Praise for The Dragon Man
“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 first-rate piece of crime writing.”—The Washington Post Book World
“Colorful . . . Disher has literary talent and imagination.”—Chicago Tribune
“Disher makes his characters as interesting as his plot.”—Portsmouth Herald
“A police procedural of a very different kind . . . A ‘down under’ atmosphere that most American readers will find unique.”—The Plain Dealer
“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
"Disher delivers an intelligent, atmospheric police procedural . . . Fans of such gritty yet cerebral crime novelists as Ian Rankin and Jack Harvey should be well pleased."—Publishers Weekly
"This series debut from the prolific Disher (The Sunken Road, 1996, etc.) doesn’t read like one, thanks to fully formed characters and wall-to-wall mysteries. The offbeat setting’s a bonus for US readers."—Kirkus Reviews
Praise for the Hal Challis series
"This series boasts careful, realistic casework, but there’s enough darkness and ambiguity to suit John Harvey fans and a kind of which-way-is-up sense of the police force that recalls early James Ellroy. Moody, inventive, and extremely hard to put down." —Booklist
Disher keeps his style curt, his bits of dialogue short, his invasions of the psyche pointed. Weaving back and forth between the police and the criminals, and among the uniformed cops and detectives, Disher smoothly creates a choral portrait of the police and the people they work with and for, delivering a community of stories … a first-rate piece of crime writing: a dense, hard-nosed portrait of a world unto itself.
The Washington Post
When young women start turning up dead in this lonely area, Inspector Hal Challis and his team of homicide detectives go through the right motions, but they're seriously distracted by a rash of arson-burglaries that may or may not be related to the murders. Equally damaging to the investigation are the personal hang-ups of the squad members, a flawed but admirable group with a collective knack for putting themselves in compromising relationships. All this has been done before, but rarely with such smooth, assured mastery.
The New York Times
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. (Aug. 15) Forecast: Disher's literary standing (his novel The Sunken Road was nominated for the Booker Prize), Soho's reputation for quality (a Soho title won the Edgar for Best First Novel this year) and increasing U.S. interest in foreign crime writers all bode well for sales. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
In small-town, southeastern Australia, Detective Inspector Challis and cohorts investigate a serial murderer preying on single women. Before the most recent victim is found, a local reporter receives a letter alluding to her death and to an expected next killing. The usual departmental complications ensue: public resentment of a hard-nosed constable, a problematic investigator who steals drugs for a new-found lover, a resident sex offender, and youngish vandals/burglars. Disher's solid prose connects the fascinating subplots, all centered on the fair-minded, airplane-restoring protagonist. A new award-winning Australian series for all collections. [Previewed in Mystery Prepub Alert, LJ 4/1/04.] Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
A harried police force in southern Australia tries to apprehend a serial killer while coping with diverse minor infractions and major personal problems. The murder of young Jane Gideon casts a pall over the imminent Christmas holidays on The Peninsula, a "coastal comma" southeast of Melbourne, and prompts talk of a serial killer, since another local woman was killed in a similar manner one week earlier. When Detective Inspector Hal Challis, who recently survived an attempt on his life by his wife and her lover, both now in prison, arrives from out of town to supervise the probe, he's promptly taken into custody by one of his new junior officers, overeager Constable John Tankard. Challis's ex still manages to ring him up occasionally from prison. Tankard's woebegone partner Pam Murphy, officious detective Ellen Destry, and the other Peninsula constables have comparably messy personal lives, rivaling those of the petty criminals with whom they're locked in constant combat. Challis's adjustment to his new assignment and locale is smoothed by a relationship with tabloid editor Tessa Kane fraught with professional ethics issues. The hunt for the serial killer proceeds with methodical slowness, but there's no dearth of other minor cases, involving arson, burglary, and drug abuse. This series debut from the prolific Disher (The Sunken Road, 1996, etc.) doesn't read like one, thanks to fully formed characters and wall-to-wall mysteries. The offbeat setting's a bonus for US readers.