The 16th annual Ned Kelly Awards has named Brit-born Alan Carter this year’s winner of the Best First Fiction prize for his book, Prime Cut, which explores the dark underbelly of the Australian mining industry and small town police corruption.
The book is set in the middle of Australian nowhere, where the economic collapse of the last few years has done little to slow the growth of the mining industry and the accompanying population boom. Into this Wild West scenario Carter places his disgraced cop protagonist, who after the discovery of a torso washed up on the local beach uncovers a web of murder, exploitation and corruption that has fuelled the town’s economic growth.
The judges celebrated Carter’s work for its gritty authenticity, unique voice and uncompromising descriptions, while The Sunday Times called it a ‘… a gritty and engrossing look at crime and racism in a small Western Australian town.’
Other winners from the ceremony, which celebrates the best of Australian crime fiction, were Geoffrey McGeachin, who won the best novel award for The Diggers Rest Hotel; Geesche Jacobsen, who won the true-crime award for her novel Abandoned: The Sad Death of Dianne Brimble; and AS Patric, who picked up the short-story award for Hemisphere Travel Guides: Las Vegas for Vegans.