Day’s End (Hirsch #4) by Garry Disher, Review: Gripping

Day’s End is the gritty fourth title in Garry Disher’s award-winning Constable Hirsch crime series. Read my full review.

Day's End by Garry Disher, Book Review

Day’s End Book Synopsis

Hirsch Book #4

Hirsch’s rural beat is wide. Daybreak to day’s end, dirt roads and dust. Every problem that besets small towns and isolated properties, from unlicensed driving to arson. In the time of the virus, Hirsch is seeing stresses heightened and social divisions cracking wide open. His own tolerance under strain; people getting close to the edge.

Today he’s driving an international visitor around: Janne Van Sant, whose backpacker son went missing while the borders were closed. They’re checking out his last photo site, his last employer. A feeling that the stories don’t quite add up.

Then a call comes in: a roadside fire. Nothing much—a suitcase soaked in diesel and set alight. But two noteworthy facts emerge. Janne knows more than Hirsch about forensic evidence. And the body in the suitcase is not her son’s.

‘In Day’s End the characters are depicted with nuance and emotion and even the minor players feel very fleshed out and real. Disher’s ear for dialogue is pitch perfect and his pacing and sustained tension make for a page-turning read.’ – Cass Moriarty

(Text Publishing, November 2022)

Genre: Crime-Detective, Action, Mystery, Thriller

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Book Review

If you are looking for reliably good crime writing, then look no further than Garry Disher.

Like Chris Hammer, he is a master at depicting a scene, an atmosphere, a mood, but the effect (for me, anyway) is distinctly different. Disher’s stories more award-winning TV series rather than big screen blockbuster; more ‘feels-like-you-are-there’ riding every bump in the washed-out dirt country road with his leading man Hirsch rather than watching on enthralled. Every facial expression, every word, or for that matter every silence, means something.

Out in that country, if you owned a sheep station the size of a European principality you stood tall. If you were a rent-paying public servant, like Hirsch, you stood on the summit of Desolation Hill.

Not much of a hill — but it was desolate. It overlooked patches of saltbush and mallee scrub and a broad, red-ochre gibber plain that stretched to the horizon; wilted wildflowers here and there, deceived by a rare spring shower.

I have been in two minds about the different ways authors have tackled the pandemic in fictional series. With Day’s End I think Disher has done a great job of acknowledging its societal impacts, the way it has amplified certain behaviour and stressors, without letting it take centre stage. Paul Hirschhausen’s broader story arc beats strong within this novel. 

In this book, he introduces us to an eclectic bunch of new characters (not all law-abiding) and explores with great authenticity some highly topical and important issues. Hirsch’s banter with sharp-tongued elder Auntie Steph is fabulous.

As in its predecessor Consolation (Book 3), Hirsch attends to various disparate matters that at first appear routine in his endearing world-weary straight-shooting style. But as he follows his instincts, a tangled web of criminal activity presents itself. The compelling question in Day’s End is, to what extent can he unravel that web before he finds himself and those he loves and respects harmed by it?

Some of the scenes and character actions so vividly depicted by Garry Disher are not for the faint of heart. But, Day’s End (Hirsch #4) is a read not to be missed by those who love their rural crime gritty and their conclusions gripping.

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

Get your copy of Day’s End (Hirsch #4) from:

Booktopia Book Depository Amazon

Previous books in Garry Disher’s Hirsch Series

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.

* My receipt of a review copy from the publisher did not impact the expression of my honest opinions above.