever and usually complex plots, together with the observational wit. I enjoyed this novel as well. While it’s not in the same class as ‘The Broken Shore’ and ‘Truth’, it has a quintessential Australian flavour. Now I just need to track down copies of the first three novels. Jennifer Cameron-Smith

  8. 4 out of 5

    Roger

    If this is the last Jack Irish book it is possibly not a bad thing. The plots are all a bit similar and it would be best to leave us liking the characters rather than becoming bored with them. Jack Irish himself would be a bit of a bog-standard tough guy if it were not for the sidelines like his love for a no-hoper football team and his ventures into top class furniture making. The books are lifted above the mass by his "boss" in the furniture workshop, the characters in the pub and Jack's horse If this is the last Jack Irish book it is possibly not a bad thing. The plots are all a bit similar and it would be best to leave us liking the characters rather than becoming bored with them. Jack Irish himself would be a bit of a bog-standard tough guy if it were not for the sidelines like his love for a no-hoper football team and his ventures into top class furniture making. The books are lifted above the mass by his "boss" in the furniture workshop, the characters in the pub and Jack's horse racing colleagues. It always seems to me that the latter could form the basis for a good book on their own. It is also good the way that the city of Melbourne becomes a character rather than just background. The female characters, always with long legs, beautiful and sexy and drawn to Jack Irish like bees to a honey pot, I am sure reflect Peter Temple's fantasies rather than any real need for plot development. The plot in this book, like all of the others, is very convoluted and it is best to set a trail of breadcrumbs from the start or face getting lost. Unlike some of the earlier books, the non-regular characters are drawn quite strongly but they do drift in and out a bit. The body count is high as always and the level of apparent corruption in Melbourne makes the average African state look like an English parish council. Surely exaggeration but then this is a crime novel and not an academic report into Australian government. If you want a fast action thriller which is a bit above most others in the quality of the writing and the level of intelligence shown by the writer then this could be for you. However, do not expect it to be easy because it is not. Worth the effort though. So, if it is goodbye to Jack Irish, this is a good book to finish on. But, as Jack heads off to find his lady love in England, could we find him popping up with an adventure in London? At least he will feel at home with the weather aand there are plenty of no-hoper football teams to choose from.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Jane

    It might have been a bad idea to watch ABC TV's adaptation of 'Jack Irish #1/Bad Debts' in the midst of this. I got confused about which story was which, and suddenly my imaginary Jack Irish turned into Guy Pearce. I mean, Guy Pearce is plenty nice to look at, but isn't really how I see dear Jack in my head. So all of that was a struggle. By the end I was tired and confused (and jet-lagged, but that may have had more to do with international travel than with the book). In summary, I wish there w It might have been a bad idea to watch ABC TV's adaptation of 'Jack Irish #1/Bad Debts' in the midst of this. I got confused about which story was which, and suddenly my imaginary Jack Irish turned into Guy Pearce. I mean, Guy Pearce is plenty nice to look at, but isn't really how I see dear Jack in my head. So all of that was a struggle. By the end I was tired and confused (and jet-lagged, but that may have had more to do with international travel than with the book). In summary, I wish there were more Jack Irish books, or that I had read this later on. Write more, Peter Temple!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Jan

    Disappointing book from Peter Temple. I like the crime novel genre but found this one didn't catch me up in the mystery in the way many others do. The scene with the dogs was too unbelievable. I do however love Temple's sparse use of words to create strong images. I wonder how much value the Melbourne references would have if you haven't lived there. Maybe a bit self indulgent I feel. Disappointing book from Peter Temple. I like the crime novel genre but found this one didn't catch me up in the mystery in the way many others do. The scene with the dogs was too unbelievable. I do however love Temple's sparse use of words to create strong images. I wonder how much value the Melbourne references would have if you haven't lived there. Maybe a bit self indulgent I feel.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Devilish

    I just love Peter Temple's writing - sparse, wry, dry wit and beautiful observation. I just love Peter Temple's writing - sparse, wry, dry wit and beautiful observation.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Rachel MacNaught

    What a bore.

  13. 4 out of 5

    A.M.

    I had forgotten how sad this one is. Bleak, I guess. Linda leaves on page one heading to London for a job trial that ends up going well. A week later, Jack is asked to do some of his special digging for a client of Drew’s. Sculptor Sarah Longmore has been charged with murder of her ex, Mickey Franklin. Shot with his own gun, plus he was having an affair with her sister. Jack complicates things by falling into bed with her. She’s Melbourne high society, and Drew would never have kept such an importa I had forgotten how sad this one is. Bleak, I guess. Linda leaves on page one heading to London for a job trial that ends up going well. A week later, Jack is asked to do some of his special digging for a client of Drew’s. Sculptor Sarah Longmore has been charged with murder of her ex, Mickey Franklin. Shot with his own gun, plus he was having an affair with her sister. Jack complicates things by falling into bed with her. She’s Melbourne high society, and Drew would never have kept such an important case, but she insisted he retain the brief. *** Missing girls, and careless parents seems to be the theme… maybe it’s always Jack’s theme? More horse shenanigans. More crooked cops, crooked developers and a huge amount of money at stake. Jake identifies with the racehorse who some days won’t even come out of the gates, and other days has a blinding race. The titular white dog explains itself eventually. It’s not such a bad metaphor for Jack; he’s the dog that won’t quit. Throw money at him and he just wonders where it came from. Give him a name and he will track it to the end. He gets very badly knocked around in this one, but it still feels kind of real. And he won’t take the fall and he won’t stay down. 5 stars

  14. 4 out of 5

    Anna

    I didn't know anything about Peter Temple before reading this, the 4th in the Jack Irish series. I would certainly seek out the other three to read. I was saddened to read, when I did a bit of research, that the author had died last year. I'm a huge fan, and reader, of thrillers and detective fiction. This ticked the boxes for me. It was different, being Australian. The speech cadences were different but not difficult to get in the swing of on the page. For me it had strong resonances of Raymond I didn't know anything about Peter Temple before reading this, the 4th in the Jack Irish series. I would certainly seek out the other three to read. I was saddened to read, when I did a bit of research, that the author had died last year. I'm a huge fan, and reader, of thrillers and detective fiction. This ticked the boxes for me. It was different, being Australian. The speech cadences were different but not difficult to get in the swing of on the page. For me it had strong resonances of Raymond Chandler and Philip Marlow. The writing, and the character, had depth and intelligence and the plot involving a rich powerful man and his beautiful wayward daughters certainly had a Chandler feel to it. Throw in some lowlifes and it's even more reminiscent of the mean streets of Chandler's world. I say this all in a good way as I loved the book. I loved the details of the local area where he lives and works. What he eats for his lunch. Every character in the book is well drawn. Each could have a story of their own and you feel that they go on with their lives after Jack has moved out of their scene. Strongly recommended.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Craig Pittman

    The fourth and apparently last book in Peter Temple's fascinating series about Aussie lawyer and finder of the lost detail Jack Irish is a satisfying read, albeit one with a plot that's not quite as convoluted as the other three. The self-mocking and perpetually too-curious Irish has been run through the wringer before, but in this book he gets blown up, beat up, peed on, kidnapped and chased down by vicious dogs. By using his wits and memory, he still manages to come out on top, only slightly w The fourth and apparently last book in Peter Temple's fascinating series about Aussie lawyer and finder of the lost detail Jack Irish is a satisfying read, albeit one with a plot that's not quite as convoluted as the other three. The self-mocking and perpetually too-curious Irish has been run through the wringer before, but in this book he gets blown up, beat up, peed on, kidnapped and chased down by vicious dogs. By using his wits and memory, he still manages to come out on top, only slightly worse for wear. In this novel Irish is hired to help out his former law partner Drew in mounting a defense for a sculptor who's been charged with a murder she swears she didn't commit. Irish manages to connect the case to one involving a dead pimp as well as (and this always happens in a Jack Irish case) shady land development and construction deals. Despite strenuous efforts to discourage him from poking his nose in any further, he keeps pushing until he's finally running for his life in a rugged back-country manhunt with a couple of characters who seem to have stumbled in from a Joe R. Lansdale novel. Irish is a vivid character, well-rounded almost to a fault. In between getting embroiled in mysteries he also puts in time at a woodworking shop as if he's doing penance. He also periodically helps out a client who's involved in some shady business involving racehorses and cheers on a woebegone soccer team along with his mates at an old pub his father used to frequent. His love life, too, is a source of some head-shaking. In Australia the Jack Irish series is so popular it became a TV hit starring Guy Pearce of "LA Confidential" as the main character, yet the series is largely unknown in the U.S., perhaps because of the peculiar Down Under lingo that's littered throughout. But to me that's what makes the writing that much richer. You're not getting the usual Chandler rip-off with this battered knight errant. He's his own man, and my only wish is that there were more books in his series.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Richard Thompson

    From the Goodreads Blurb: Jack Irish—gambler, cook and cabinetmaker, finder of people who don’t want to be found—has a new job, hunting for evidence that might save the beautiful sculptor Sarah Longmore from a murder rap. Jack soon discovers there was nothing straightforward about Mickey Franklin’s death, and falls headlong into a world of shady deals, sexual secrets and country rednecks. I like Jack's voice as a storyteller, but you have to stay on your toes to keep track of who's who and who's do From the Goodreads Blurb: Jack Irish—gambler, cook and cabinetmaker, finder of people who don’t want to be found—has a new job, hunting for evidence that might save the beautiful sculptor Sarah Longmore from a murder rap. Jack soon discovers there was nothing straightforward about Mickey Franklin’s death, and falls headlong into a world of shady deals, sexual secrets and country rednecks. I like Jack's voice as a storyteller, but you have to stay on your toes to keep track of who's who and who's doing what to whom. There are a lot of women characters in this one and I found it hard to tell them apart at time... it became clearer toward the end of the book. (I remember having the same problem with the TV version of the story.) That fault — which admittedly could be all mine — and a bit of over the top Energizer Bunny stuff cost Temple a couple of stars on this one.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Laraine

    4 stars. The fourth book in Temple's gritty Jack Irish series was a good one. Jack's working for his former lawyer partner and is investigating the case of a rich young woman who claims she was framed in the death of her former lover. But Jack finds out that nothing is as it seems and as he gets closer to Sarah, a metal sculptor, he realizes that there is more to the death of her lover and that he and Sarah could be in grave danger. Battling unseen enemies, Jack is determined to find out about t 4 stars. The fourth book in Temple's gritty Jack Irish series was a good one. Jack's working for his former lawyer partner and is investigating the case of a rich young woman who claims she was framed in the death of her former lover. But Jack finds out that nothing is as it seems and as he gets closer to Sarah, a metal sculptor, he realizes that there is more to the death of her lover and that he and Sarah could be in grave danger. Battling unseen enemies, Jack is determined to find out about the dead man and uncovers more than a murder. A violent and at times gripping novel, this would not be to everyone's taste, but I enjoyed the read and the ride.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Janine

    Like the other Jack Irish novels, White Dog is steeped in local Melbourne colour, very familiar to north-of-the-Yarra inner suburban Melburnians (as I am). I think I’m just going to have to admit that I don’t really like Peter Temple’s books very much. I’m already ambivalent about the fictional crime genre and Temple’s books, with their abbreviated dialogue and huge range of incidental characters, just confuse me. For my full review see: https://residentjudge.wordpress.com/2... Like the other Jack Irish novels, White Dog is steeped in local Melbourne colour, very familiar to north-of-the-Yarra inner suburban Melburnians (as I am). I think I’m just going to have to admit that I don’t really like Peter Temple’s books very much. I’m already ambivalent about the fictional crime genre and Temple’s books, with their abbreviated dialogue and huge range of incidental characters, just confuse me. For my full review see: https://residentjudge.wordpress.com/2...

  19. 5 out of 5

    Charles

    As usual, the humor is deep and hearty, the plot twisting but engaging, and our hero Jack, although getting little respect from the hoi polloi, has enough friends that he can get out of most jams. I won't spoil this by explaining the title, but it feels just a tad random; I mean, Mean and Pissy Bald Guy or Non-Banjo Plucking Aussie Yokels could have worked just as well! But Jack Irish always has a great comeback. As usual, the humor is deep and hearty, the plot twisting but engaging, and our hero Jack, although getting little respect from the hoi polloi, has enough friends that he can get out of most jams. I won't spoil this by explaining the title, but it feels just a tad random; I mean, Mean and Pissy Bald Guy or Non-Banjo Plucking Aussie Yokels could have worked just as well! But Jack Irish always has a great comeback.

  20. 5 out of 5

    David C Ward

    Pretty good. More straightforward although there’s the usual complicated corrupt real estate dealings which occasion murders including the first one, of a shady fixer whose artist/rich girl girlfriend is framed for the killing. As usual, if the bad guys didn’t just start killing people they’d have a better chance of getting away with it. And Jack should have figured out they were after him too when the artist/rich girl’s studio is blown up....carry a gun or something man.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Graham Davies

    I like the Jack Irish series as I visited Australia once, so can visualise all of the scenes as I am obviously somewhat expert in the surroundings in which the book is set. It also helps that I’ve seen a Jack Irish TV film, with that bloke in it from Neighbours, who I think was also in home & away, and I think he probably has a couple of records in the charts in the late 80’s and early 90’s.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Trevor Kettlewell

    Capable, gritty quasi-mythical Australian characters with crime staples (e.g. beaten down sleuth comfortable in high or low culture, knight rescuing swooning damsels). Interesting cultural marker: saw it as a movie before reading it, villain had been changed from standard industrialist to Hillsong preacher – society’s new whipping boy

  23. 4 out of 5

    Carol

    I really enjoy Peter Temples writing style for this series. It is how you think and feel and just suits Jack Irish perfectly. Another enjoyable chapter in the life of Good guy/slightly bad guy Jack Irish.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jan

    I found this really difficult to follow, had very little idea what was happening and keeping track of who people were in the storyline. Perhaps I needed to be more familiar with Australian references or expressions to get the full benefit.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Julie Round

    Sharp, fast paced, witty with such a strong voice that I could hear it in my head. The writing was so good I hardly registered the story. This will be my next favourite author if other books are as compelling.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Dragonladymoi

    I’m really starting to get into Peter Temple’s style; some awesome description. He takes a while setting the scene and is, at times, more wordy than I believe necessary but once he draws in the threads and the action starts, he is superb. Well worth the read. I gave it 🌟🌟🌟🌟.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Stephen Kimber

    See my comments on Bad Debts. Temple is well worth a read.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Ed Eleazer

    Definitely the best of the Jack Irish series. The writing is taut and the style is perfectly suited to the noir motif. The ending is thrilling and exciting. A fine read.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Kate

    Well written, lots of women getting murdered and not saying much.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Jack Heath

    Synopsis: Jack Irish, gambler, cook and cabinetmaker, is hunting for evidence that might save sculptor Sarah Longmore from a murder rap.

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