This book is not the kind I would normally read, but something about it got my attention. It is a look at life in Australia seen through the eyes of three individuals. The beginnings of Haines’ story “Dead Men” reminded me of the one-way trip I took to New Zealand with my parents in nineteen fifty eight aboard the T.S.S Captain Cook as a ten pound assisted immigrant, aged ten. Above all, it reminds me of those early years when to the local Kiwi kids I was nothing but a pasty faced bloody pom and therefore a natural target. But after that the similarity ends.
Written with the irreverence for acceptable, politically correct language, which real Aussie’s like Derek and new Kiwi’s like I hold dear, Dead Men is a vivid, sometimes bitter tour through the lives of David an Aussie, Antonio, born in Italy and a hard working trucker, and finally, Steven, born in England, who when he was young was always in trouble with the law, as they forge a life for themselves in the tough environment of Australia with similar results.
The one thing that comes through in this book is that though we may all live in different countries across the world, daily life is the same for all of us. We all have problems at work and at home. Some make a success of their career at the expense of their personal lives, while others drift through life or turn to crime. If you are looking for a rip roaring yarn, “Dead Men” will disappoint.
However, if you want to read about three average human beings and their struggle to keep their heads above water, despite experiencing personal heartbreaks, then read on. “Dead Men” is a sad but true look at life for some people in this day and age.
I give “Dead Men” four out of five stars.