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When David’s 11-year-old nephew goes missing and he finds the finger pointed at him, he has no choice but to strike out on his own – an unlikely vigilante running away from the police and his own family, and running towards what he hopes desperately is the truth about Andrew’s disappearance.

When David’s 11-year-old nephew goes missing and he finds the finger pointed at him, he has no choice but to strike out on his own – an unlikely vigilante running away from the police and his own family, and running towards what he hopes desperately is the truth about Andrew’s disappearance.

David Kingsgrove is a man on a mission. An ordinary man – and an extraordinary mission. It is a mission that will turn him into someone he never thought he would be: the king of the road, the loner on the highway, the crusader for a sort of justice he has never before had to seek.

Andrew had been a regular visitor to David’s home right up until the day he disappeared, walking out the front door to visit a neighbour. It doesn’t take long for the police to decide that David – a single man in his thirties, living alone – is their suspect. Soon Andrew’s parents will share that opinion. But David knows that he didn’t take Andrew.

Realising that the only way Andrew will be found is if he finds him – the police, after all, are fixated on David as their suspect and are not looking anywhere else – David turns to the one person who he knows will help him: Matty an ex-cop now his personal trainer, whose own son disappeared several years before.

David’s crusade to find Andrew will also take him into his own dark heart – to do things he never thought he would have to do, and go places he has never wanted to go. And the choices David makes lead us all to ask: How far would I go to save someone I love?

This is a compelling story that is almost impossible to stop reading – a hero’s journey, of sorts, with a momentum that is breathtaking even while the subject matter is confronting.

Reviews

New author Nigel Bartlett's King of the Road is a carefully crafted thriller that never misses a beat, delivering a confronting story with great control of the genre.

Debra Adelaide, The Sydney Morning Herald

Sharply, astringently drawn, a clever variation on the falsely-suspected-as-protagonist formula. And his seeming transformation into “the king of the road”, crusader for the sort of justice he has never before had to seek, as he begins to hunt what appears to be a sexual predator, is as plausible as it is thrilling. King of the Road is crammed with ideas, stylishly and gravely written, hanging elegantly between a work of popular fiction and the literary novel, no easy feat.

Graeme Blundell, The Australian

it is David himself who is telling this story. We know from the start how he really feels about his nephew. But David is also hot-headed and prone to violence. He's not easy to like, which is part of the page-turning tension as Bartlett takes the reader on a wild ride. King of the Road builds to a jaw-dropping conclusion.

Sue Turnbull, The Sydney Morning Herald

A thriller with a distinctly Australian flavour, King of the Road keeps up a breathtaking momentum. Kingsgrove becomes the reader's avatar as Bartlett expertly taps into the panic coursing through him. An impressive debut from the Sydney-based author.

Simon Hughes, Australian Financial Review

This is a cracking Sunday afternoon gobbler - the kind of book you pick up to while away a cup of tea and put down at dinner time. A beautifully constructed, tightly written and very tense thriller.

Chris Hook, The Daily Telegraph

King of the Road goes places less courageous authors would dare not go and does so with assured writing, convincing characters and heart-stopping tension. What would you do if overnight you became a pariah, accused of the worst of crimes? In a story that leaps straight from the front pages Nigel Bartlett takes the reader behind the sensational headlines and onto the mean streets of a sweltering Sydney summer as a good man races against time and suspicion to save a child. Bartlett delivers a thriller with heart and soul. My heart was in my mouth as the tension ratcheted up but Bartlett balances the fast pace with great tenderness, exploring what happens when family loyalty and love is put to the ultimate test. A brilliant debut.

P.M. Newton

A disturbing thriller that hurtles along at a cracking pace, King of the Road is a thrilling whodunit, and it would be easy to devour this page-turner on a plane flight or over a weekend. A well-researched story that sucks you in from the first page, that scares and intrigues you to the very end, and Bartlett has well and truly got the job done.

The Saturday Paper

A thrilling debut novel.

Sunday Style

I finished King of the Road yesterday morning. Loved it! It is a real page turner. Didn’t guess the end, kept me interested all the way and the tension just kept going up a notion. And I loved that it wasn’t gruesome, just all tension and the story stuck in your mind, haunted my dreams. Very clever, for such delicate/sensitive topic.

Stef Hoy

What a ripper of a read. Loved it.

Morgan Reardon

Riveting.

Valerie Khoo, Australian Writers' Centre

A great talent.

Scott Whitmont, Lindfield Bookshop

Struggling with raw guilt and self-doubt, David makes for a genuine hero whose journey we follow with a sense of excruciating foreboding. An account written with the searing ferocity of panic, King of the Road is a gripping page-turner that will keep the reader in suspense right until its final, sickening twist.

Lou Murphy, Newtown Review of Books

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Formats & editions

  • Trade Paperback

    9780857985408

    February 2, 2015

    Vintage Australia

    336 pages

    RRP $32.99

    Online retailers

    • Abbey's Bookshop
    • Angus & Robertson Bookworld
    • Booktopia
    • Boomerang Books
    • Collins Booksellers
    • Dymocks
    • Books Kinokuniya
    • The Nile
    • QBD
    • Readings
    • Robinsons Bookshop
    Or

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

  • EBook

    9780857985415

    February 2, 2015

    RHA eBooks Adult

    336 pages

    Online retailers

    • iBooks
    • Amazon Kindle
    • Booktopia
    • eBooks
    • Google Play
    • Kobo
    Or

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

Awards and Recognition

  • 2014
    Ned Kelly Award for Best First Crime Novel
    Shortlisted
  • 2014
    Ned Kelly Award for Best First Crime Novel
    Shortlisted

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