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The Dragon Man
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It was as easy as that. Inspired, really. That first one, last week, she hadn't been a challenge at all. Drunk, half-drugged, hitchhiking, she'd been too easy. At least he'd got to use his head a little tonight. His headlights probed the darkness as he carried her away, high above the rottenness that was always there under the light of the sun. Its summer on the Mornington Peninsula near Melbourne. The heat's ramping up with the usual holiday madness building. Detective Inspector Hal Challis is already recycling his shower water and starting to dread Christmas. But this year there's something more - women abducted and murdered on the Old Highway, a pall of fear over the scorched paddocks. The media are demanding answers - and Challis' sleepy beat is set to explode.
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About the Author

Garry Disher grew up in South Australia. In 1978 he was awarded a creative writing fellowship to Stanford University, where he wrote his first short-story collection. A full-time writer for many years, he is the author of more than forty titles--fiction, children's books, anthologies, history textbooks, and books about the craft of writing. With considerable local and international success--including the prestigious German Crime Fiction Prize for Dragon Man--Disher is one of Australia's most exciting and diverse writers.

Garry Disher grew up in South Australia. In 1978 he was awarded a creative writing fellowship to Stanford University, where he wrote his first short-story collection. A full-time writer for many years, he is the author of more than forty titles--fiction, children's books, anthologies, history textbooks, and books about the craft of writing. With considerable local and international success--including the prestigious German Crime Fiction Prize for Dragon Man--Disher is one of Australia's most exciting and diverse writers.

Reviews

"An intelligent, atmospheric police procedural...Fans of such gritty yet cerebral crime novelists such as Ian Rankin and Jack Harvey should be well pleased." Publishers Weekly "The Dragon Man is unquestionably Disher's masterpiece, an astonishingly told caper that's tough, tender, poignant and totally captivating." Age "A straightforward police story with a terrific plot, nuanced characters and solid procedures, served up on refreshing new turf. Done with smooth, assured mastery." New York Times "Challis is a fine creation: strong and resourceful, yet with enough human frailty to satisfy the tastes of readers raised on Connelly, Rankin or Patricia Cornwell. This is intelligent, well-crafted fare, enlivened by a sharp awareness of society and the dark undercurrents beneath it." West Australian

The problem with reading lots of crime fiction is that, after a while, plots are easy to anticipate, murderers can be identified early in the text and protagonists often conform to the same character profile. This makes for frustrating reading, even if the avid reader has an enjoyable time setting `personal best' targets for how early in the text he or she guesses whodunit. Gary Disher's latest offering is one of these titles. This is unfortunate, as Disher is a classy writer whose prose deserves a better plot and whose main character deserves fleshing out. Set on Melbourne's Mornington Peninsula, The Dragon Man covers the investigation of a series of murder-rapes. The bodies of two young female victims have already been found and Detective Inspector Hal Challis and Sergeant Ellen Destry are out to find the person responsible before he strikes again. With a number of subplots, including the ubiquitous marriage on the rocks and a threat to one of the copper's loved ones, The Dragon Man keeps, rather than grips, the reader's attention. The first in a new series from the author of the Wyatt thrillers, let's hope that the Dragon Man's next case holds at least a few surprises. Virginia Maxwell is a Melbourne-based reviewer. C. 1999 Thorpe-Bowker and contributors

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