In the autumn of 1944, George Starling prepares to exact revenge on the person he hates most in the world (and Starling has a long list of people he hates): Detective Joe Sable of the Melbourne Homicide division. Driven by his dark passion for Nazism, Starling is going to make sure that nothing and no one will stand in his way and survive. In the meantime, Homicide is in turmoil. Riven by internal divisions and disrupted by the war, it has become a dangerous place for Joe to work. Constable Helen Lord, suspended from her position in Homicide, and battling grief, is also in Starling's sights. Knowing that Inspector Titus Lambert can't protect them from Starling's ruthless aim, Helen and Joe decide to set their own trap. But when the trap is sprung, who will be caught in it?
1943: The newly formed Homicide division of the Victoria Police has been struggling to counter little-known fascist groups, particularly an organisation called Australia First that has been festering since before the war. And now there's an extra problem: the bitter divide between Catholics and Protestants, which is especially raw in small rural communities. Detective Joe Sable and Constable Helen Lord are working to track down the ruthless George Starling, who in turn is planning to wreak vengeance on them for the downfall of his nationalist group and mentor. At the same time, the duo is called to investigate a double murder in the fishing village of Port Fairy. The solution seems straightforward, but it soon becomes apparent that nothing about the incident is as it seems -- and that investigations which appeared unrelated are tied by a disturbing thread.
Set in 1936 against a backdrop of civil war in Spain and the privations of the Depression at home, Rough Justice follows the lives, loves and losses of the Flanagans, the Tanners and the Lovells. All three families live on the top floor of the crumbling Turnbury Buildings - a Spartan Victorian dwelling close to the docks in London's East End.