Presumed Dead

Presumed Dead

Martin Knox

BLURB: COULD ONE WOMAN STOP POLITICAL CORRUPTION AND START TRUE DEMOCRACY?

  • Paperback : 430 pages
  • ISBN-10 : 0648160777
  • ISBN-13 : 978-0648160779
  • Product Dimensions : 14.81 x 2.21 x 21.01 cm
  • Publisher : Novel Ideas (14 March 2018)
  • Language: : English

Feisty Jane Kenwood is a strong woman councillor and popular public figure in Alexandra City, Southland. Her debating skills are legendary. She is independent and vociferously opposed to a megacasino proposal. When the Council becomes hung, her vote is critical. She disappears and her colleague and friend, Dr Phillip Keane, a forensic scientist, investigates with the help of her zany friends and a novel forensic method. Will they find her alive? Will she recover? Will they be able to stop the casino? Will she be able to transform the city’s fossilised partisan government into the participative democracy she wants? This is crime fiction that will leave you feeling empowered.

Themes:

  • Satire
  • Political crime
  • Love
  • Forensics


Testimonials

I think your “Presumed Dead ” is very publishable- you have a great command of narrative dialogue , just enough occasional poetic word use to keep the reader alert and a convincing grasp of the way that individual and social events are tied up to produce a convincing and interesting story line on topics of currently seething public interest, including over-development of coastlines, political corruption and the roles of individuals and the media within contemporary society. This text refers to the paperback edition. – Advance review 2018 by Phil Heywood, former Associate Professor and Head of Urban and Regional Planning in the Queensland University of Technology and President of the Queensland Division of the Planning Institute of Australia.



‘(The book is written with) a great command of narrative dialogue, just enough occasional poetic word use to keep the reader alert and a convincing grasp of the way that individual and social events are tied up to produce a convincing and interesting storyline on topics of currently seething public interest, including over-development of coastlines, political corruption and the roles of individuals and the media within contemporary society.’Reviewer: Phil Heywood, former Associate Professor and Head of Urban and Regional Planning in the Queensland University of Technology and President of the Queensland Division of the Planning Institute of Australia. He was installed in the National Institute’s Hall of Fame in 2013.


Presumed Dead by Martin Knox is a crime mystery that almost has a feel of Perry Mason about it. Jane Kenwood is a maverick local council politician who has been expelled from her party, which currently governs the city of Alexandra. She continues to frustrate and annoy her ex-colleagues on the council by staying in politics and winning re-election as an Independent. When a casino proposal, requiring the demolishing of a heritage building, is presented to the city and supported by the ruling council, Jane goes into attack mode to stop it and to propose an alternative use for the heritage listed building – a multicultural centre for the use of all the diverse ethnic needs of Alexandra’s citizens. When her colleagues, Dr Phillip Keane and her old friend Cutter, both cross the party floor to oppose the casino, it suddenly seems like Jane may have mustered the support to defeat this proposal. But then Jane goes missing and the hunt is on to find her abductors and/or murderers. Dr Keane, a former police forensic scientist, takes the lead in the investigation of finding Jane. Jane and he are lovers and he is desperate to recover her and destroy the perpetrators.

Presumed Dead is a classic “whodunit” and author Martin Knox does a very credible job of describing in detail the investigative techniques of crime scene analysis that the character had developed in his years as a police forensic scientist. The story is well constructed, with possible “red herrings” thrown in at appropriate points. The two principal characters of Jane and Phillip are well drawn and easy to relate to and empathize with. It is interesting that, as in real life, Knox has sought to bring two people with polar opposite personalities together in a romantic relationship. Jane, the firebrand extrovert with a passion for politics, and Phillip, the quiet, methodical, introvert who struggles to relate to people on a personal level. I particularly enjoyed the political undertones of the story and the ideals of what truly constitutes democracy. The idea of scrapping political parties and independent politicians voting on their conscience every time has been floated often and I think even trialed occasionally. It brings a real modern-day relevance to the story – one only needs to look at the political turmoil in the US at present to see the dangers of partisanship and party politics. All in all, a very satisfying read and one I can recommend.Reviewed By Grant Leishman for Readers’ Favorite : 4 Stars – 6.1.2019


Phillip Keane meets Jane Kenwood; they are both city councilors. She is politically independent, and Dr. Keane has an alliance with the Liberal Party. He admires Jane as a woman; he is in awe of her as a feisty politician and is sympathetic to her politics. Will these two independent people find harmony with each other? 

‪Jane requires all her courage, logic, and political acumen to fight the two main parties: the Southland Labor Party (SLP) and the National Liberation Party (NLP). The members of these parties take bribes and get rich at the expense of the people they represent. They govern for self-interest, and worse than that, the two parties collude to keep themselves in power. 

The presenting problem is whether the city of Alexandra’s Immigration Building should be used as a casino or as a multicultural center. Jane is fighting more than political greed, and she fights for her constituents to have their say in government. They want a multicultural center. Can Jane outwit her opponents and change the political environment in Southland, Australia?

‪Very early in the story, we know the crime: the kidnapping of Jane Kenwood. We know her abductors left her without food for five weeks, then dumped her in some concrete footings, and workers pouring concrete sludge rescued her from the wet concrete. The whole book is devoted to investigating the crime using a novel forensic process. I’m not going to spoil this surprise, but I am sure you will find it as exciting as I did. 

‪The numerous supporting characters in the book provide a rich tapestry of personalities. They include the councilors, the police investigation team, the inevitable anonymous voice issuing orders behind the scenes, Jane’s support group, the Lord Mayor (LM), the paid thugs, and the marvelously quick-witted concrete pourers. All these characters are believable, sometimes a little stereotyped, but we have all met people like them. Each group has a distinctive way of talking and thinking, so each cameo is different and exciting. Presumed Dead gives credence to the saying, “it’s not the crime – it’s the cover-up.” 

‪The pace of the book is sedate, allowing for time to experience all the investigative techniques and the political power plays – so like politics today. Another intriguing aspect was Phillip’s ability to understand Jane’s mind by the movement and appearance of her left or right eye. The author was able to describe for us the conflicting emotions experienced by someone who suffers from post-traumatic distress syndrome (PTSD). The love story between Phillip and Jane also progresses during the chaos of fighting the council. We need a Jane and a Phillip now to solve the partisan American swamp politics.

‪I rate Presumed Dead 4 out of 4 stars, for creativity, its focus on science, and the investigative techniques. I do not rate it 3 out of 4 stars because It was innovative. I found no errors. (Note: Some spellings are Australian English.) There was nothing I disliked about the book. It was a joy to read – educational and humorous. There are some detailed descriptions of an autopsy which may be too much for some readers.

‪I recommend this book to lovers of science, politics, crime investigation, love stories, authentic characters, and people who love a unique approach to a crime thriller.Abacus for Online Book Club May 21, 2020


Presumed Dead by Martin Knox is a crime mystery that almost has a feel of Perry Mason about it. Jane Kenwood is a maverick local council politician who has been expelled from her party, which currently governs the city of Alexandra. She continues to frustrate and annoy her ex-colleagues on the council by staying in politics and winning re-election as an Independent. When a casino proposal, requiring the demolishing of a heritage building, is presented to the city and supported by the ruling council, Jane goes into attack mode to stop it and to propose an alternative use for the heritage listed building – a multicultural centre for the use of all the diverse ethnic needs of Alexandra’s citizens. When her colleagues, Dr Phillip Keane and her old friend Cutter, both cross the party floor to oppose the casino, it suddenly seems like Jane may have mustered the support to defeat this proposal. But then Jane goes missing and the hunt is on to find her abductors and/or murderers. Dr Keane, a former police forensic scientist, takes the lead in the investigation of finding Jane. Jane and he are lovers and he is desperate to recover her and destroy the perpetrators.

Presumed Dead is a classic “whodunit” and author Martin Knox does a very credible job of describing in detail the investigative techniques of crime scene analysis that the character had developed in his years as a police forensic scientist. The story is well constructed, with possible “red herrings” thrown in at appropriate points. The two principal characters of Jane and Phillip are well drawn and easy to relate to and empathize with. It is interesting that, as in real life, Knox has sought to bring two people with polar opposite personalities together in a romantic relationship. Jane, the firebrand extrovert with a passion for politics, and Phillip, the quiet, methodical, introvert who struggles to relate to people on a personal level. I particularly enjoyed the political undertones of the story and the ideals of what truly constitutes democracy. The idea of scrapping political parties and independent politicians voting on their conscience every time has been floated often and I think even trialed occasionally. It brings a real modern-day relevance to the story – one only needs to look at the political turmoil in the US at present to see the dangers of partisanship and party politics. All in all, a very satisfying read and one I can recommend.

Stephanie Elizabeth Online Book Club 15.1.2020

‘I’ve read all Martin Knox novels, and Presumed Dead is a standout. Though I’m not a political person, I felt what it was like to be amid councillors, throwing words in heated discussions on public concerns, bouncing them across the floor like ping pong balls.

‘I applauded Jane’s efforts to overcome the casino and put forward the more politically correct, multicultural centre, with zest. In the author’s words: ‘Jane’s ego sometimes verged on hubris. She could be over-zealous, over-confident, ego-centric and

even self-aggrandising. Stopping    short   of    recklessness,   her brinkmanship was full on. I found this trait absolutely endearing. I would       always   be   on   her   side,   despite   her   crazy   behaviour, unconditionally. I hoped I would be able to protect her from adverse consequences.’

‘Another particular favourite: ‘…thrived on confrontation and danced along the very edge of the stage, where she was in danger of falling off into the orchestra pit…There was nothing I could do but watch her, as like a matador she flicked the cape of procedural rules and enraged the wounded government bull to make a fatal error.’

‘When the influential councillor, Jane goes missing you’ve got to feel for Phillip who is infatuated and in love with her. At least he comes into his own as he tries to unravel what happened by using his pre-existing forensics skills. Phillip, being the first person viewpoint gives a unique insight into how this very real character ticks, angst and all. Where Jane is gregarious, he is a quiet, deep thinker.

‘It’s impossible to tell which politicians are lying and who abducted Jane. The story twists and turns, particularly after part 4.

The reader will be right alongside Phillip as he tries to solve the crimes and his faithful bunch of friends, give us some hope that honourable,        devoted    politicians    actually    care    about    their community and the greater good. Anyone who has an interest in politics will love this masterful story.”  Pre-publication review September 8th 2017

Phil Heywood, former Associate Professor and Head of Urban and Regional Planning in the Queensland University of Technology and President of the Queensland Division of the Planning  Institute of Australia, who was installed in the National Institute’s Hall of Fame in 2013. As the author of three widely read books on Community Planning, [Planning & Human Need, (David & Charles 1974) The Emerging Social Metropolis (Elsevier, 1997) and Community Planning ( Wiley/Blackwell, 2011)] and numerous articles on the human and social roles of  politics and planning.

“I think your “Presumed Dead “ is very publishable- you have a great command of narrative dialogue , just enough occasional  poetic word use to keep the reader alert and  a convincing grasp of the way that individual and  social events are tied up to produce a convincing and interesting story  line on topics of currently seething public interest, including over-development of coastlines, political corruption and the roles of individuals and the media within contemporary society” .

Donna Munro Author of The Zanzibar Moon Series 12.11.2018

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