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Kittyhawk Down (Inspector Challis Mysteries) Hardcover – July 1, 2005

Book 2 of 5 in the Challis and Destry Series

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Product Details

  • Series: Inspector Challis Mysteries
  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Soho Crime; First Edition edition (July 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1569473943
  • ISBN-13: 978-1569473948
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 5 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,177,173 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

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)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

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 Pitt
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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See all 15 customer reviews
Easy style to read in one or two nights.
The characters are well developed and interesting, the stories have unexpected twists and that is what makes this series fun.
Multiple story lines, mystery and a bit of romance this fast paced book is a page turner.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Lynn Harnett VINE VOICE on October 10, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Disher's thoughtful, emotionally charged police procedurals, set in a bucolic coastal area of Australia, feature Inspector Hal Challis, a lonely loner, beset by pathetic calls from his ex-wife, who's imprisoned for the attempted murder of Hal himself.

Hal's relationship with journalist Tessa Kane suffers a bit from his wife's suicide threats and then a bit more with Hal's interest in a fellow small-plane buff, a woman who takes aerial photographs and suddenly needs his help when she's inexplicably attacked.

Meanwhile, readers of Disher's first Challis book, "The Dragon Man," will remember his team. Ellen Destry nabs a rapist with satisfaction, but drags her feet going home to her nagging husband; Scobie Sutton bores everyone silly with the joys of fatherhood, but his daughter has head lice again; young Pam Murphy can't seem to curb her spending or her ambition and boorish John Tankard lusts after her while despising her zeal for work.

And the Meddler, a local busybody and inveterate letter writer, who has just discovered his hurtful nickname, decides to take his meddling a step further. Shifting viewpoints keep us a couple steps ahead of the cops as the murders pile up, but with the deft use of twists and red herrings Disher keeps his mysteries until the page-turning conclusion.

Character drives these absorbing, darkish procedurals from an award-winning author whose success in Australia deserves to be echoed here.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By D. Fleagle on September 7, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Garry Disher has another winner with Kittyhawk Down. Protagonist, Hal Challis, and his team of investigators are realistically portrayed in their fears and cognitive skills on the job. Disher books contain a great deal of "noir" with a glimmer of hope for humankind that keeps avid mystery readers turning pages to find that grain of good. Nice descriptive text for those of us who haven't been to Australia.
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Garry Disher is a new find from Australia. I really appreciated his first Hal Challis novel entitled "Dragon Man" and launched into this, his second Challis novel, with the hope that Disher hadn't gotten an attack of sophomore slump. He did not. He built nicely on that first novel without using it as a crutch, and expanded and enriched our familiarity with the sounds and surrounds of peninsular Victoria province Australia. The only problem is that he built too much. This is a good book with too many story lines and it took a lot of work to read it. Which doesn't mean that I didn't like the book. I just could have liked it more.

One thing I did really like about this book is that Challis starts by easing us back into the lives and work environment of the police officers and detectives we got to know in "Dragon Man". It was a good, effective way to reestablish them. And even as I type this, I realize that this book is all about these people and the crimes they investigate are secondary to their own lives and interactions. And that's just fine. There is kind of a voyeuristic quality to the way we get to see so much.

The crimes here run the gamut from strange happenings at the local airfield where Challis keeps his forever-being-restored Kittyhawk plane, to an anonymous Meddler who spies and reports on local wrongdoers, to a pot-growing anarchist, to a suicide that isn't, to an especially kinky rapist, to Challis's wife who tried to have him killed (you notice I didn't say ex-wife), to...well, you get the picture.

And it really is all very well-written. It's just a little too much. But it does leave me with the feeling that I could walk into just about any house on the Peninsula and feel at home, right down to management of the loo.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Cheryl A. Reynolds VINE VOICE on July 23, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
I checked this book out of my local library via the Kindle, same as the first in this series, and I didn't really have any issue with the storyline itself--except that it is perhaps rather "busy" as it follows several of the police personnel in the station and switches points of view frequently. However, I very much enjoy the atmosphere and the diverse and interesting characters.

My issues with this and the first book are the horrible formatting for Kindle. The spacing is way off, with mostly double spacing, sometimes random bigger spaces and single sentences looking like paragraphs, and other times having paragraphs run together, switching points of view with no space at all, just one big run-on glob of prose. Often you have to stop to think and realize that the story is about someone else now, not the person who's been the center of attention for the last five pages. There are hyphens in the middle of longer words in the middle of sentences (on the Kindle) that I assume are leftover from the print version where a word didn't fit on a line and was carried onto the next. I also found a few outright spelling errors or use of the wrong form of a word both in this and the first book in the series. This is extremely distracting at least to me, pulling me out of the story time and again. If I had actually purchased this book rather than borrowing from the library, I would have been complaining very loudly and asking for a refund. I don't know whose job it is to handle the formatting from print to Kindle, but whoever it is, they fell down on the job badly. It's too bad, because as much as I enjoy the actual story in the books, I think it will be quite some time before I read the next unless I can find it in print.
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More About the Author

Garry Disher lives in Australia and is the author of over 40 books: novels, short story collections, writers' handbooks, history textbooks and children's fiction. His Challis and Destry police procedurals, and his Wyatt crime from the inside thrillers, are gaining international recognition, winning best crime novel of the year awards in Australia and Germany and appearing on best books of the year lists in the USA. Garry has toured Germany twice and the States once, and counts a scholarship year spent in the Stanford University creative writing school, early in his career, as one of his most important formative experiences.

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