Fiction – December 2019

Number 22 of the Spenser series, this was one of the better ones. Spenser is searching for a policeman’s missing wife. It quickly transpires that things (as usual) are not what they seem. The reader gets snappy dialog, a touch of sex and violence, and a story worth following. Recommended. But start at the beginning.

Fantasy romp that fell flat with me. Nothing was convincing: jerky dialog, uneven characterization, and unlikely motivations. The fantasy backdrop didn’t work. The story might have been worth telling, but not like this. Avoid.

Now this is brilliant. Harry Hole wakes up with blood on his hands and a gap in his memory. From there on, this chunky blockbuster is a roller coaster of top quality writing. A fine plot, skillfully revealed is matched by strong and believable characterization, pockets of razor sharp observation, and ever increasing tension. In short, pretty damn near a masterclass. I rated it four stars on Goodreads; maybe it should be five.

And this one is good, too. An Australian author, new to me, found while browsing a local bookshop in Melbourne. Ever since Peter Temple’s sad demise, I’ve been waiting for a quality writer to fill the gap. Disher may be that writer.

The central character Hirsch is a policeman demoted and exiled to a one man station in South Australia’s farming territory after his involvement – as a whistle-blower – with some corrupt policemen. The story starts with him investigating shots heard on Bitter Wash Road, which is somewhat challenging given the fact that two nutjobs are running around shooting, raping, and killing. Hirsch’s trials and tribulations are just about to start, as he is sucked into the dark whirlpool of despair that seems to have almost overwhelmed the local community. He battles his own force, his boss, his boss’s boss, and the unfriendly locals. But on he goes. The backdrop is exquisitely done, and the economy of writing is a joy to behold as it builds up to a great climax. Terrific stuff. Now to hunt down some other Disher books.