Friday, May 17, 2013

Whispering Death, by Garry Disher

I'm just catching up with the newest Hal Challis/Ellen Destry book by Australia's Garry Disher (when his next, a Wyatt book, is just about to come out). Whispering Death could be the best yet among Disher's books, from whatever series. Though Destry is mostly absent (on a course prior to setting up a sex crines unit in the Peninsula of the series' setting), Pam Murphy, the younger detective and the other female in the squad, steps up to a prominent role. In fact, Pam is more involved than Challis in the investigation of a rape and abduction (and subsequent related crimes), while Challis worries about a series of bank robberies and his own problems with a failing classic car (a Triumph) and the classic airplane he's lost interest in, now that he has finished restoring it.

But the book actually starts out with a fascinating new character, unrelated to the crime that the squad is investigating. A young woman who goes by many names is a skillful, careful, and sympathetic burglar who is casing out houses to rob, but keeping her professional life away from her current residence and her safe-deposit box, which are both in Challis's back  yard.

One of the marks of an assured and skillful crime novelist is the ability to keep the plot moving in unexpected directions, and Disher achieves that throughout Whispering Death. I can't really talk much more about the story without giving away the plot, though plot is only one of the pleasures of the book and the series. Challis and Murphy are delightfully ordinary people, with personal lives full of ordinary problems. The narration and dialogue are so natural that a reader would be sucked in even if the plot wasn't moving so quickly and unexpectedly forward. And after a couple of sudden twists at the end, mgiht we expect some sort of sequel? Let's hope...

1 comment:

Barbara Fister said...

I really enjoyed this book. Great story, great characters.