Another novel in my exploration of free verse writing. Dorothy Porter would have to be one of the main attractions on the map. This is her fifth and most recent free verse novel, a mystery that focuses not only on the crime, but also on the personal lives of its two main characters.
Bill Buchanan is a seasoned investigator and single parent assigned to a serial killer who murders children. His calling card is a single mark of gold dust on the forehead of each of the murdered children, earning him the moniker, El Dorado.
El Dorado has Melbourne (great to read a local novel!) gripped by fear. Feeling the pressure, Bill calls in his best friend Cath. Cath works in Hollywood, and this has an imagination that balances Bill’s logic. Cath immediately makes some insight into El Dorado’s motivations, and as the narrative progresses, find a strange connection between the killer and her own childhood memories.
One of the best aspects of this novel is that Porter shares so much of Bill and Kath’s personal life as well. Cath pursues a much younger lover Lily, and then feels insecure about their age difference. Bill remembers his childhood passion for Cath – obviously unrequited – and struggles to open lines of communication with his teenage daughter.
Porter writes incredibly, able to convey so many emotions through the careful choice of just a few words. A pleasure to read.