& the World of Murray Whelan

The Brush-Off


Angelo Agnelli has been Minister for the Arts for twelve hours and already artists have started killing themselves. Or so it seems when Marcus Taylor’s body is fished from the Arts Centre moat. Was it really an act of protest over the state of arts funding? And what’s the political damage if the suicide note becomes public?

The career of Murray Whelan, minder and general dogsbody to the hapless Agnelli, hangs by its usual slender thread. If he can put the fix in here, he might have a chance of staying employed. But as Murray soon discovers, in the world of culture vultures they don’t just sit around waiting for you to die before they start tearing the flesh off your bones.


“The Brush-Off brilliantly mixes the comic and the tragic: this amusing thriller has you laughing at the moments where a gasp may be more appropriate.”
– Rolling Stone

“Maloney’s tongue-in-cheek narrative and the author’s delight in satirizing the down-under art scene keep us fully engaged.”
– San Francisco Examiner & Chronicle

“Fresh and funny.”
– Times-Picayune (New Orleans)

“The Brush-Off is a beat of a book, and Shane Maloney a name to remember.”
– John Leslie

“With its deft combination of mystery and humor, [The Brush-Off] most resembles something Donald E. Westlake might have written. But that doesn’t mean it’s derivative: Maloney is a fresh talent.”
– Booklist

“Whelan is a delight and so is nearly everything about this very funny thriller.”
– Sydney Morning Herald

“Maloney is top shelf.”
– Australian

“Maloney is a literary writer who some will feel is wasting his time in the detective business. He takes characters that are stereotypes (the public servant, the minister, the arty type) and depicts them with subtlety and orginality and compassionate humour. He also writes a ripping yarn.”
– Eureka Street

“Maloney…is one of the few authors to successfully integrate humour, political satire and social observation into the Australian crime novel. His first novel, Stiff, was good but The Brush-Off is even better…Highly recommended.”
– Canberra Times

“Maloney has a quirky eye for descriptive details that lend frequent humor to a fascinating and adventurous plot. Highly recommended.”
– Library Journal

“The funniest meanstreets-style writing on offer these days…Don’t miss this one.”
– Sunday Age

“Entertaining…smart and sasssy.”
– Adelaide Advertiser