From Publishers Weekly
In Australian author Disher's gripping second police procedural (after 2004's The Dragon Man
), Melbourne homicide detective Hal Challis contends with the pressure of two unsolved murders and his inability to sever all ties with his wife, Angela, who years earlier was convicted of conspiring to have him killed by her lover and remains a suicidal prison inmate. Challis's current relationship with journalist Tessa Kane gets put on hold after his wandering eye fixes on Janet "Kitty" Casement, an aerial photographer. When someone threatens Kitty's life, Challis enlists his team to probe a maze of connections involving a loan shark and a letter-writing crank known as the Meddler. As the story neatly advances from the viewpoints of characters both major and minor, Disher artfully employs misdirection to conceal the identity of the criminal targeting the photographer. Even unsympathetic figures like the Meddler and a lecherous, reactionary police officer come across as three-dimensional. While Disher is not yet in the same league as a Peter Robinson or an Ian Rankin, fans of those authors will find much to like in this dark whodunit. Agent, Jenny Darling (Australia). (July 6)
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Procedural fans looking for something a little different will devour this one. It's the second Detective Inspector Hal Challis mystery (originally published in the author's native Australia), and it finds Challis embroiled in another case involving murder, murder, and more murder. Disher, who has been writing crime novels for almost two decades, has the procedural form down cold, but he adds enough dark overtones to elevate the series into the Ian Rankin league. (Challis' wife, for example, is currently in prison, serving time for being an accessory to attempted murder--the intended victim being Challis himself.) Unlike Rankin's Rebus novels, or any of the other noir-tinged procedurals, the Challis tales do not take place in an urban setting. In Disher's hands, however, the rural Australian backdrop generates plenty of its own menace. Tell procedural devotees to take a break from the familiar American and British mean streets and sample a little noir under the Australian sun. David PittCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved