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Beams Falling

(Nhu "Ned" Kelly)

3.77  ·  Rating details ·  163 ratings  ·  33 reviews
On the inside, Detective Nhu 'Ned' Kelly is a mess. Stitched up after being shot, her brain's taking even longer to heal than her body. On the outside, though, she's perfect, at least as far as the top brass are concerned. Cabramatta is riding high on the new 'Asian crime wave', a nightmare of heroin, home invasions, and hits of all kinds, and the cops need a way into the ...more
Paperback, 384 pages
Published February 26th 2014 by Penguin Australia
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Jan 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing
When THE OLD SCHOOL was released all the way back in 2010, I noted "As I was reading this book I couldn't help but create a checklist of the things that make up seriously good crime fiction for me, and apply it as I went." Every box ticked needless to say, which means that the follow up has been much anticipated. It doesn't disappoint in any single way.

As with the first book we've got a very good plot, with Kelly returned from sick leave, and on light duties. Still in physical rehab her mental
Recovering from injury, Detective Nhu (Ned) Kelly has been transferred to Cabramatta Police Station. With her Vietnamese heritage, it was thought that she could help with the rampant violence which had erupted in the suburb. But Ned wasn’t herself – her lack of control and deep fear was taking over her life and her workmates weren’t helping. With her ongoing visits to counsellors and doctors, being put on light duties was frustrating – her sister being in another country doing her PhD meant she ...more
Yvonne Perkins
Mar 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: crime-fiction
Beams Falling is the second book in the series about Detective Ned Kelly by P M Newton. Kelly is an Australian born woman of Vietnamese and Irish ancestry. Her parents were murdered many years ago when she was seven. It was an unsolved case but Kelly is involved in another murder case in the first book, The Old School, which turns out to be related to her parents murder. We don't find out who murdered her parents in that book but the case leaves Kelly with both personal as well as professional m ...more
Mar 05, 2014 added it
Returning to work after being shot, Detective Nhu 'Ned' Kelly finds herself transferred to Cabramatta as part of a crack down on the 'Asian crime wave'. But just because Ned looks the part doesn't mean she's welcomed, either by the community or by her colleagues. Beams Falling is PM Newton's slow-burning second novel, a study of the murky side of the police force and the damage done to those in the Job. Ned is a compelling character, ably escorting readers through Newton's intricate, gritty plot ...more
Carol -  Reading Writing and Riesling
My View:

Portrait of Post-Traumatic Stress in an authentic police setting…and so many other things.

Firstly I was very impressed with the authentic voice of this police procedural and the harrowing accuracy of PTSD as it is presented in this narrative; life constantly on alert, hyper vigilant, hyper alert, anxious, breathless, paranoia…panic. I could feel this disorder blossoming in my mind and chest as I read on, the descriptions so real.

Newton has a brilliant way with words- her descriptions of
Angela Savage
Mar 26, 2014 rated it really liked it
Beams Falling by PM Newton is a powerful book that explores trauma and its legacy in the guise of a police procedural.

The central character is Detective Nhu 'Ned' Kelly, the child of an Anglo-Australian veteran and his Vietnamese wife who were killed in front of their children, their murders unsolved. Ned first appeared in Newton's award winning debut, The Old School, set in 1992, where her part in the investigation into bodies found on a Bankstown building site puts her on a collision course wi
Shelleyrae at Book'd Out

Beams Falling by Pamela Newton follows her lauded 2010 debut, The Old School, featuring Detective Nhu 'Ned' Kelly.

Following the shooting that left Kelly wounded and a corrupt police officer dead (in The Old School ), she is shunted from her Bankstown unit to Taskforce Acorn in Cabramatta, the token Asian officer on a team investigating the area's criminal activity. Though officially restricted to light duties, Ned is drawn into the investigation of a brazen shooting of a schoolboy, which leads
Rowena Holloway
Jun 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing
PM Newton’s second novel is a rich portrayal of the thin blue ethical line and the toll it takes on those who seek to do good.

After her life is shattered by a shooting, Detective Nhu 'Ned' Kelly is desperate to get back to the normalcy of her job. She’s good at it; there she knows who she is. Deemed unfit for the field, she is placed on desk duties with a new team in Cabramatta. Then the cold-blooded shooting of a schoolboy in broad daylight draws her back into the field where her trauma spring
Beams Falling is PM Newton's follow-up to the excellent The Old School, in which Detective Nhu (Ned) Kelly took on corruption within the police force and came perilously close to the truth about her parents' murders into the bargain.

The sequel starts with Ned fighting to return to work - and to find out who was responsible for her parents' deaths. When she's shunted out to Cabramatta as a token Asian officer just before the apparently senseless murder of a young boy, she again becomes embroiled
Craig Sisterson
May 26, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: australia, crime
A tainted Sydney suburb simmers to vicious life, full of murk and menace, as Detective Nhu ‘Ned’ Kelley returns in PM Newton’s sophomore crime thriller. The follow-up to 2010’s brilliant The Old School sees the part-Vietnamese cop struggling to recover from the finale of that book, her body and mind scarred and torn.

A hero in the eyes of the top brass, if not all her colleagues, Nhu is tabbed for light duties as the token Asian officer on a task force investigating Cabramatta’s immigrant popula
Brian Stoddart
Apr 30, 2014 rated it really liked it
In her acknowledgements, P.M.Newton makes an intriguing comment about the difficulties of writing a second novel, which suggests that this was a hard graft after her wonderful first one. The Old School

Some of that shows, mainly in the struggle between the storyline and the development of the character, DC Nhu "Neddy" Kelly who is recovering from the shooting that ended the first book, and coming to terms with herself. The storyline disappears a little in the first half of the book or so, then wr
Alex Rogers
Jun 21, 2017 rated it liked it
A solid follow up to The Old School. I'm not generally a fan of "series", but Newton has written a solid and enjoyable second in the series which didn't feel formulaic or tired. The main character Nhu "Ned" Kelly is complex, interesting, and the local setting (Sydney / Cabramatta) made it more than usually interesting for me, and I imagine, a bit different to most readers from the US / UK detective novels. Very strong themes of historical damage being carried by most of the characters, with trau ...more
Dec 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: aww, 2016
I can't imagine what is was like to be a cop in Cabramatta in the early 90s - absolute hell, I suspect. Assigned there on light duties after being shot, Ned is tracking a murderer in the Vietnamese community. The community is closed & fearful, & no one is talking. Drugs have a habit of causing death, one way or another. Between Cabra & PTSD, Ned's not coping very well with life & work.

Newton's done a good job of showing the crippling effect PTSD can have on a person. For Ned, her recent trauma w
Lily Mulholland
Feb 18, 2014 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book but not as much as Old School, which was a fantastic read. Nhu is a great character but she was a bit passive in this story, which had a large number of characters that weren't perhaps as interesting as those in Old School. The story felt a bit 'thick' for me, I had to work hard in parts as a reader to track what was happening. However, I want to stick with Nhu. She's a complex, fragile but resilient female character in a male-dominated world. I'm on her side and I want to re ...more
Melanie Zhang
I received this book as part of a Goodreads giveaway, in exchange for an honest review. Thank-you for that!

To be honest - I couldn't make it through the entire book, because I realised upon starting it that this was the second in a series. I haven't read the first book and I'm not at all familiar with the events, which makes it difficult to understand the flow-on effects leading into this one. It also doesn't help that the book is littered with acronyms and organisations which only people in the
Oct 20, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2014
The second book in this series is another fascinating and very dark mystery. What I particularly liked about this one is that Newton does an excellent job of depicting the trauma that protagonist Ned suffers after being shot at the end of the first novel. Usually, in TV and mystery series, the main characters undergo a parade of horrific events -- murder attempts, kidnapping, hostage situations -- and then they're back the next time around like nothing much even happened. In Beams Falling, Ned's ...more
Cathal Reynolds
I'll be honest, I much prefer The Old School to Beams Falling. There was more Of a plot, more to be interested in. Traumatised coppers is such an overused trope in crime writing. Ned was traumatised in The Old School,but it was a bit different because it happened to her before the Job and is what pushed her into it ultimately, but in Beams Falling, it's a classic 'can't heal, feel worthless, can't do my job' sort of thing. The difference being that the new trauma was as a result of the Job. If a ...more
Oct 09, 2015 rated it liked it
Ned is a detective who has suffered a traumatic event and while I found the details of police life interesting, I also found it very depressing. Are there any good cops out there at all? The story seemed more like a series of events rather than a well developed plot. Also, you definitely need to read "The Old School" first as I still don't really know what happened back then. I feel that while the author's own experiences have provided a good background for this novel, they have also coloured it ...more
Michael Livingston
Mar 17, 2014 rated it liked it
This ticks most of my crime fiction boxes: a strong and convincing sense of place, a messed up main character, ethical dilemmas and a system that actively works to prevent good outcomes, but it didn't quite work for me as well as Newton's first book. The plot felt a bit more stapled together, and some of the joins weren't super convincing. Still, you'll rip through it and find plenty to enjoy along the way. ...more
Aug 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: story, character, setting
The sense of place is strong, as the setting for this book is mostly Cabramatta, with some some crucial scenes in North Sydney. The different suburbs and streets are crucial to the story. The location and time are very specific. This is a gritty story, with few likable characters (Ari and Cynthia are both likeable,and there are few others who are). It works with the story. Hints are placed as to where the next book may explore.
Ystyn Francis
Jan 20, 2014 rated it really liked it
I received this book as part of a Goodreads giveaway. P.M. Newton is a fantastic, nuanced writer whose characters and the landscapes within which they reside are fully fleshed out in sharp, believable detail. "Beams Falling" was a pleasure to read because of Newton's command of language, even though the narrative itself wasn't as engaging to me as her debut novel, "The Old School". ...more
Deb Bodinnar
Mar 02, 2014 rated it liked it
I was hoping I would enjoy this book as much as the first, but I didn't. This is not to say that I didn't like Beams Falling, I just like more action than procedure in my crime novels. It is very well written and P M Newton certainly knows her stuff after being in the force herself for so many years. Definitely worth reading but would make sure that you read Old School beforehand. ...more
Corinne Campbell
Apr 23, 2015 rated it really liked it
I loved this book. Great story and Ned is such a well drawn character. I loved that it was set in Sydney, and that so many characters were either refugees or from a refugee background. I love that it delved into the complexity of the lives of drug mules in Cabramatta instead of just serving up the usual toxic stereotypes.
Ann Tonks
Jan 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
It took me a little while to get into the complexity of the story telling with lots of nick names and characters and I wish I'd read the first in this series based around police-office"Ned" Kelly. But once I did get into it, I loved the richness of the story telling, the moments of despair and frustration balanced with moments were good was done and felt.

An impressive story teller.
Sep 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-2014
Very, very good. Nhu/Ned is an excellently drawn and intriguing character; Cabramatta in the 90s is well depicted and great job on catching the diversity within all the communities involved in the story, whether central or tangential to the plot.

Next please!!

Mar 17, 2015 rated it really liked it
Good read. Classic crime fiction, with layer upon layer of troubles; the environment, the protagonist's history, those of the people around her. Believable characters, exploration of themes often ignored. Intelligent. Thank you. ...more
Eric Gittins
Mar 06, 2014 rated it really liked it
a good read from start to finish. I wanted to read The Old School first however as I couldn't secure a copy I decided to read Beams Falling first and I'll get hold of her first book as soon as I can. ...more
Mar 29, 2014 rated it really liked it
Gritty portrayal of 90s Cabramatta sweltering in an Australian summer. PM Newton writes with a distinct and authentic Australian voice. Fast becoming one of my favourite authors.
*I have won this book from Goodreads First Reads*
I am just waiting for the book to arrive so I can read it then review it.
Jan 09, 2015 rated it liked it
Literary crime novel with more focus on an interior narrative than action or mystery. Still, both do occur and it's well written. Don't attempt without having read The Old School first. ...more
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Fresh from an Arts degree, P.M. Newton joined the New South Wales police force in 1982. She spent the next thirteen years working in and around Sydney in various departments – Drug Enforcement, Sexual Assault, Major Crime – first as an officer, then as a detective. When she had eventually had enough of meeting people for the first time on the worst day of their lives, Newton resigned from the Job ...more

Other books in the series

Nhu "Ned" Kelly (2 books)
  • The Old School

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