The Ned Kelly Award–winning master of Australian noir shows us the darker side of the Peninsula. A major meth-related crime confounds Inspector Hal Challis, while Sergeant Ellen Destry hunts down an elusive serial rapist.
A pair of hit men have a very bad day, and the resulting bushfire draws attention to a meth lab and two burned bodies in a Mercedes. As Inspector Hal Challis of the Crime Investigation Unit struggles to link these events to major meth suppliers flooding the Peninsula with drugs, he also finds himself spending valuable time fending off jurisdictional challenges from Melbourne’s Major Drug Investigative Division. Meanwhile, Sgt. Ellen Destry, of CIU’s sex crimes unit, is hunting for a serial rapist who is extremely adept at not leaving clues. A tense, human, and at times darkly funny entry into Disher’s celebrated Ned Kelly Award–winning series.
Early in Ned Kelly Award winner Disher's excellent seventh Hal Challis investigation (after 2012's Whispering Death), a pair of hit men from Sydney execute a fencer of stolen property who has the bad luck to spot them in the act of disposing of a body in the rural peninsula south of Melbourne. Soon afterward, the killers unwittingly drive into the path of a wildfire and are burned to death. In the same area, an epidemic of meth-related "ice crimes" preoccupies Challis, who's also working on a rash of thefts. Meanwhile, Senior Sergeant Coolidge, from a task force in Melbourne, mounts an operation on drug trafficking. And Challis's girlfriend, Ellen Destry, who heads the local sex crimes unit, investigates a possible serial rapist. The story's momentum never slows as Disher weaves these strands together with consummate skill and lyrical language ("The room was a hot, stale cave deep inside the police station and had never witnessed anything but loss and hopelessness"). This is a searing commentary on the meth crisis and its tremendous toll on users and communities alike.