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When Hirsch heads up Bitter Wash Road to investigate the gunfire he finds himself cut off without back-up. A pair of thrill killers has been targeting isolated farmhouses on lonely backroads, but Hirsch’s first thought is that ‘back-up’ is nearby—and about to put a bullet in him.
That’s because Hirsch is a whistleblower. Formerly a promising metropolitan officer, now demoted and exiled to a one-cop station in South Australia’s wheatbelt. Called a dog by his brother officers. Threats; pistol cartridge in the mailbox.
But the shots on Bitter Wash Road don’t tally with Hirsch’s assumptions. The truth turns out to be a lot more mundane. And the events that unfold subsequently, a hell of a lot more sinister.
‘Exceptional crime fiction.’
‘There is a lot to like in this story, with several unexpected and surprising changes in direction combined with Disher’s usual deft plotting and economically drawn but fully fleshed out main and peripheral characters. What resonates most however is Hirschhausen’s painful sense of isolation within an already isolated community…I bought him, flaws and all, and hope he’s still out there on the Barrier highway keeping an eye on things.’
‘Garry Disher has been giving us highly intelligent literary thrillers for decades and he gets better and better, even as he wins more prizes for his resonant, poetic novels. Along with Peter Temple, he is the master wordsmith of local crime fiction and, to paraphrase Frederick Barthelme, his seemingly simple words trick us into the drama, and the drama breaks our hearts.’
‘Disher is definitely not to be missed.’
‘Peter Temple and Garry Disher will be identified as the crime writers who redefined Australian crime fiction in terms of its form, content and style…'Disher’s eye for detail is acute and his poetic analogies precise…Bitter Wash Road continues the work of re-imagining the crime genre in a very Australian way, and does it beautifully.’
‘Bitter Wash Road is superb.’
‘Not a word is wasted: here the ancient, bare, distinctive landscape of the hardscrabble country bordering Goyder’s Line is conveyed with admirably atmospheric economy.’
‘Bitter Wash Road moves at a cracking pace and is a great read.’
‘Smooth, assured mastery.’
‘Garry Disher, a popular and prolific crime writer who, his fellow Australians claim, ought to be more highly regarded here. On the evidence of Bitter Wash Road, his admirers have a strong case…It’s all assembled with great skill. Disher shows he’s a top-class writer.’
‘Disher is one of Australia’s most admired novelists. The main character in Bitter Wash Road is a smart, likeable detective banished to a rural outpost after blowing the whistle on corrupt cops in Adelaide. Hirsch has barely arrived when the body of a teenager is found, apparently hit by a truck. His investigation is hindered at every turn by colleagues who hate him, and Disher turns out to be a superb chronicler or macho pop culture.’