by Garry Disher
Text, $32.95 pb, 314 pp
It is ‘Schoolies’ Week’, and Waterloo, on the Mornington Peninsula, hosts a crowd of teenagers who, for various reasons, shun more fashionable parties on the Gold Coast. The police try to ensure that the kids practise safe sex and don’t become victims of their own excesses with drugs and alcohol, nor of the ‘toolies’ who scavenge the festival fringes. Liaison officer Constable Pam Murphy, recently transferred to detective duties, has encountered few serious problems but warns her superiors that an impending lunar eclipse could produce ‘the ultimate high’.
In Blood Moon, Garry Disher’s writing will excite fans of crime fiction. Inspector Hal Challis and Sergeant Ellen Destry are searching for the person who assaulted the now-comatose Lachlan Roe, a chaplain at the exclusive Landseer School. Roe’s brother Dirk works for Ollie Hindmarsh, a conservative MP and aggressive campaigner on law and order issues. The Roes have fundamentalist religious views and, as Challis discovers, they also disseminate white supremacist propaganda; so the list of suspects for the bashing is lengthy. Even a member of Challis’s team, Scobie Sutton, resents Lachlan’s influence on his wife, who spends most of her waking hours by the chaplain’s hospital bed.