“A first-rate Australian author.”—The New York Times Book Review
“A ‘down under’ atmosphere that most American readers will find unique.”—Plain Dealer
It had taken months for Janine McQuarrie to succumb to her husband’s pressure to have sex with strangers at suburban spouse-swapping parties. But after attending a few such events on the Mornington Peninsula, this Australian social psychologist rebels. And then, driving with her young daughter one day, she gets out of her car to ask directions from another driver, is killed. The little girl escapes when the gunman's pistol misfires.
Inspector Hal Challis, to whose Crime Investigation Unit the case falls, is thwarted in his efforts by his boss. The dead woman was Superintendent McQuarrie’s daughter-in-law. He seems to be more interested in protecting his son than in finding his daughter-in-law’s murderer. Who might have a motive to kill this attractive young wife and mother? One of her clients? One of the swingers she’d gotten together with at a party? Or, the obvious suspect, her husband? The villain turns out to be someone Challis never would have expected.
Fans of grim, uncompromising police procedurals will welcome Australian Disher's gritty, well-plotted third novel to feature Insp. Hal Challis (after 2005's Kittyhawk Down). A dedicated but haunted man, the Melbourne homicide detective is still recovering emotionally from his late wife's attempt to kill him. When Janine McQuarrie, a therapist who happens to be the daughter-in-law of Challis's police superintendent, is gunned down in front of her seven-year-old daughter, Challis and his longtime partner, Ellen Destry, get on the case. Their discovery that the victim had recently sent pictures from an orgy to some of its participants-including her own husband-leads to a number of suspects, including their boss. Soon, more bodies turn up, suggesting that McQuarrie may have been mistaken for someone else. A fully realized character, Challis is the fitting center of what will hopefully be a long series. (July) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
With a lurid beginning, Disher's third Australian procedural (after Kittyhawk Down) grips the reader from page one. Inspector Challis is a likable, average guy who realizes he has the supervisor from hell when the boss's daughter-in-law is murdered. Superintendent McQuarrie belittles, threatens, and stops just short of interfering in the investigation. However, Challis remains true to his profession and to himself. Disher is masterly at character development, offering more than fleeting glimpses into the lives of police, criminals, and their families. Most fascinating are the "Australianisms": the goodie bags police give to courteous drivers, expressions like footy (football) and crims (criminals), and a befuddled, traffic-stopping koala. Despite too many coincidences, this book fascinates to the last page, when the tangled twists and turns finally unravel. An excellent addition to all mystery collections.-Susan G. Baird, Chicago Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
The search for the killer of a murdered psychologist is hampered by her secretive widower and her interfering father-in-law, a police department bigwig. Disenchanted by her husband Robert's recent passion for a swinging lifestyle, Janine McQuarrie hits the road with her young daughter Georgia. She's managed to take compromising photographs of many of Robert's partners, sent the photos anonymously to the subjects and is on her way to meet an unidentified lover. Someone shoots her en route. Detective Inspector Hal Challis (Kittyhawk Down, 2005, etc.), unaware of the aforementioned details, begins a methodical investigation. Traumatized Georgia is little help; Robert doesn't come clean about his sexual exploits; and his father, a detective superintendent, insists on being involved in the murder probe even though he and his wife never liked Janine, blinding him to his son's faults and his possible culpability. Several backstories involving members of Challis's team add texture to the main plot. Sergeant Ellen Destry's marriage continues its deterioration, edging her closer to a liaison with Challis, to the chagrin of his ladylove, tabloid editor Tessa Kane. In the midst of a public-relations assignment, partners John Tankard and Pam Murphy hit a snag when she accuses him of trying to grope her. A solid police procedural written with subtle intelligence, all the more interesting for its offbeat southern Australian setting.
Garry Disher is the author of over forty books for adults and children. The first in his Detective Inspector Challis murder mystery series, The Dragon Man, won the German Crime Fiction Critics Prize in 2001. Chain of Evidence, another book in the series, won the Ned Kelly Award for best Australian crime novel.