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Chilling, timely and gripping,
The Unbelieved heralds the arrival of a major new voice in Australian crime fiction.

‘So you believed the alleged rapists over the alleged victim?’
I asked.

Jane’s voice took on an indignant pitch. ‘Girls lie sometimes.’

I nodded. ‘And rapists lie all the time.’

When Senior Detective Antigone Pollard moves to the coastal town of Deception Bay, she is still in shock and grief. Back in Melbourne, one of her cases had gone catastrophically wrong, and to escape the guilt and the haunting memories, she’d requested a transfer to the quiet town she’d grown up in.

But there are some things you can’t run from. A month into her new life, she is targeted by a would-be rapist at the pub, and realises why there have been no convictions following a spate of similar sexual attacks in the surrounding district. The male witnesses in the pub back her attacker, and even her boss doesn’t believe her.

Hers is the first reported case in Deception Bay, but soon there are more. As Antigone searches for answers, she encounters a wall of silence in the town built of secrets and denial and fear. The women of Deception Bay are scared and the law is not on their side. The nightmare has followed her home.

Chilling, timely and gripping, The Unbelieved takes us behind the headlines to a small-town world that is all too real—and introduces us to a brilliant new voice in crime fiction.

‘My colleagues and I read 340 manuscripts submitted to the inaugural A&U Crime Fiction Prize and we could not have been more excited to find The Unbelieved. Vikki Petraitis has taken a lifetime of observing police work and true crime and brought this experience to writing fiction for the first time, and the result is this fantastic novel: tightly paced, plausible, a fabulous read and, above all, completely gripping. It has everything I want in an unputdownable crime thriller, as well as tremendous emotional intelligence and the feeling that what is unfolding could be happening in any small town. We could not be more proud to kick off the A&U Crime Fiction Prize with this extraordinary novel.’
Jane Palfreyman, Publisher

‘Compelling, original and important. The Unbelieved seamlessly combines a superb small town crime thriller with contemporary themes of power, secrets and male violence. Strap in for a fast and stunning read.’
Robert Gorman, CEO

The Unbelieved had me from the first chapter. A ripper of a page-turner with a kick ass female detective and twists and turns you won’t see coming. I’m still thinking about it now. Loved it!’
Angela Stannard, Account Manager WA

‘This is not the work of a fiction debut. I refuse to believe it. Vikki must secretly be a bestselling crime writer under another name. Her writing is utterly assured, polished and thrilling. The Unbelieved pulls you in from the very first page and does not stop until the satisfying finale. Completely unsurprising she’s our Crime Fiction Prize winner.’
Peri Wilson, Publicity Director

‘Senior Detective Antigone Pollard is a terrific central protagonist, Wozza is great as her offsider, and don’t get me started on her dog, Waffles … It’s engrossing and fast-paced with lots of fabulous twists and turns – I loved it.’
Christa Munns, Senior Editor

‘Vikki Petraitis is a major new voice in Australian crime and Antigone Pollard the wise, truth-seeking detective we need more of, both on the page and out on our streets. The Unbelieved is brilliantly told, very timely and a high quality, thrilling page turner. I couldn’t put it down.’
Matthew Hoy, Group Sales Director

‘I haven’t read as assured a debut in years; a ripping page-turner that stays with you long after you’ve finished it. This is the start of something special.’
Andrew Cattanach, Senior National Account Manager

‘What a book. Gripping and timely, with a compelling protagonist and supporting characters, including of the canine variety. Asks the pressing questions and sweeps you along breathlessly in the story. So good.’
Mary-Jayne House, Field Sales & Trade Marketing Manager

‘A page-turner that is also topical and confronting, and built around an incredible web of intrigue, cases old and new—and you’ll never see the biggest twist of all coming. The Unbelieved will be devoured by readers of Garry Disher and Jacqueline Bublitz, and all fans of modern Australian suspense.’
Tom Bailey-Smith, Senior Editor

Vikki Petraitis has been writing true crime books for the past three decades, including her bestselling book on the Frankston serial killer called The Frankston Murders. With the popularity of true crime podcasts, she has contributed two very successful series to the genre with Casefile Presents. Together, The Vanishing of Vivienne Cameron and Searching for Sarah MacDiarmid have had over three million downloads. In 2017, Vikki began a PhD in Creative Writing to challenge herself to fictionalise some of the stories that made the biggest impact in her years of true crime writing.

The result is The Unbelieved.

I leaned into the doorway of the car. ‘Coming after me, are you?’ There was steel in my voice. Jack’s flinch was almost imperceptible, but I saw it.

‘Yes.’ His voice had lost some of its vehemence.

‘Good to know.’ I paused. ‘Fair to warn you, though—you come after me, and I’ll come after you, only you won’t see me coming.’

Jack’s eyes widened. ‘Look, I was only joking . . .’

I didn’t blink. ‘Me too,’ I said.

But we both knew I wasn’t.

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