Signal Loss

Garry Disher. Soho Crime, $27 (352p) ISBN 978-1-61695-859-6
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. (Dec.)
Reviewed on: 10/09/2017
Release date: 12/12/2017
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