Tom Keeley had a reputation - that is until he lost his mind, his marriage and then his job, and now he has nothing and wants to keep it that way. He's bought himself a cheap top floor ex-authority flat in a ten story block and there he is, drinking too much, taking a cocktail of painkillers and sleeping tablets every day. He has little episodes of blankness, often awaking on the floor or walking somewhere in his city, Freemantle, Australia. This kind of loss of memory happens quite often - his mother is worried, his sister is worried. Tom is not. In fact he just wants to be left alone. And then one day he meets a woman who his parents saved from parental danger when he was a child. She has a child in tow now, her grandson. She works nights in a supermarket, and locks the kid in her flat. Tom soon makes friends with the boy, a bright but odd child, who is possibly on the low end of the Aspergers scale. Kai, the boy really takes to Tom - he is a hero to someone at least, even though that child is only six. And then, after he has sex with the boy's grandmother, worrying things start to happen, it seems that there is danger somewhere and Tom becomes desparately worried for the child's safety.
I jumped between believing that someone was running drugs, to blackmail, and various other causes of this sense of danger; and had to keep reading. Tom Keeley is a broken man, and during the reading of this tale you will find out some things about him and his family which perhaps explain a little, but not too much about what makes him what he has become. The sense of danger grows with every one of the short chapters, which make the book very easy to read, even late at night when you eyes are closing but you need "just another chapter". Not a thriller in the best seller/accepted sense of the word, but a book I needed to get to the end of as quickly as possible, to find out if Tom could ever really be the hero that Kai thinks he is. Great stuff, Tim Winton.