An old master, a touch of occult and an Israeli spy

Crime Fiction

July 30, 2006|By SARAH WEINMAN | SARAH WEINMAN,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Darkness and Light

John Harvey

Snapshot

Garry Disher

Soho Press / 310 pages

Crime writers in translation are getting much-overdue attention in North America, but let's not neglect far-flung authors who speak the same language. Australia's long history of crime writing excellence began with Patricia Carlon in the 1950s and continues with Garry Disher, whose police procedural novels rival American notables for crisp plotting and strong emphasis on character. Snapshot is the third book to feature homicide inspector Hal Challis (last seen in 2005's Kittyhawk Down), who has a doozy of a murder case to investigate: Janine McQuarrie, the daughter-in-law of the police superintendent - who is Challis' boss - is shot dead in a seemingly random attack. Challis' hunt leads him down a path of illicit sex parties, uncooperative spouses and dark secrets in the victim's past, culminating in a resolution that's surprising, utterly logical and especially resonant.

Sarah Weinman reviews crime fiction monthly for The Sun. Visit her at www.sarahweinman.com.

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