Constable Paul Hirschhausen runs a one-cop station in the dry farming country south of the Flinders Ranges. He’s still new in town but the community work—welfare checks and working bees—is starting to pay off. Now Christmas is here and, apart from a grass fire, two boys stealing a ute and Brenda Flann entering the front bar of the pub without exiting her car, Hirsch’s life has been peaceful.
Until he’s called to a strange, vicious incident in Kitchener Street. And Sydney police ask him to look in on a family living outside town on a forgotten back road.
Suddenly, it doesn’t look like a season of goodwill at all.
Garry Disher has published fifty titles across multiple genres. His last standalone novel, Bitter Wash Road, won the 2016 German Crime Prize, a prize he has previously won twice. In 2018 he received the Ned Kelly Lifetime Achievement Award.
'Disher is the gold standard for rural noir.’ Chris Hammer
'There is no peace for a good man when the mercury rises, tempers fray and violence simmers. This is a scorchingly good novel.’ Michael Robotham
‘Peace tells the story of a cop exiled to a wounded town in South Australia’s dry country. In this brilliant novel Disher takes his readers on a harrowing journey.’ Jock Serong
'I loved Peace. It is an an uplifting book, an utterly compelling mystery with rare heart and humanity. If you enjoyed Jane Harper’s The Lost Man, this novel is for you.’ Dervla McTiernan
‘Peter Temple and Garry Disher will be identified as the crime writers who redefined Australian crime fiction in terms of its form, content and style.’ Sydney Morning Herald
Customer ReviewsSee All
Peace on parched earth
Australian now 70. Former creative writing academic. >40 published titles, both fiction and non-fiction. His fiction is mostly in the crime/mystery or historical genres. This is his second book involving Constable Paul Hirschhausen, a one-time city detective turned whistle blower, who finds himself demoted and exiled to a small country town in the Flinders Ranges and still in the sights of internal affairs. The first, Hell To Pay, was published in 2013.
Twelve months on from the events in Hell To Pay, Hirsch, as he likes to be called, is settling in to life as a solo cop in a small town. The town is more accepting of him, but has yet to embrace him completely. He has a female interest, but their love life is stymied by his being perpetually on call. Disher guides us through a some local minor crimes that constitute his regular duties, along with wearing a Santa suit and judging the Christmas lights. The bloodshed starts with horses, and moves on to people. Cue rat-bag ice addict local, mysterious stranger, and rogue big city cop. Add local colour, by which I mean local weirdos, and a series of twists and turns. Shake well in a hot, dry landscape and voilà.
Hirsch is a well drawn, sympathetic character but the honest cop trying to do his job is a familiar trope. His boss is okay too. The country and the weather feature prominently. The supporting cast is predictably cliched, but that’s probably just me.
Professional job by a seasoned professional. Mr Disher knows his stuff and proves it yet again.
The latest in an increasingly long list of recent Aussie rural noir/outback crime stories (think Jane Harper, Chris Hammer, Emily O’Grady etc). Given that the vast majority of Australians live in big coastal cities nowadays, this obsession with “the bush” is wearing a little thin with at least one ageing white male reader.