Peace by Garry Disher

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Paul Hirschhausen book 2. Text, 2019. ISBN: 9781922268150. 336pp.
(Age: Senior secondary - Adult) Highly recommended. Disher is an expert at bringing to life the Australian countryside and Peace is a wonderful example of rural noir. Although Constable Paul Hirschhausen was introduced in Bitter Wash Road, Peace can be read as a standalone. Hirsch is a rural cop patrolling the areas in the dry country south of the Flinders Ranges in South Australia. He is gradually beginning to be known by the town people and even acts as Santa Claus for the children of the town. His life has been relatively peaceful until there is a vicious attack in Kitchener Street, and a woman leaves her baby in a hot car. Then the Sydney police are involved and Hirsch has to use his expertise and knowledge of the local area in locating a missing woman.
Disher is a master of descriptive writing and readers who have lived in or visited small country towns will recognise the vivid pictures of both the countryside and the town characters. And extracts from Mrs Keir's 19th century journal will make the reader want to learn more about early pioneering life and the Aboriginal community.
Hirsch is a very likeable character who is intelligent and very capable of working out what is happening and following through, making judgement calls that fit in with being a rural cop and working with the community. His internal dialogue is often humorous and adds to the enjoyment of the story.
The action ramps up with the discovery of a body and the reader is left to grapple with all the different threads as Hirsch weaves his way through danger, trying to avoid police bureaucracy and local town politics. The nail biting conclusion highlights the clever plotting by Disher and will leave the reader satisfied.
I can't wait for more Paul Hirschhausen stories.
Pat Pledger