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The Way It Is Now

The Way It Is Now 2

by Garry Disher
Publication Date: 02/11/2021
5/5 Rating 2 Reviews

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RRP  $32.99

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A stunning new standalone crime novel from one of Australia's most revered writers

Set in a beach-shack town an hour from Melbourne, The Way It Is Now tells the story of a burnt-out cop named Charlie Deravin.

Charlie is living in his family's holiday house, on forced leave since he made a mess of things at work. Things have never been easy for Charlie.

Twenty years earlier his mother went missing in the area, believed murdered. His father has always been the main suspect, though her body was never found. Until now- the foundations are being dug for a new house on a vacant block. The skeletal remains of a child and an adult are found-and Charlie's past comes crashing in on him.

The Way It Is Now is the enthralling new novel by Garry Disher, one of Australia's most loved and celebrated crime writers.

Crime & Mystery
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Based on 2 reviews

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2 Reviews

As a devotee of Garry Disher's fantastic Hirschhausen series, I was excited to read his new standalone, The Way it is Now. I have to say that it met all my expectations!
In his signature gritty, yet lyrical, prose style, Disher crafts the story of Charlie Deravin, a committed yet disillusioned police officer, based on the Mornington peninsula, south-east of Melbourne, Australia. Disher is a master at evoking a distinctly Australian landscape and society, which in this case is a fictional coastal town facing towards Westernport Bay. During summer, the population swells with holiday-makers, but for the rest of the year a smaller number of long-term permanent residents enjoy more peaceful beaches and coastal bushland.
Charlie Deravin is one such resident, having moved into the beach house that was once his parents' home following the breakup of his marriage. He's currently on suspension from his job based at Rosebud, following an altercation with a senior officer over a jury misconduct-tampering allegation.
Charlie uses his enforced spare time to undertake his own private investigation into the disappearance of his mother twenty years ago, from her rental home not far up the coast. Charlie's father, a retired police officer himself, was always the prime suspect in her disappearance, but Charlie is particularly interested in establishing the whereabouts of his mother's former boarder, who was questioned by police at the time, but subsequently left the area and hasn't been heard of since. His activities seem to be stirring up disquiet amongst those connected to the case, including several of his father's former police colleagues. Matters reach a head when two skeletons are discovered, hidden in the foundations of a building undergoing renovation.
There are plenty of twists and turns, potential suspects and red herrings as Charlie, accompanied by his new girlfriend - the juror at the centre of the misconduct allegations - gradually close in on the truth.
The Way it is Now is an engrossing read, intertwining a well-conceived major crime investigation plot line with several intriguing sub-plots exploring themes around family trauma, professional relationships, conflicting loyalties and self-reflection. The central characters are convincing and evoke the reader's empathy, despite their flaws and occasional questionable decision-making. While the final denouement - when it comes - is somewhat jarring and violent, it is fitting against the narrative background of long-held secrets, police corruption and dysfunctional family relationships.
I'd highly recommend The Way it is Now to any reader who enjoys well-written Australian crime fiction, and as a great entry point for those readers who are yet to discover Garry Disher's work.

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The Way It Is Now is a stand-alone novel by best-selling award-winning Australian author, Garry Disher. Detective Senior Constable Charlie Deravin has been suspended from duty. As he waits to learn his fate, he’s spending the time in the old family cottage in Menlo Beach on the Mornington Peninsula, enjoying occasional visits from his daughter and, at other times, his new lover.

It’s the perfect opportunity to do some follow-up with all those who were around when his mother went missing, twenty years earlier, and maybe track down her lodger who had a watertight alibi, but disappeared soon after. Finding that man, in the hope he might have some vitally relevant information, has consumed Charlie for all the intervening time, and cost him his marriage.

Rose Deravin’s car was found crashed, abandoned, personal belongings strewn on the road, blood on the car keys, in late January 2000. Her body has not been found. Many people, including Charlie’s older brother, Liam, believed that her soon-to-be ex-husband, Senior Sergeant Rhys Deravin, was responsible: Rhys had no alibi, claiming to be investigating a security van hold-up on his own.

On the same day, nine-year-old Billy Saul went missing from the nearby beach. His body has also not been found. Now, a pair of podcasters is in the area, asking questions, flashing photos and making everyone uneasy. Charlie’s conversations with the people tracks down reveal just what a scrappy job the police made of the initial investigation and later cold case enquiries.

And then, the excavation of the block near Rose Deravin’s house turns up the skeletal remains of two bodies.

Disher gives the reader a tightly plotted tale with red herrings, misdirections and surprises in the lead up to the exciting climax, enough to keep even the most astute reader guessing right up to the final reveal. His protagonist proves to be a man of integrity despite the mistakes he admits to: a character who is easy to cheer on. The support cast are wholly credible, the people we meet in everyday life. The dogwalker in the final scene deserves an honourable mention for quick thinking.

Disher faultlessly conveys his era and setting: his depiction of the coastal Australian town will resonate with any reader who has visited one, and his inclusion of national and world events of the time, devastating bushfires, footballers considering themselves above the law, and the emergence of a certain virus, is realistically done. Another piece of superlative Aussie crime fiction from a master of the genre.
This unbiased review is from an uncorrected proof copy provided by NetGalley and Text Publishing.

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