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Waiting for Elijah


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In 2009, in the NSW country town of Armidale, a mentally ill young man is shot dead by a police officer. Senior Constable Andrew Rich claims he 'had no choice' other than to shoot 24-year-old Elijah Holcombe - Elijah had run at him roaring with a knife, he tells police.

About the Author

Kate Wild is an investigative journalist whose work with distinguished teams at the ABC has been recognised with three Walkley Awards and a Logie. Her reports from Darwin, where she lived from 2010 to 2016, laid the groundwork for a Four Corners story on juvenile detention that prompted the calling of a Royal Commission. Like Elijah Holcombe, Kate grew up in country New South Wales; she now lives and works in Sydney. Waiting for Elijah is her first book.


`Wild's prose is evocative and personal ... [she] tells us about herself because she wants us to understand what underpins her obsession with the case, as well as to convey the emotional impact that such intensive reporting can have on the reporter ... She conducts an equally frank tussle with the moral issues of writing a story that belongs to so many people. "Whoever spoke controlled the narrative," she writes of the family's openness and Rich's avoidance; her words also speak to the whole complicated business of journalism as well.' - The Saturday Paper `Kate Wild's Waiting for Elijah is brave, balanced, and profound; wrestling with the fatal police shooting of a young mentally ill man, Wild reveals a compelling investigation into mental illness and the police on the frontline of psychosis. A beautiful writer, Wild's Waiting for Elijah is a thrilling debut.' - Anna Krien `[A] forensic dissection of the crime scene with equal parts compassion and a hawk-eye for detail ... [W]hat unfolds beneath the atmospheric retelling of the shooting is a deeper discussion into how society perceives and reacts towards mental illness ... a totally immersive treat for non-fiction and fiction lovers alike ... We recommend Waiting For Elijah unreservedly.' - Better Reading `Waiting for Elijah is Wild's attempt to understand why Holcombe's life ended in an Armidale laneway ... why was Holcombe shot by police when he had no prior record and was, according to his family, "absolutely non-violent by nature"? Wild expects the story to unfold predictably: a family enraged by a ham-fisted and trigger-happy police force, and a son with a secret drug habit or history of random violence. It doesn't take long to realise the case is much more complex than that.' - Australian Book Review `At its simplest, Waiting for Elijah is an exploration of the devastating effects of a police force ill-equipped to deal with mental illness. Wild's personal story, though, brings a depth to her investigation, and she doesn't grab for any easy take-home messages. Instead, she probes the complexities of the issue, and reaches finally for a kind of forgiveness - for the policeman who shot Elijah, but also, perhaps, for herself.' - The Adelaide Advertiser

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