PROHIBITED ZONE, despite being touted on the cover as a 'thriller in the desert', is very much a crime novel centred around an escapee of the Woomera Detention Centre and her accomplices as they traverse Adelaide city and it's outlying suburbs.
Former Adelaide Crows football player and now mining engineer Steve West becomes embroiled in a search for a presumed terrorist, newly escaped from the Detention Centre following a spate of riots. Assisted by a handful of activists and detention centre guards, Saira and Amir flee their captures in search of a better life. Becoming separated in the outbreak, Saira stays with Kara, one of the activists and her only link to the Australia she'd hoped to see after fleeing her country. While Amir goes missing in the endless desert.
Steve, convinced by Kara to help her and Saira agrees to take them to Adelaide so Saira can tell her story to the world of the gross injustice undertaken within the confines of the detention centre. With a bounty on offer to bring all the escapees back to Woomera, a group of detention centre guards sets out to retrieve the attractive Saira and her friend and accused terrorist Amir.
PROHIBITED ZONE was a lot of fun to read. I got a real kick out of reading a book set in my home state and enjoyed the familiarity of the place-setting with many landscapes and towns instantly recognisable.
The cat and mouse nature of these types of 'search and retrieve' crime thrillers can be tedious, however PROHIBITED ZONE doesn't suffer from that with each twist and turn electrifying and believable.
PROHIBITED ZONE is author Alastair Sarre's debut novel (2011) and I'm certain to be on the look out for more of his work - and that of crime/thrillers centred in my home state.
I highly recommend PROHIBITED ZONE for crime and thriller fans, as well as those wanting a distinct brand of Aussie fiction that doesn't hold back on the colourful dialect and mannerisms unique to Australiana.