"A first-rate piece of crime writing."-The Washington Post Book World
"A straightforward police story with a terrific plot, nuanced characters and solid procedures, served up on refreshing new turf."-Marilyn Stasio, The New York Times Book Review
"A police procedural of a very different kind. . . . A 'down under' atmosphere that most American readers will find unique."-The Plain Dealer
"Colorful. . . . Disher has literary talent and imagination." -Chicago Tribune
"Disher makes his characters as interesting as his plot." -Portsmouth Herald
"The American debut for Australian crime writer extraordinaire Disher is as complex and dark as anything by Ian Rankin or Michael Connelly."-Las Vegas Mercury
A serial killer is on the loose in a small coastal town near Melbourne. Detective Inspector Hal Challis and his team must apprehend him before he strikes again. But first, Challis has to contend with the editor of a local newspaper who undermines his investigation at every turn, and with his wife, who attempts to resurrect their marriage through long-distance phone calls from a sanitarium, where she has been imprisoned for the past eight years for attempted murder-his.
Australian author Disher delivers an intelligent, atmospheric police procedural, the first of a new series. A serial killer targeting young women along the isolated Old Peninsula Highway has baffled Detective Inspector Hal Challis and his staff. Himself a resident of the Peninsula, as the locals call the sleepy "comma of land hooking into the sea south-east of Melbourne," Challis leads a solitary life. We soon learn that his wife Angela has spent the last seven years in prison for conspiring with her lover to murder him. Nicknamed "the dragon man," Challis in his spare time obsessively restores a vintage airplane, a Dragon Rapide. Indeed, as we meet the other police officers, it becomes clear that they're as interesting, not to mention as complex and morally ambiguous, as any of the criminals they seek. Pam Murphy, for instance, is an idealistic young constable recovering from a car crash and a nervous breakdown, and Sergeant Kees van Alphen raids the evidence locker for cocaine, which he trades for sex. Fans of such gritty yet cerebral crime novelists as Ian Rankin and Jack Harvey should be well pleased.
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June 30, 2005
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