UNDER THE COLD BRIGHT LIGHTS – Garry Disher

Under The Cold Bright LightsThis is a book that has been lurking for a while in my ‘To Be Read’ pile.
Despite being fond of crime novels, I had not previously read any of the almost 50 novels this local author has written, so I had no expectations of style or content.

It appears he writes series about specific characters, as so many crime writers do, and in this instance his principal is Alan Auhl, a retired police officer who has been recalled to duty to relieve the pressure on acting officers by looking after the cold case files.

He is treated rather scornfully as a geriatric by these younger officers, but forms a comfortable working relationship with Claire, one younger officer who has had her own personal problems.

Alan is still trying to reconcile himself to the break up of his marriage and he lives an odd lifestyle in a many roomed old mansion in an inner Melbourne suburb, where he provides accommodation for a few ‘lost souls’ and for his adolescent daughter. Even for his estranged, highly professional wife when she is in town overnight!

His cold cases are intriguing and there are complex relationships involving people in high places,some of which he resolves in his own direct and unconventional fashion!

For those of us living in the Dandenong Ranges there is an added interest in some incidents involving Coldstream and Emerald. Emerald is the setting for a dedicated religious cult (hmm?), some of whose members who have a strong involvement in one of his cases.

The book is well written, the main character is most appealing and the minor characters all interesting. I’ll be looking forward to reading more about Alan Auld and Disher’s other personalities from now on. (Watch out, Harry Bosch, you now have a rival for my affection!)

Ann Creber
Producer/Presenter of The Good Life on 3MDR 97.1 FM.

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