The press release promised a new Rebus: quite something to live up to. The classic ‘cop who wants to do the right thing but never follows orders’ character is frequently done, but personally I can’t get enough of protagonists who endanger their careers, and sometimes lives, for the sake of doing the job well.

Hirsch is a whistle-blower. Formerly a promising metropolitan officer, now hated and despised. Exiled to a one-cop station in South Australia’s wheatbelt. Threats. Pistol carriage in the mailbox.

So when he heads up Bitter Wash Road to investigate gunfire and finds himself cut off without backup, there are two possibilities. Either he’s found the fugitive killers thought to be in the area. Or his ‘backup’ is about to put a bullet in him.

He’s wrong on both counts. But the events that unfold turn out to be a hell of a lot more sinister.

Hmm, an intriguing storyline. Dude who’s been exiled by his colleagues fights against police corruption. One of my favourite tropes.

It wasn’t bad, by any means, but somehow it read like a debut novel. Apparently it’s not, though. I felt that if the storyline had just been a little tighter, the characters fleshed out a little more, this could have gone from being a book I put down three quarters of the way through and then couldn’t remember whether I’d finished, to being a tense joyride. Or maybe more of a car chase.

The story has potential, the character could be interesting, but he’s no John Rebus. Still, I’d be interested to see what Garry Disher publishes in the future; I have a feeling this author’s works are going to get better with time.