The Long Game by Simon Rowell [6/10]

Garry Disher is not the only mystery writer tackling the Mornington Peninsula, a bayside neck of land near Melbourne. Simon Rowell’s second puzzler, “The Long Game, ” starring Detective Sergeant Zoe Mayer, may not quite match the master’s peerless plotting and characterization, but it’s a rewarding, fast-paced read. The novel’s opener sees a surfer killed with a knife in his chest, and the case soon seems routine, but DS Mayer’s attentive digging soon unearths subtle oddities about the case. Before long, she (and her trusty dog) is on the trail of a devilishly clever opponent. The author’s prose is polished and well-controlled, and the varied locales of the beach are convincingly evoked. The climactic twist, although not telegraphed, might be guessable, but by the end of The Long Game, the tension has ratcheted up enough to provide a fitting ending in any case. Recommended.

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