Bibliophile | Detective Dave Burrows has ‘Something to Hide’

Something to Hide
by Fleur McDonald
Allen & Unwin

This is the fourth novel in the crime series featuring Detective Dave Burrows and the sequel to Red Dirt Country (2019). McDonald describes her character as being tough, loyal, full of integrity, who doesn’t mind bending the rules to get the ‘right-justice’ outcome. McDonald says that her character resulted from intense discussions with the ‘real life Dave’ who is a working rural policeman in WA, as well as the three days she shadowed the stock squad.

Burrows loves his exciting job in the Stock Squad in rural areas of Australia. Unfortunately his identity was discovered while working undercover when he befriended a particularly nasty cattle rustler by the name of Ashley Barnett (otherwise known as Bulldust). Dave had seen first-hand what happened to people who betrayed Bulldust and they usually ended up dead.

After escaping arrest, Bulldust and his stepbrother Scotty headed west to the desert where underground water enabled them to grow marijuana to sell in Perth. Scotty’s Bikie contacts were taking as much of their crop that they could supply so money was no problem. The only problem was that Bulldust was seething with the need to get revenge and he knew where Dave and his family lived.

Dave’s wife Mel wants him to leave his risky job. Dealing with a young baby, a toddler and a continually absent husband is difficult. Add to that the isolation of living in a remote country town… and a dangerous career criminal with a history of extreme violence approaching her in the supermarket.

Moving to stay with her parents, Mel gives her husband an ultimatum that he is going to have to choose between his job and his family. She asks Dave, “Is it really fair for me and the children not to have you in our lives because you’re off busy saving someone else’s family … or someone has killed you?”

This tense drama shows both the pressures on the families of police working in extreme situations, and the Russian roulette police play with their lives and their mental health every day on the job.

Lezly Herbert

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