Blood on the Streets as a Town Explodes' boomed the front page of the Sydney Morning Herald one winter's morning in 1987. Heavily armed police had been dispatched to quell a 'race riot' in a northern New South Wales town after yet another young Aboriginal man had died in police custody. Intent on learning the real story behind the headlines, Lou Williams, aspiring investigative journalist, goes north. Each character she meets -- country and western singers, community elders, militants and mechanics -- give her a fragment of the truth. In 'a death in custody' these fragments combine into a mosaic stained with entrenched and deadly racism.
This story is a fictional account of events that ignited anger, suspicion and outrage across Australia, and that led to the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody which investigated the deaths of 99 Aboriginals in police custody in the 1980s. Little has changed since then.
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Where do I start, this book has a really important message in it about racism and the unfair treatment of Aboriginals. A problem not unique to Australia. My problem with this book is Lou the main character. I really couldn't relate to this girl, who seemed to be this bipolar, chain smoking alcoholic. Lou's point of view made it really hard to get through this book. I can't tell you how many times I face palmed because this girl was such an idiot. Through the voices of the other characters the author dumps a lot of important facts surrounding Aboriginals in the 80s. However since I found it not to be focused the message got lost and for me this book read more like an essay than a work of fiction. I would recommend this book for those who are interested in knowing about Aboriginal situation in Australia in the 80s. 3/5 diamonds