It takes months for Australian social psychologist Janine McQuarrie to succumb to her husband’s pressure to attend spouse-swapping parties, but eventually she gives in. Then, driving with her young daughter one day, she gets out of her car to ask directions and is shot and killed. The little girl escapes when the gunman's pistol misfires.
Inspector Hal Challis of the Crime Investigation Unit is assigned the case, but his efforts are thwarted by his boss. The dead woman was Superintendent McQuarrie’s daughter-in-law, and he seems to be more interested in protecting his son than in finding his daughter-in-law’s murderer. Who might have a motive to kill this attractive young wife and mother? One of her clients? One of the swingers she’d gotten together with at a party? Or, the obvious suspect, her husband?
Fans of grim, uncompromising police procedurals will welcome Australian Disher's gritty, well-plotted third novel to feature Insp. Hal Challis (after 2005's Kittyhawk Down). A dedicated but haunted man, the Melbourne homicide detective is still recovering emotionally from his late wife's attempt to kill him. When Janine McQuarrie, a therapist who happens to be the daughter-in-law of Challis's police superintendent, is gunned down in front of her seven-year-old daughter, Challis and his longtime partner, Ellen Destry, get on the case. Their discovery that the victim had recently sent pictures from an orgy to some of its participants including her own husband leads to a number of suspects, including their boss. Soon, more bodies turn up, suggesting that McQuarrie may have been mistaken for someone else. A fully realized character, Challis is the fitting center of what will hopefully be a long series.