Consolation by Garry Disher, Audio Book Review: Gritty mystery

Consolation is the third thrilling instalment in Garry Disher’s award-winning Constable Hirsch crime series. Read my full review.

Consolation Synopsis

Winner of the 2021 Ned Kelly Award for Best Crime Fiction

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.

‘Garry Disher may not have quite the same level of name recognition as fellow bestselling Australian rural noir writers such as Jane Harper and Chris Hammer, but he has long been one of the genre’s best.’ – Weekend West

(Text Publishing, November 2020)


Written by: Garry Disher; Narrated by: Steve Shanahan. Length: 9 hrs and 43 mins; W F Howes (2020)

Genre: Crime-Detective, Mystery, Thriller

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Book Review

I am a little late to the party when it comes to Garry Disher’s award-winning Constable Hirsch series. On the flipside, that does boost the credibility of my assurance that this third title in the series, Consolation, can still prove a highly enjoyable read as a standalone. Or in my case overdue starting point, since I look forward to reading more from this talented author.

Australian rural crime fiction typically features small dusty towns that have seen better days baking in the summer heat. So Disher’s evocative depiction of the relatively lively one-cop town of Tiverton in South Australia’s wheatbelt as it shivers through a winter chill makes for a refreshing change of scene.

Hirsch (Constable Paul Hirschhausen) is great crime series lead. Initially a fish-out-of-water city cop (refer Book 1 synopsis), he has now made a life for himself in the country. His calm, laidback style belies the strong sense of duty he feels as protector of the townsfolk, particularly teacher Wendy Street and her daughter. His radar is highly attuned to troubling undercurrents. This, coupled with the entangled and varied nature of the criminal activities Hirsch investigates, translates into simmering tension from this novel’s outset and in its latter half, unabated suspense.

Audiobook narration

Narrator Steve Shanahan’s slightly gritty voice evokes well Hirsch’s at-times world-worn but endearingly steadfast personality. But this is not a case where I’d recommend the audiobook over the text edition. For me, Consolation‘s audio narration had some weaknesses in respect to pacing, intonation and on occasion lacked distinction between characters. Ultimately though, Disher’s writing is so strong that the combined experience remained highly enjoyable.

Garry Disher’s Consolation is an engrossing crime investigation narrative propelled by people and relationships that will keep you guessing.

BOOK RATING: The Story 4 / 5 ; The Writing 4.5 / 5 ; Overall 4.25 / 5

Get your copy of Consolation (Constable Hirschhausen #3) from:

Amazon Book Depository Booktopia AU

OR listen to the audiobook FREE with Audible’s Trial (check eligibility)

UPDATE: I have since thoroughly enjoyed Book 4 in this series, Day’s End also.

About the Author, Garry Disher

Garry Disher has published over fifty titles across multiple genres. With a growing international reputation for his best-selling crime novels, he has won four German and three Australian awards for best crime novel of the year, and been longlisted twice for a British CWA Dagger award. In 2018 he received the Ned Kelly Lifetime Achievement Award. Check out his website.

This review counts toward my participation in the Aussie Author Challenge 2022.