Another crime wave—actually two separate waves—for the sorely tried police in the back of the Australian beyond.
Elliot Lovelock and Stephen Pym, two enforcers meth importer Hector Kaye has dispatched to Victoria to whack Owen Valentine, close not only Valentine’s account, but their own in a brush fire they carelessly start. There wouldn’t be a single loose end if Valentine weren’t connected to so many other dubious types, from Christine Penford, the live-in so spaced out on her partner’s product that she scarcely seems to notice when Clover, her 6-year-old daughter, goes missing, to Tony Slatter, aka the Moonta Moth, a retired public servant whose tropism toward night-lit houses that aren’t his brought him to Valentine’s doorstep and a serious beating. As Inspector Hal Challis, of the Crime Investigation Unit (Whispering Death, 2012, etc.), works at cross-purposes with sadly misnamed Senior Sgt. Serena Coolidge, of the Major Drug Investigative Division, to follow the trail of meth to suppliers used to flying above the law, his lover, Sgt. Ellen Destry, of CIU’s sex crimes unit, is uncovering evidence that Roslyn Wreidt wasn’t just robbed, but raped by a chatty assailant who’s clearly struck before and plans to strike again. Not to be outdone, Janine Quine, a civilian CIU employee, is so desperate to erase her strung-out husband Jeff’s theft from his employer, conveyancer Raymond Loeb, that she agrees to some activities that may seriously compromise the unit. On the domestic front, Ellen’s kid sister, Allie, comes to visit with a man who instantly triggers Ellen’s alarm bells.
There are so many felonies in this quiet corner of Australia, in fact, that jurisdictional squabbles loom larger and larger as the criminals get tangled in multiple nets before Disher sorts it all out with consummate professionalism and just a trace of regret.