Dead Man Switch

Bestselling author Tara Moss returns to crime fiction with a stunning new series, and a stunning new heroine. Meet PI Billie Walker.

Booktopia Best Books of 2019 – Crime Fiction and Thriller

Long-listed for the 2020 Davitt Awards

Short-listed for the 2020 Danger Prize

Bestselling author Tara Moss returns to crime fiction with a stunning new series, and a stunning new heroine.


'A terrific read' Lynda La Plante

'A cracking thriller, with a marvellous, strong, flamboyant heroine. Loved it.' Joanne Harris, award-winning author of Chocolat

Booktopia Best Books of 2019 – Crime Fiction and Thriller

Readings Best Crime Reads 

She's a woman in a man's world ...

Sydney, 1946. Billie Walker is living life on her own terms. World War II has left her bereaved, her photojournalist husband missing and presumed dead. Determined not to rely on any man for her future, she re-opens her late father's detective agency.

Billie's bread and butter is tailing cheating spouses - it's easy, pays the bills and she has a knack for it. But her latest case, the disappearance of a young man, is not proving straightforward ...

Soon Billie is up to her stylish collar in bad men, and not just the unfaithful kind - these are the murdering kind. Smugglers. Players. Gangsters. Billie and her loyal assistant must pit their wits against Sydney's ruthless underworld and find the young man before it's too late.

'Immersive, well-paced, entertaining, thoughtful - so enjoyable!' Angela Meyer, award-winning author of A Superior Spectre

Praise for Tara Moss:

'Enough page-turning suspense to keep you up reading far later than you intended!' Peter James

'Truly thrilling' Woman's Day

'Moss's ultra-cool prose and whip-smart plotting pull you along at cracking pace until suddenly you look up and realise with a gulp how deep you've gone and how very dark it is down there.' Emily Maguire, author of An Isolated Incident

11 reviews for Dead Man Switch

  1. Joanne Harris, award-winning author of Chocolat

    It’s a cracking thriller, with a marvellous, strong, flamboyant heroine. Loved it.

  2. Angela Meyer, award-winning author of Joan Smokes and A Superior Spectre

    I so enjoyed getting to know Tara Moss’s wonderful new character, Billie Walker, in 1940s Sydney-set mystery Dead Man Switch. Immersive, well-paced, entertaining, thoughtful – so enjoyable!

  3. Living Arts Canberra

    Tara Moss’s sympathy for the oppressed and voiceless runs firmly through this tale of underworld crime, thuggery, cruelty and greed. [Moss’s] obviously deep interest and thorough research into the era and Sydney of the time is evidenced in the many details she drops in about architecture, fashion, day to day life and social conventions. It is a pleasure to find women steering this story as heroines not sidekicks. One very much hopes that Dead Man Switch is the first of many Billie Walker mysteries and that, in time, our plucky heroine, her lips daubed with Tussy’s Fighting Red, will find her way onto a screen near us.

  4. The Sun Herald

    Tara Moss has created a streetwise, seductive and staunchly feminist sleuth who even darns her own stockings…[Billie Walker] is a former war correspondent, whose photojournalist husband is missing, presumed dead…The war might be over, but the novel is deeply interested in its wreckage.

  5. Readings Books

    Twenty years into a stellar literary career that has lately taken her down a non-fiction route, Tara Moss has returned – and with a new character to chase after…Moss has the chops for hardboiled detective stories set in Sydney’s seedy past: full of gangsters, killers, the worst kind of people and some of the best. True to its era down to the very fabric around Billie’s shoulders, this is a smartmouthed shot straight to the chest.

  6. Better Reading

    Tara Moss’s Billie Walker is a fabulously courageous female lead. This book will leave you hanging for a sequel!

  7. Rachel Hills, author of The Sex Myth

    Well researched, brilliantly plotted and engaging.

  8. Lynda La Plante, CBE, Acclaimed author of Prime Suspect

    A terrific read.

  9. Booktopia

    Best Books of 2019 – Crime Fiction and Thriller : You’ll want to be Billie Walker’s best friend once you read Dead Man Switch. She’s the ultimate Private Investigator – wise, witty, wily – and a woman very much ahead of her time in post-war Sydney.

  10. Better Reading

    Dead Man Switch is a brilliant female empowered crime novel, which will have you hanging for a sequel!

  11. Sydney Morning Herald

    Retro noir with a gutsy heroine and atmospheric setting, Dead Man Switch is vivid, page-turning historical crime…