Hirsch is a whistle-blower. Formerly a promising metropolitan detective, now hated and despised, he’s been exiled to a one-cop station in South Australia’s wheatbelt. Threats. Pistol cartridge in the mailbox.
So when he heads up Bitter Wash Road to investigate gunfire and finds himself cut off without backup, there are two possibilities. Either he’s found the fugitive killers thought to be in the area. Or his ‘backup’ is about to put a bullet in him.
He’s wrong on both counts. But when the next call-out takes him to the body of a sixteen-year-old girl, his investigation has disturbing echoes of the past he’s trying to leave behind…
Over the last couple of years I’ve been immersed in a lot of Australian fiction because there’s such great reading coming over – it seems there’s another pretty damn fine purveyor of the art out there in Garry Disher, being published for the first time over here next year via new Serpents Tail imprint Viper books.
It’s probably the beginning of a new obsession for me, given that main protagonist Hirsch is incredibly engaging, pragmatic in the face of extreme pressure, ironically humerous about his own situation and a character that you relate to immediately.
The author writes small town Australia with a wry eye and an absorbing detail- building a series of intricate mysteries around the wider community Hirsch finds himself thrown into – a dead girl, haunting secrets, that sense of insular thinking and long held grudges creating layers of thought provoking storytelling.
This is an extraordinarily compelling character drama, an often disturbing mystery and it’s quiet, insightful prose grips throughout, leaving you longing for more.
Luckily I know there’s more coming. I can’t wait.
Very much recommended.