Title: Consolation by Garry Disher
Paul Hirschhausen Series Book Three
Publisher: Text Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery, Suspense
Length: 336 pages
Book Rating: B+
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley
In Consolation, Tiverton’s only police officer Constable Paul Hirschhausen is dealing with a snowdropper. Someone is stealing women’s underwear, and Hirsch knows how that kind of crime can escalate. Then two calls come in: a teacher who thinks a child may be in danger at home. A father on the rampage over at the primary school.
Hirsch knows how things like that can escalate, too. Families under pressure. Financial problems. But it’s always a surprise when the killing starts.
Consolation by Garry Disher is a suspense-laden mystery which takes place in rural Australia. Although this newest addition to the Paul Hirschhausen series can be read as a standalone, I highly recommend the entire series.
Working alone in a one man station, Constable Paul “Hirsch” Hirschhausen is responsible for the inhabitants inside and outside of Tiverton. He begins and ends most days taking quiet strolls around town to ensure all is well in the local community. Hirsch also spends a couple of days a week driving through the vast countryside where he checks in on vulnerable families. Sometimes in the course of his duties, Hirsch takes care of a myriad of cases that sometimes take startling turns.
Due to their rather isolated location, Hirsch is sometimes asked to take care of things that are not always within his purview. When local teacher Clara Ogilivie expresses concern about a homeschooled student she supervises, Hirsch makes a judgment decision to call on the family. With the property secured behind a locked gate, he is curious about what might be going on. Not one to allow a locked gate to stop him, Hirsch makes a shocking discovery.
Meanwhile, back in town, Hirsch is trying to catch a snowdropper who is targeting people in Tiverton and Redruth. He is also attempting to catch a traveling gang who are fleecing citizens. In the aftermath of being targeted, one of the victims uncovers a possible theft that leads Hirsch to a very unexpected suspicion. But finding who is behind all of these crimes takes time and patience.
Another very unanticipated case sends three people on the run and leads to escalating confrontations and thefts in the outlying area. When his boss Sergeant Hilary Brandl is injured on the job while assisting him in his investigation, Hirsch becomes the interim boss. He must deal with outside agencies who take some of his cases off his hands. He grudgingly hands over the information he has amassed, but Hirsch finds it difficult to stop searching for evidence.
The most disquieting case directly involves Hirsch and he is unsure of how to handle the situation. He is unnerved by anonymous texts he is receiving and graffiti at the station. Although he tries to keep these unsettling happenings to himself, he does confide in his girlfriend Wendy Street and Sergeant Brandl. Is the person Hirsch suspects responsible for what is going on? And if not, then who is?
Consolation is a multi-layered mystery with a likable lead protagonist. The various investigations are intriguing and move at a steady pace. The rural setting is vibrantly developed and provides added tension and urgency as Hirsch works on the various cases. With shocking plot twists, Garry Disher brings this riveting mystery to a breathtaking conclusion. Old and new fans of the Paul Hirschhausen series are going to love this latest installment in this brilliant series.