This text is an Australian work by Robert Drewe, recounting his experiences of moving from Melbourne, a city in the very densely populated state of Victoria, to the contrasting and remote city of Perth in the equally sparse Western Autsralia. The first part of this autobiographical work is about getting used to the hotter, remoter, less built-up setting of Perth as a young child, around 6 or 7. As he grows older he has experiences with meningitis, Rottnest Island (off the coast of Perth), and Perth's notorious serial killer, Eric Cooke.
Cooke murdered 8 people throughout the 1950s and 1960s, with no obvious pattern or MO, variously shooting, stabbing, bludgeoning and running over his victims. Drewe had two links to the killer - Cooke used to work at Dunlop Rubber, where Drewe's father also worked. Also, when Drewe was in his late teens, Cooke killed a friend of Drewe's, John Sturkey. The evidence from the latter crime scene helped police track Cooke down and finally capture him.
The text itself is semi-Gothic and fully autobiographical, except for small excerpts where Drewe takes on a third-person role in watching Cooke's social habits. Where it is not in Gothic style, it is usually in humo(u)rous reflection, taking a laughable view on his family, usually describing his father as a man obsessed with Dunlop - even going so far as to order his kids unfashionable "Bumper" boots every Christmas, and to set rubber footprints in the floor near the toilet at a man's "average aiming distance".
An excellent read, well worth the time. 4/5