Poetic Licence

‘​​a block of shadow pushing against a diffusing moonlight, the golden halo spreading out into the vineyards from its sides draining into the night like blood on a carpet’

An explosive political thriller novel pitching people-smuggling, corruption and murder against the boundaries of truth and freedom. In a meticulously crafted, spellbinding and suspenseful plot, academic and spy Art Lazaar is feeling the chill of a different evil crawling around his belly when called to protect a young asylum seeker running from those who murdered her brother. It’s not a request he can refuse.

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Poetic Licence


Kevin Price

SKU: 9780994211552 Category:

$32.95 inc. GST

20 in stock


An explosive political thriller novel pitching people-smuggling, corruption and murder against the boundaries of truth and freedom.

‘… ​​a block of shadow pushes against a diffusing moonlight, the golden halo spreads out into the vineyards from its sides and drains into the night like blood on a carpet’

Art Lazaar is a writer with a poetic licence. In short, it secretly puts him in service to a mysterious government agency. As a result he is assigned to doubling as an academic, but his poetic licence also ties him to a past he can’t escape. And when a figure from that same past calls him, he must act. First, to protect a young asylum seeker running from those who murdered her brother. And secondly, to find the murderers. It’s not a call he can refuse.

The call as much as guarantees Lazaar stumbles into a murky world of corruption. It leads to threats of arrest, kidnap and torture. As a result, he is left for dead. The situation grows ever more dire as suspects disappear, die, or leave the country in the nick of time. In the end, his choices come down to the only weapon in his arsenal …

A meticulously crafted political thriller novel.

Poetic Licence’s spellbinding and suspenseful plot, with its complex web of characters, thrusts the reader into a world deeply etched in our psyches. It leaves no doubt as to who is to blame and where the responsibility lies. The politics of truth and freedom do not rest easily in this funny, angry and endlessly entertaining novel. Alan Carter and David Whish-Wilson attest to it.

Poetic Licence dives headlong into a  world of political and institutional corruption, exposing the vast gulf between the words and deeds of the powerful, between the lives of the haves and have-nots, and the casual mistreatment of asylum seekers. Written in terse, propulsive prose, Poetic Licence is a clever thriller that won’t disappoint. David Whish-Wilson

A vividly-realised Fremantle is the apt setting for this zeitgeisty thriller. Hunter is an original and kick-ass protagonist.Alan Carter

Political thriller reviews

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Additional information

Weight 0.450 kg
Dimensions 23.4 × 15.6 × 1.9 cm


Kevin Price

Year Published







Perfect Bound


31.4 x 15.6 cm

Spine Width



0.401 kg

Interior Print & Paper

Black and White, eggshell paper

Cover finish

Matte laminate


Trade/General (Adult)

Subject Codes

FIC031010 FICTION / Thrillers / Crime, FIC031060 FICTION / Thrillers / Political, FIC062000 FICTION / Noir




Crotchet Quaver


Crotchet Quaver | Trade Services, Ingram iPage

2 reviews for Poetic Licence

  1. Lesley Olariu

    This political thriller set in WA took a while to reel me in but once I was hooked, had me enthralled. The murky world of political power, capitalist greed and the thuggery that supports it, is where Art Lazaar, a university lecturer with a deeper purpose, is called to protect an escaped Iraqi refugee girl whose brother has been murdered.
    Along with his co protagonists, a homeless man with skills from a previous life, a female police detective struggling in a male dominated arena, and a shadowy handler, Art attempts to solve the murder and connect the dots of corruption through a maze of spin and misinformation.
    People die, go missing, are attacked and tortured…it’s a dangerous game where truth and lies, life and death are all commodities to be traded and exploited for political gain and personal wealth. With an election looming, we are reminded to read between the lines of the slick political spin and focus on simple humanity.
    The writing is poetic and complex, the setting is vivid and characters strong. I would definitely be interested in a sequel. Thanks to NetGalley and Crotchet Quaver for the advance digital copy in exchange for an honest review.

  2. Ken Richards

    Kevin Price provides readers with an alternative scenario to explain the flood of refugee boats which descended on Australia in 2011 to 2013 during a time when our government had briefly abandoned the xenophobic policies of the unlamented and shriveled Howard years.

    Might this pathetic flotilla have been financed by those who wished a return to strong and conservative government, and resented the policies of the existing government. How better to speak to the lizard brains of a populace who, deep down understood that their forbears had invaded and stolen lands which once belonged to others. Might not those people believe that what has gone around, might come around.

    And so a nefarious plot, well in train in the lead up to the 2013 Election. It is told though as a police procedural. A brutal murder, victim and perpetrator unidentified. An inconvenient girl fearing erasure. Asylum seelers all.

    Three protagonists, flawed in their own ways and connected through tragedy and misadventure guide the reader through the labyrinth. The first person POV and poetic licence is courtesy of Art Lazaar, former journalist, once a poet and now both a University lecturer and ‘asset’ of the security services, all courtesy of being in the wrong place at the wrong time in Kalgoorlie long ago. The ghost in the machine is Art’s former colleague, Hunter, a man of the mean streets of Fremantle, who has been disappeared a decade past after running foul of the influential Giordani family. The link and the driver is Detective Kelly Boulter, becalmed and denied promotion courtesy of Art Lazaar adding sand to the gears of her progress lest she be crushed by misadventure.

    Ranged against them are wealthy aesthete and epicure Roger Lamord and the white shoe brigade of the WA Liberal party, eager to regain the power they believe themselves born to. Lamord’s associates include thuggish minions, Italian gangsters and rogue former SAS operatives eager to continue their cowboy games once back from ‘overseas service’.These evil legions are easy to hate and have the reader rooting for Lazaar and company.

    The events take place in a dark and gloomy Fremantle and surrounds. The weather is perennialy bleak, dark cloud always glowering, rain forever lashing. Not the bright lurid Perth of our summer imaginations. And in keeping with the dark and portentious happenings. The novel is well paced, the action propulsive and the tension and sense of danger well managed by the writer. The descriptions of police procedures sometimes intrude on the action, seemingly too much and too long in detail. This fault also rears up in overlong descriptions of clothing and street map geography which occasionally crop up as boulders in the narrative flow.

    The chapter headings (and lines in the text) provide a welcome and eclectic selection of musical suggestions. These are well worth checking out on the streaming service you favour.

    In keeping with the dark themes, no one wins in this story. It is not an alternate history where realization has dawned on a benighted electorate in the shadows of polling day. There are some who lose more than others. Some deserve those losses. Some less so. Asylum seekers are still imprisoned and demonised as a second election since the one alluded to in this story approaches. There is restrained and justified anger in this story. Would that it had more effect.
    Thanks to NetGalley and Crotchet Quaver for the advance digital copy supplied for review.

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