Seven shots ring out in the silence of Victoria’s rolling Barrabool Hills. As the final recoil echoes through the paddocks, a revered sheep-breeding dynasty comes to a bloody and inglorious end.
No one could have anticipated the orgy of violence that wiped out three generations of the Wettenhall family, much less the lurid scandals about Darcy Wettenhall, the man behind the world famous Stanbury sheep stud, that would emerge from the aftermath.
Almost three decades later, the web of secrets and lies that led to this bizarre and seemingly motiveless murder spree are unravelled with the help of Bob Perry, Darcy Wettenhall’s secret lover for a decade prior to his murder.
From the bucolic majesty, privilege and snobbery of the Western District’s prized pastoral lands and dynasties to the bleak, loveless underworld of orphanages, rodeo stables and homeless shelters, The Devil’s Grip is a courageous and thought-provoking meditation on the fragility of reputation, the folly of deception and the power of shame.
Praise for The Devil’s Grip
‘A remarkable piece of work. It is a strange, unusual and beautiful book with an incredibly unique setting. I don't think I've read anything quite like it. It is compulsive reading. True crime. Memoir. History. How do you live a life honestly and with dignity? It's difficult to categorise because it traverses so many genres. But it WORKS.’ Matthew Condon, author of the Three Crooked Kings trilogy
‘On its face this is the story of a family steeped in the pursuit of the perfect ram, but beneath the surface lies a riveting and ribald tale of lust, loss, manipulation, unbridled ambition and ultimately murder.’ Mark Tedeschi AM QC and author of Eugenia, Kidnapped and Murder at Myall Creek
‘An unforgettable, courageous and deeply tragic local story which manages to become a universal tale’ Gregory Day, author of Archipelago of Souls and A Sand Archive
‘It’s got it all: sex, domestic violence, ‘the land’ – such an important concept resonating in the Australian mind – land-holders and property, privilege, prejudice, skulduggery and murder!’ David Bradford, author of The Gunners’ Doctor and Tell Me I’m Okay
Neal Drinnan was born in Melbourne. He has worked in publishing and journalism for many years. He is the author of six novels, Glove Puppet, Pussy’s Bow,Quill, the Lambda award-winning Izzy and Eve, Rare Bird of Truth and Rural Liberties, as well as a travel guide, The Rough Guide to Gay and Lesbian Australia.The Devil’s Grip is his first work of narrative non fiction. He owns an independent bookshop called Cow Lick in Colac, Victoria.
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