The fourth Peninsula Crimes book and winner of Best Crime Fiction, Ned Kelly Awards, 2007.
Ten-year-old Katie Blasko is missing.
Detective Sergeant Ellen Destry, alert to rumours of a paedophile ring operating on the Peninsula, is thinking abduction. Her colleagues are thinking bad family, truancy. Her boss is thinking about the media. And everyone, including Ellen, is wondering whether she's good enough to handle this without D. I. Challis.
But Hal Challis is a thousand kilometres away, watching his father die. Ellen Destry's running the show on her own. And if she's right, Katie Blasko may be running out of time.
'The plot twists lie a backroad short cut and pulls like the rip.' Sunday Age
Australian Disher's fine fourth novel to feature Insp. Hal Challis, head of Peninsula East's Crime Investigation Unit in Waterloo, Queensland (after 2005's Snapshot), opens with the kidnapping of 10-year-old Katie Blasko. In Challis's absence, Sgt. Ellen Destry leads the investigation while her boss visits his dying father in the South Australia sheep-farming village he came from (and does some unofficial sleuthing on the mysterious disappearance of his brother-in-law five years earlier). When the girl is discovered, viciously abused, Destry's supervisors are a bit too eager to close the case as the inquiry widens into something much larger. Disher deftly weaves in layers of complexity, particularly the resentful antagonism that separates Waterloo's lower-middle-class families from the town's power structure. A compelling mix of procedural detail and action round out a fully credible plot and characters. Though some of the multitudinous subplots dilute the novel's overall impact, it's nonetheless a deeply satisfying read.