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Chain of Evidence by Garry Disher
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Chain of Evidence (2007)

by Garry Disher

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In the fourth volume of this crime series featuring Australian detective Hal Challis and his colleagues in a small police department on a peninsula south of Melbourne, Hal is in the outback at his childhood home, where he has been summoned because of his father's illness. While there, he decides to investigate the disappearance of his sister's husband several years before, a mystery that has never been solved. That leaves Ellen back on the Peninsula in charge of a child abduction and possible murder. She's missing Hal, and wondering whether she's in over her head, and it's beginning to look like there may be a child pedophile ring and possible police corruption involved.

As noted before, I enjoy this crime series, especially the characters involved in solving the varied crimes they encounter, from Hal down to patrolman "Tank."

3 star ( )
  arubabookwoman | Dec 18, 2017 |
Detective stories set in a familiar, if fictional, milieu very like Westernport, Victoria. Disher writes strong characters with a clear sense of place. The plot of this one is double-barrelled, both with pleasant twists and turns and wrapped up without a strand loose. Part of a series, the back story is sufficiently fleshed out if you come at it fresh. ( )
  PhilipJHunt | Oct 30, 2017 |
One of the biggest strengths of this series is the setting - so different from anything else I had read, so Australian. This book looses this - yes, it is still in the same place but it does not feel as different as before - the places and the crimes could have happened anywhere. But that is not because Disher did not do his job properly - it is just that some things are the same - no matter where you go. Not that some things were not possible only in Australia (Trankard's car issues for example) but something was off, too generic in places.

Disher seems to be having a hard time dealing with the big cast he created so he puts a few of them on the virtual bench again - Hal Challis is summoned to his father's death bed near Adelaide (some 1000 km or so away from the Peninsula) and Pam is shipped to extensive training for most of the novel (but she is back just on time when Disher is out of options on who can help - a bit too neat but still believable).

And with Challis elsewhere the book splits into two separate narratives - one on the Peninsula, a second one, a lot shorter, with Challis somewhere in the middle of nowhere. He may have gone to be with his father but ends up in a real trouble - first a body surfaces, then he manages to alienate a few police officers, then people shoot at him and somewhere amongst all this racket, he manages to solve an old murder and help his own family.

Meanwhile on the Hal-less Peninsula, Ellen Destry's family had finally disintegrated and she is staying at Hal's house, house-watching while she is gone. Even if these two spend the novel never meeting and just talking on the phone a few times, the tension is there and I am not sure that she is moving out of this house any time soon. But we will see.

And while she is staying there, she gets the call for a missing girl. Search parties are dispatched and soon it becomes clear that the crime is a lot bigger - with a whole set of old crimes that connect to this one. Pedophilia is a hard topic and not all authors are handling it well. Disher uses the same style that allowed the previous novel not to sound too garish and despite the hard topic, the story remains about the people and the community. And when dirty cops are involved, things go crazy fast.

By the end of the novel, two of the main cast of characters are dead (solving Disher's issue with what to do with so many people), Hal is on his way back and the Peninsula is the same as before. Except not really - because the resolution of this case will reverberate through the force and the community for a while and I am curious to see how the next novel in the series handles it (if it does) - so far Disher had always managed to handle this kind if issues nicely in the next novels.

Overall a decent story in the series, even if it is the weakest of the 4 so far. ( )
  AnnieMod | Mar 28, 2015 |
I do love an Australian accent. This police procedural takes place near Victoria. DS Destry is on her on in the Waterloo police station while her squeeze, Inspector Hal Challis is on compassionate leave for his father's impending death. Challis becomes embroiled in the investigation of the death of Gavin, his sister's husband who had disappeared, but whose body is discovered while he is there. There is the usual banter and antipathy of the local cops with the city detective who is also in conflict with the homicide squad and he's out of his jurisdiction, yadayadayada. In the meantime Sgt Destry has her hands full with a pedophile ring. If I say more, I'll give away some of the surprise.

I don't mean to sound dismissive because I did like the story and the characters although it's beginning to surprise me how much extra-marital activity there is in British and Australian police departments. The author also has a rather jaundiced view of Australian society. And, as I said, lovely accent. ( )
  ecw0647 | Sep 30, 2013 |
As Challis heads for an isolated outback town to visit his terminally ill father, Destry receives word that 10-year-old Katy Blasko never arrived home from school the day before. Tough and focused, Destry assumes command of a team of constables, but nagging performance anxiety requires she keep in contact with Challis, her mentor. As the team canvasses the streets searching for Katy - and too much precious time passes fruitlessly - they must assuage the growing fear that it may already be too late to find the girl alive and unharmed. ( )
  jepeters333 | Oct 19, 2009 |
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Down here in Victoria he was the Rising Stars Agency, but he'd been Catwalk Casting up in New South Wales, and Model Miss Promotions in Queensland before that.
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Inspector Hal Challis is called to his boyhood home to tend to his dying father, leaving Sergeant Ellen Destry to head an investigation into a ring of pedophiles while Hal conducts his own investigation into his brother-in-law's mysterious disappearance.… (more)

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Penguin Australia

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