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Under the Cold Bright Lights

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The young detectives call Alan Auhl a retread, but that doesn’t faze him. He does things his own way—and gets results. He still lives with his ex-wife, off and on, in a big house full of random boarders and hard-luck stories. And he’s still a cop, even though he retired from Homicide some years ago. He works cold cases now. Like the death of John Elphick—his daughters still The young detectives call Alan Auhl a retread, but that doesn’t faze him. He does things his own way—and gets results. He still lives with his ex-wife, off and on, in a big house full of random boarders and hard-luck stories. And he’s still a cop, even though he retired from Homicide some years ago. He works cold cases now. Like the death of John Elphick—his daughters still convinced he was murdered, the coroner not so sure. Or the skeleton that’s just been found under a concrete slab. Or the doctor who killed two wives and a girlfriend, and left no evidence at all. Auhl will stick with these cases until justice is done. One way or another.


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The young detectives call Alan Auhl a retread, but that doesn’t faze him. He does things his own way—and gets results. He still lives with his ex-wife, off and on, in a big house full of random boarders and hard-luck stories. And he’s still a cop, even though he retired from Homicide some years ago. He works cold cases now. Like the death of John Elphick—his daughters still The young detectives call Alan Auhl a retread, but that doesn’t faze him. He does things his own way—and gets results. He still lives with his ex-wife, off and on, in a big house full of random boarders and hard-luck stories. And he’s still a cop, even though he retired from Homicide some years ago. He works cold cases now. Like the death of John Elphick—his daughters still convinced he was murdered, the coroner not so sure. Or the skeleton that’s just been found under a concrete slab. Or the doctor who killed two wives and a girlfriend, and left no evidence at all. Auhl will stick with these cases until justice is done. One way or another.

30 review for Under the Cold Bright Lights

  1. 4 out of 5

    Phrynne

    I only recently started reading books by this Australian author and I have read and really enjoyed three to date. Under the Cold Bright Lights is a stand alone so far but it has plenty of potential to be the start of a good series. The main character is Alan Auhl, a cop who took early retirement due to disillusionment with the police force, but who has returned to duty in the Cold Case department. He is very likable with a laid back character and a sense of humour. He has a rather erratic home s I only recently started reading books by this Australian author and I have read and really enjoyed three to date. Under the Cold Bright Lights is a stand alone so far but it has plenty of potential to be the start of a good series. The main character is Alan Auhl, a cop who took early retirement due to disillusionment with the police force, but who has returned to duty in the Cold Case department. He is very likable with a laid back character and a sense of humour. He has a rather erratic home style but seems basically happy with life. Under the Cold Bright Lights contains a lot of every day police work and gives a good feel for what a cop's daily life must be like. Auhl is involved in a number of cases and solves them all, although a couple of them he deals with personally in a way I hope real police do not practice! Highly recommended if you like police procedurals and I will be continuing my exploration of this author's books.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Brenda

    When the snake-catcher determined the concrete slab above the nest it had made itself needed to be broken up to locate the snake, none of the onlookers expected anything other than a snake – but the skeleton in tattered clothing was a shock to all. Ex-homicide and now acting Sergeant Alan Auhl had been called in from retirement to run the cold-case section; he was subsequently called to the site of the skeleton. Establishing the crime had occurred around five years prior, Alan set to work with h When the snake-catcher determined the concrete slab above the nest it had made itself needed to be broken up to locate the snake, none of the onlookers expected anything other than a snake – but the skeleton in tattered clothing was a shock to all. Ex-homicide and now acting Sergeant Alan Auhl had been called in from retirement to run the cold-case section; he was subsequently called to the site of the skeleton. Establishing the crime had occurred around five years prior, Alan set to work with his offsider Claire Pascal as they dug into the circumstances. In the meantime, the death of John Elphick, years prior and which had been deemed an accident, was being kept in Alan’s thoughts by the victim’s daughters who were positive their father had been murdered. But it was the well-known doctor whose wives continued to die, seemingly of “natural causes” which had Alan engrossed. Alan was determined to find the answers to the multitude of questions he had. Alan’s large house was an open-door affair – housing his daughter he also had boarders who needed various types of help. But it was little Pia and her mother Neve who touched his heartstrings the most. Would Alan be able to solve the cold cases he was currently wading through? And would he be able to help Pia? Under the Cold Bright Lights is another excellent crime/mystery novel by Aussie author Garry Disher. I thoroughly enjoy this author’s work – the intrigue, the plot twists and mystery, the pace – all designed to keep the reader engrossed from start to finish. I was also fascinated by the reason for the title, shown early in the piece! I have no hesitation in highly recommending Under the Cold Bright Lights, and hope this is the beginning of a new series starring Alan Auhl... With thanks to Text Publishing for my ARC to read and review.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Carolyn

    Alan Auhl was a homicide detective who took early retirement but has now returned to the police force to work on cold cases. He has an unusual household composed of his student daughter, occasionally his ex wife, several tenants and usually someone in need of a safe place while they sort out their lives. Currently this tenant in need is Neve, an abused wife and her young daughter, Pia . Auhl’s current cold cases include a skeleton found under a concrete slab, a farmer found dead some years ago ne Alan Auhl was a homicide detective who took early retirement but has now returned to the police force to work on cold cases. He has an unusual household composed of his student daughter, occasionally his ex wife, several tenants and usually someone in need of a safe place while they sort out their lives. Currently this tenant in need is Neve, an abused wife and her young daughter, Pia . Auhl’s current cold cases include a skeleton found under a concrete slab, a farmer found dead some years ago next to his ute and a doctor who lost two wives in sudden death and is now accusing his third wife of plotting to murder him. Somehow he manages to juggle these cases while trying to help Neve fight her custody battles for Pia in court with her overbearing husband and his lawyers. This is the first book I have read by Gary Disher, although I have had some of his books on my reading list for some time. I enjoyed his easy style and very Australian settings, both in the countryside and the suburbs of Melbourne. The plot had enough twists and unexpected revelations to keep it interesting and there were some surprise moments when Auhl resolved some matters in a way I would not have expected.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Melki

    Meet Alan Auhl. Once a homicide detective, he was retired, but is now back on the force working for the Cold Case squad. He's also not afraid to occasionally cross the line into criminal territory to see that justice is served. Between Auhl's several cases, and his complicated personal life, there's a lot going on in this book, but all the storylines are compelling and well-plotted. This is only the second book I've read by Disher, but he's fast becoming a favorite author. I hope he decides to t Meet Alan Auhl. Once a homicide detective, he was retired, but is now back on the force working for the Cold Case squad. He's also not afraid to occasionally cross the line into criminal territory to see that justice is served. Between Auhl's several cases, and his complicated personal life, there's a lot going on in this book, but all the storylines are compelling and well-plotted. This is only the second book I've read by Disher, but he's fast becoming a favorite author. I hope he decides to turn Auhl's adventures into a series.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Text Publishing

    ‘There are many twists to a tale that opens with one of those closely observed vignettes of outer suburban life that Disher does so well…It’s a riveting opening scene, setting in motion just one of the cases with which the amiable Auhl will deal in the most cathartic of ways.’ Age ‘Peter Temple and Garry Disher will be identified as the crime writers who redefined Australian crime fiction in terms of its form, content and style.’ Age ‘Disher’s terse, spare prose never falters.’ Weekend Press ‘Garry D ‘There are many twists to a tale that opens with one of those closely observed vignettes of outer suburban life that Disher does so well…It’s a riveting opening scene, setting in motion just one of the cases with which the amiable Auhl will deal in the most cathartic of ways.’ Age ‘Peter Temple and Garry Disher will be identified as the crime writers who redefined Australian crime fiction in terms of its form, content and style.’ Age ‘Disher’s terse, spare prose never falters.’ Weekend Press ‘Garry Disher has been giving us highly intelligent literary thrillers for decades and he gets better and better.’ Australian ‘Garry Disher deserves his reputation as one of Australia’s finest crime writers.’ Stuff NZ ‘Disher is a world-class crime novelist.’ Canberra Weekly ‘[Disher’s] writing is subtle, terse and relentless…understated but astoundingly vivid.’ Weekend Herald ‘A top-class writer.’ The Times ‘Well-crafted and leanly written, this tense novel grips from beginning to end.’ Canberra Weekly ‘The reader is taken on a breathtaking ride…[Disher’s] characters, vivid prose and settings are wonderful.’ ReadPlus ‘Victorian crime fiction king Garry Disher is a literary machine…Bring on the next case.’ Herald Sun ‘Disher is a master of concise writing, concise but not spare…A good solid page-turner.’ Otago Daily Times ‘One of the most engaging aspects of Disher’s writing is the way he evokes a sense of place, and Melbourne and its surrounds are just as much a part of the story as any of the characters. He is also a master of intrigue; his characters often walk a fine line between what is considered inside and outside the law—and Alan Auhl is no exception.’ Good Reading

  6. 4 out of 5

    Karl

    This is the US Hardcover of this book.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Jenny

    "Under the Cold Bright Lights" is about Sergeant Alan Auhl who came out of retirement to work in the Cold Case Division to find justice for the dead. Sergeant Alan Auhl caught a case of a body founded under a concrete slab, started to investigate entwined with his other two cases. The readers of Under the Cold Bright Lights will continue to follow the trust and turns in Sergeant Alan Auhl investigations and will be surprised with the conclusion of this book. Under The Cold Bright Lights is an en "Under the Cold Bright Lights" is about Sergeant Alan Auhl who came out of retirement to work in the Cold Case Division to find justice for the dead. Sergeant Alan Auhl caught a case of a body founded under a concrete slab, started to investigate entwined with his other two cases. The readers of Under the Cold Bright Lights will continue to follow the trust and turns in Sergeant Alan Auhl investigations and will be surprised with the conclusion of this book. Under The Cold Bright Lights is an enjoyable book to read. I love the way Garry Disher portrayed his characters. I like that Garry Disher describes Alan Auhl as a law enforcement officer who cares for the cold cases that come across his desk and go out of his way to find the answers and at times provide justice for the dead. I hope we see more of Alan Auhl. Garry Disher does a great job of entwining the different plots in the book, and all the stories have an underline theme of child abuse. Wow, a fantastic book to read. "Under the Cold Bright Lights" highlights that law enforcement does not forget a case that goes cold. The readers of Under the Cold Bright Lights will learn about the role and procedures of law enforcement cold case division. Also, readers of Under the Cold Bright Lights will discover that your age should not be a barrier to what you can achieve in life. I recommend this book.

  8. 5 out of 5

    RG

    3.5* A retired cop comes back to the force to work cold cases. Very interesting character and I hope Mr Disher writes more about him. My 1st Disher novel, the writing is great, sparse and tense and the multiple plot threads arent too much. Just wanted more and at a quicker price. Some interesting twists in the plot. I also love reading about other towns within Australia and this is no exception.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Marianne

    Under The Cold Bright Lights is a stand-alone crime novel by Australian author, Garry Disher. Five years retired, ex-homicide cop Alan Auhl is back on the job. But this time, he’s an Acting Sergeant in the Cold Case and Missing Persons Squad. At fifty-five, he’s the oldest member of the squad, attracting the nickname Retread, but he’s not really bothered by digs and insults from the younger cops. What does bother him is the unsolved case he caught the tail of, before he left the job: farmer John Under The Cold Bright Lights is a stand-alone crime novel by Australian author, Garry Disher. Five years retired, ex-homicide cop Alan Auhl is back on the job. But this time, he’s an Acting Sergeant in the Cold Case and Missing Persons Squad. At fifty-five, he’s the oldest member of the squad, attracting the nickname Retread, but he’s not really bothered by digs and insults from the younger cops. What does bother him is the unsolved case he caught the tail of, before he left the job: farmer John Elphick, found near his ute with fatal head injuries. Even in his retirement, John’s daughters rang him annually to see if there was any progress in the case. Now, he’s in exactly the right spot to follow it up. But before he gets a chance to do more than retrieve the old case files, his boss, Helen Colfax sends him out to Pearcedale, where a skeleton had been found under a concrete slab. A young male, murdered and concealed post 2008. Could he have been a tenant on the property? In between those investigations, Auhl’s attention is caught by the antics of a one Dr Alec Neill. This man, whose second wife died in somewhat suspicious circumstances when Auhl was still in Homicide, now claims his third wife poisoned the second wife as well as his current girlfriend, and fears for his own life. Auhl was unconvinced at the time that the first wife’s death was natural and believes Dr Neill is a serial killer. Auhl’s home scene can also be a little distracting: Chateau Auhl is a haven for waifs and strays, visiting professors, his own student daughter, his ex-wife (when she is in town), a cheated-on colleague and a battered wife seeking refuge for herself and her ten-year-old daughter. Auhl takes a supportive role with the latter pair who nervously accept his help. Is he getting too involved, though? Disher is a master of the Australian crime novel. His settings (inner city Melbourne, Geelong, country Victoria) are well conveyed, and his characters are easily believable. There’s plenty of fine detective work, as well as an abundance of dry wit and clever banter between the characters. All four story lines have credible plots, some of which feature twists and red herrings, and venture into the territory of fundamentalist religions, paedophiles and domestic abuse. Acting Sergeant Alan Auhl is difficult not to like, although his strong sense of justice and his resignation about the impotence of the legal system sometimes leads him to act beyond the its limits. Even though Disher’s website calls this a stand-alone crime novel, readers are bound to want more of Alan Auhl, so maybe he’ll be the start of a new series (fingers crossed). Excellent Aussie crime fiction.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Eric

    Under The Cold Bright Lights by Garry Disher is a standalone novel featuring Alan Auhl as a homicide detective in Australia. Auhl, once retired, has been allowed to come back to work as a homicide detective in a small unit that focuses on cold case homicides and suspicious deaths. While younger detectives in the unit feel it is their daily routine to harang Auhl over his age, it is clear Auhl is set in his ways and quite tirelessly productive. In the novel, Auhl's home life is as entertaining as Under The Cold Bright Lights by Garry Disher is a standalone novel featuring Alan Auhl as a homicide detective in Australia. Auhl, once retired, has been allowed to come back to work as a homicide detective in a small unit that focuses on cold case homicides and suspicious deaths. While younger detectives in the unit feel it is their daily routine to harang Auhl over his age, it is clear Auhl is set in his ways and quite tirelessly productive. In the novel, Auhl's home life is as entertaining as his work life. Auhl inherited a large residential building from his parents and allows an assortment of people to rent rooms in his home, with occasional stay overs with his separated wife. Auhl is similar to a friendly version of Ove from Fredrik Backman's novel A Man Called Ove. Under the Cold Bright Lights is an entertaining police procedural with well-plotted cold cases for Auhl and his cohorts to solve. Under The Cold Bright Lights is highly recommended to those that enjoy police procedurals with well-developed characters and believable plots that don't hinge on shoot outs, car chases, and cases solved at that minute.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Calzean

    Not sure this was as good as Disher's other books but there is promise in his new creation of Sgt Alan Auhl a retired homicide cop who is re-hired to work in the cold case unit. There are three cases covered plus a personnel storyline about a housemate of Auhl who is having a messy child custody stoush with her ex-husband. The cold cases are a bit ho-hum. The difference in this police procedural novel is that Auhl finds himself becoming an avenging angel. Not sure this was as good as Disher's other books but there is promise in his new creation of Sgt Alan Auhl a retired homicide cop who is re-hired to work in the cold case unit. There are three cases covered plus a personnel storyline about a housemate of Auhl who is having a messy child custody stoush with her ex-husband. The cold cases are a bit ho-hum. The difference in this police procedural novel is that Auhl finds himself becoming an avenging angel.

  12. 5 out of 5

    LJ

    First Sentence: On a mild October morning near Pearcedale, southeast of Melbourne, a snake slid over the edge of a veranda on a shortcut to somewhere. Alan Auhl lives in a huge house with his daughter Bec, various random borders, those in need of a safe place, and, on occasion, his ex-wife with benefits, and a young wife named Neve who has left her husband bringing her daughter Pia with her. Although Auhl retired after 10 years in homicide, he is now back on the force working cold cases. John E First Sentence: On a mild October morning near Pearcedale, southeast of Melbourne, a snake slid over the edge of a veranda on a shortcut to somewhere. Alan Auhl lives in a huge house with his daughter Bec, various random borders, those in need of a safe place, and, on occasion, his ex-wife with benefits, and a young wife named Neve who has left her husband bringing her daughter Pia with her. Although Auhl retired after 10 years in homicide, he is now back on the force working cold cases. John Elphick's death looked to be an accident but his daughters are certain it was murder and are determined to have Alan prove them correct. A snake which disappears under a concrete slab prompts the young couple living on the property to have the slab removed. The snake is found, but so is a skeleton. Although there's no evidence, a doctor is suspected of having killed two wives and a girlfriend; his current girlfriend worries she may be next. It's a juggling act, but Auhl's goal is to achieve justice. Disher has created a nice balance between Auhl's professional and personal life. It creates a very good sense of realism, as does the fact that he works several cases at the same time. His relationship with his boss, Sr. Sergeant Helen Colfax—"A wise boss is a revered boss."--and with his frequent partner Clare Pascal, works nicely. But it's Auhl who is the real draw; learning about how he came to own the house, his attitude toward it and the people who take up residence, are nicely done and are reflected in his work. He is one who takes care of others, although his relationship with his ex- is complicated and rather sad. The individual cases are interesting and varied. Each is handled in separate ways using various methods of police work. A very unexpected resolution to a couple of cases come as a real surprise. "Under the Cold Brights Lights" is an excellent blend of characters, police work, suspense, and bits of humor. Disher is an author whose work is always a treat to read. UNDER THE COLD BRIGHT LIGHTS (PolProc-Alan Auhl-Australia-Contemp) – VG+ Disher, Gary – Standalone SOHO Crime – July 2019

  13. 5 out of 5

    Alex Cantone

    One of the latest books by prolific Australian author Garry Disher, Under The Cold Bright Lights introduces 55-year old Alan Auhl, a former homicide detective in the Victorian police who after a few years in retirement is back on the job in the “Cold Case Unit”, shrugging off the taunts of younger officers calling him “retread” with sharp one-liners. The caseload is busy: the unsolved bashing of a farmer found with head injuries near his ute on a property five years earlier; now the discovery of One of the latest books by prolific Australian author Garry Disher, Under The Cold Bright Lights introduces 55-year old Alan Auhl, a former homicide detective in the Victorian police who after a few years in retirement is back on the job in the “Cold Case Unit”, shrugging off the taunts of younger officers calling him “retread” with sharp one-liners. The caseload is busy: the unsolved bashing of a farmer found with head injuries near his ute on a property five years earlier; now the discovery of the remains of a young male, killed by a handgun then buried beneath a concrete slab near to a newly-built house in rural Pearcedale; and a former suspect of Auhl’s, a philandering surgeon, who tries to convince police that his third wife was responsible for the deaths of his recent girlfriend and his second wife and is out to kill him. Auhl’s domestic scene is far from restful. He lives in a rambling house he inherited from his parents in the inner city Melbourne suburb of Carlton, which he shares with his student daughter Bec, renting rooms to other students, and those in need of short-term emergency shelter, in this case a mother with her 10 year old daughter, engaged in a custody battle against her powerful husband. Plus Cynthia the cat and his estranged wife, Liz turns up every now and again to share his bed. “Under the cold bright lights” refers to the autopsy of the young male victim opening the connection to the murder of a young woman Rose Peart some years earlier. Auhl also leans on the pathologist to discuss possible scenarios in the case of the murdered farmer. Like many of the main characters in Disher’s books, Auhl is laconic, fair-minded and a touch cynical of bureaucracy and cronyism among the medical and legal professions, extending into the upper echelon of the police and armed services, and takes matters into his own hands to see justice done. He touches upon the recent Royal Commission into the Institutional Sexual Abuse of Children and domestic violence, ending with Donald Trump gaining the presidency and the dust cloud erupting on Mount Raung stranding tourists in Bali. Perhaps not as electrifying as “Bitter Wash Road”, but a very good read. Recommended.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Patricia

    5 stars and a crackerjack of a book! Alan Auhl returns to the police department working cold cases after he had previously retired. Three cases have new evidence leading the detectives to re-investigate past and present clues. Meanwhile, on the home front, Alan Auhl has a unique living arrangement. He is married but he and his wife lead separate lives with Liz stopping by the house when she is in town. Auhl' s inherited old mansion also provides a resting place for those in need of a spot, adding 5 stars and a crackerjack of a book! Alan Auhl returns to the police department working cold cases after he had previously retired. Three cases have new evidence leading the detectives to re-investigate past and present clues. Meanwhile, on the home front, Alan Auhl has a unique living arrangement. He is married but he and his wife lead separate lives with Liz stopping by the house when she is in town. Auhl' s inherited old mansion also provides a resting place for those in need of a spot, adding to the cast of characters. Loved this unique story and hope there will be more.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Lesa

    If you haven't yet discovered Australian author Garry Disher, now's your chance. The winner of the Ned Kelly Lifetime Achievement Award has a new standalone crime novel, Under the Cold Bright Lights. Once you read it, you'll understand why he deserves the awards he's won. Acting Sergeant Alan Auhl is back working for the police department after a five-year absence. He retired from the Homicide Squad at fifty, suffering from burn out. However, he was invited back to work on the Cold Case Unit. A f If you haven't yet discovered Australian author Garry Disher, now's your chance. The winner of the Ned Kelly Lifetime Achievement Award has a new standalone crime novel, Under the Cold Bright Lights. Once you read it, you'll understand why he deserves the awards he's won. Acting Sergeant Alan Auhl is back working for the police department after a five-year absence. He retired from the Homicide Squad at fifty, suffering from burn out. However, he was invited back to work on the Cold Case Unit. A few of the youngsters resent and ridicule him, calling him Retread, but he ignores them. He understands that he's blocking someone's upward mobility. But, the police department can use his skills. There have been 280 unsolved murders in Victoria since the 1950s, and 1000 missing person cases. Many of those were undoubtedly murders as well. Auhl remembers some of the active cases that are now cold ones, such as the death of John Elphick. Every October, the Elphick sisters call on the anniversary of their father's death. They're sure Elphick was murdered. And, Auhl pours over the case because he's "obsessive, in a good way. He'd agonized that he missed something." He's the perfect cop for cold cases. When a family man, a snake handler and a contractor find a skeleton under a slab, that case is referred to the Cold Case Unit. The skeleton is too old for Homicide. But, it's a complex case that will take time as the team digs through old property records and contacts former tenants. Even Auhl's boss refers to that case as "Slab Man". Auhl will never forget "Blackbeard", the doctor. He's still convinced the man murdered his first two wives to marry his girlfriend. Now, the doctor himself is complaining that his latest wife is trying to kill him, and that she killed his current girlfriend. One of the strengths of Disher's writing is the way he combines the public life and work of the police with their private lives. Auhl is the owner of a large sprawling house, a dwelling for waifs and misfits. He takes in strays, women and children who left abusive men, international students, even a colleague. His college-age daughter lives there, and his ex-wife comes and goes from the second floor. Disher once said he wants the readers to feel a sense of community, and he builds that through the personal lives of his characters. And, Auhl's personal life, his obsessive interest in cases and people, will surprise the reader. He's not just a fifty-five-year-old man back on the police force. At the moment, Under the Cold Bright Lights is a standalone. It's a shame. I would love to see Alan Auhl return in a future book.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Deborah Ideiosepius

    This was a surprisingly excellent crime fiction! 'Surprising' only because I had never heard of it or of the author and got this book on impulse. Alan Auhl is an older policeman hailing from Melbourne, he retired but as his marriage dissolved was re-recruited back from retirement to work in the cold case unit. We start the story with a young couple in rural Victoria who find there is a snake nesting under an old slab of concrete on their property, they dig up the slab to get at the snake but fin This was a surprisingly excellent crime fiction! 'Surprising' only because I had never heard of it or of the author and got this book on impulse. Alan Auhl is an older policeman hailing from Melbourne, he retired but as his marriage dissolved was re-recruited back from retirement to work in the cold case unit. We start the story with a young couple in rural Victoria who find there is a snake nesting under an old slab of concrete on their property, they dig up the slab to get at the snake but find something very different... While 'Slab man' is the signature case of the book, it is far from the only one. Auhl has several cold cases , one still-quite-warm case and his relationship with his co workers to keep his attention. Another feature that gives a wealth of depth to the novel and to Alan Auhl himself is his home life, rather than any of the tried and true, ho-hum retired cop lives, Garry Disher has a fascinating elaborate home life for his leading man: Auhl has a house in inner city Melbourne which is almost an adult version of a share house, with ex-wife still having a room and a multiple cast of characters giving depth and interest to Auhl as an individual, as well as contributing their own stories to the plot. This brings me to the cast of characters, I feel that Disher has some serious talent going for him in how he brings multiple characters to life. Where some books will rely on one to three characters and limited conversation, Under The Cold Bright Lights has hosts of well written, well described characters. Some are lightly sketched and appear only briefly, some last through the book, the attention given to bringing them to life varies, but I was seriously impressed by the character details. Similarly, he has quite a nice hand as describing places. This novel is very Australian without bludgeoning you over the head with it; no outre Aussie slang here, but rather a definite feel for describing Australian places and people. The cold cases were fun, easy reading and enjoyable - it is not a genera I read that much of, so it was good to have as enjoyable a story when I do finally pick on up. I don't normally do trigger warnings (though I believe they are a thing these days), but I will put one in here. One case is of a woman who has left an abusive man, she is struggling to cope he is a well off type and has determined to get to her through the child. The courts give him every opportunity to do so while stonewalling every attempt the woman makes to protect herself and her daughter. Ahul tries to offer some help, but the matter remains largely unresolved. I felt practically nauseous while reading this part. It is so true to life and I guess I had retained a hope that the courts in Victoria had more integrity than the Queensland ones. It seemed to me that this sub plot had some real world event or person that it was based on, but maybe that was just me. If you are in that astonishingly large group of people who have watched a woman try to escape and abusive relationship, then be handed back to her abuser by the 'family courts' or similar, gift wrapped for further abuse while she watches the court sanctioned brutalisation of her child - If you are one of us, you might struggle with parts of this story. Or you might feel vindicated, not sure. Aside from that small thing - which is kind of an inverse compliment rather than an actual criticism, this was a great book. I thoroughly enjoyed it and will look out for further writing by this author.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Annie

    Alan Auhl puzzled me. For most of Under the Cold Bright Lights, by Garry Disher, Auhl is a very good man. He shelters women and children escaping from abusive partners in his home. He works doggedly on cold cases in and around Victoria, Australia. He even has a good relationship with his ex-wife. Hell, this novel is bookended with Auhl going on down on women and worrying that he hadn’t shaved closely enough. But Auhl commits criminal acts in this crowded, busy book that still have me re-evaluati Alan Auhl puzzled me. For most of Under the Cold Bright Lights, by Garry Disher, Auhl is a very good man. He shelters women and children escaping from abusive partners in his home. He works doggedly on cold cases in and around Victoria, Australia. He even has a good relationship with his ex-wife. Hell, this novel is bookended with Auhl going on down on women and worrying that he hadn’t shaved closely enough. But Auhl commits criminal acts in this crowded, busy book that still have me re-evaluating just how “good” Auhl actually is. Can a detective turn vigilante and still be considered a good person? Read the rest of my review at A Bookish Type. I received a free copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley, for review consideration.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Loris

    I really enjoyed Bitter Wash Road and was looking forward to this new title. Didn't disappoint - I really enjoyed it and hope that Garry Disher might consider continuing with Alan's story as surely his home situation and cold cases alone provide ample opportunities for new crimes to solve ... I really enjoyed Bitter Wash Road and was looking forward to this new title. Didn't disappoint - I really enjoyed it and hope that Garry Disher might consider continuing with Alan's story as surely his home situation and cold cases alone provide ample opportunities for new crimes to solve ...

  19. 4 out of 5

    Shelleyrae at Book'd Out

    Under the Bright Cold Lights is a stand-alone novel from Australian author Garry Disher, who is best known for his three crime fiction series’, Inspector Challis; Wyatt; and Paul Hirschhausen. Five years after retirement, Acting Sergeant Alan Auhl has returned to the Victorian police force to work in the Cold Case and Missing Person Unit, where his experience, which includes a decade in homicide, fails to impress his younger colleagues who refer to him as ‘Retread’. The latest case to cross Aulh’s Under the Bright Cold Lights is a stand-alone novel from Australian author Garry Disher, who is best known for his three crime fiction series’, Inspector Challis; Wyatt; and Paul Hirschhausen. Five years after retirement, Acting Sergeant Alan Auhl has returned to the Victorian police force to work in the Cold Case and Missing Person Unit, where his experience, which includes a decade in homicide, fails to impress his younger colleagues who refer to him as ‘Retread’. The latest case to cross Aulh’s desk concerns the discovery of a skeleton underneath a concrete pad on a rural property. The bones are that of a young man, who was shot in the chest, and buried under the concrete around five years previously. As Aulh, teamed with Detective Constable Claire Pascal, works to identify the ‘The Slab Man’ and whomever is responsible for his murder, he continues to reinvestigate the death of John Elphick at the behest of his daughters who believe he was murdered, is drawn into developments regarding a case he handled during his time in homicide, all while supporting a tenant/friend who is engaged in a contentious custody battle with her abusive husband. Under the Cold Bright Lights is largely a police procedural, providing some insight into the way in which the police investigate cold cases. Auhl and his colleagues follow the slimmest of leads- a numberplate scrawled in a notebook, old rental agreements, and hotline tips, among others. There isn’t a lot of action in the novel, but the investigations are interesting, and cover a fair bit of ground. I liked Auhl, who is an old-school type of cop, willing to put in the work to solve his cases. He isn’t bothered by the ribbing he receives from his younger colleagues, and he isn’t interested in office politics. It’s clear Alan has a big heart, evidenced by the ‘waif and strays’ he takes in at ‘Chateau Auhl’. It’s also evident early on that he is somewhat disillusioned with the justice system, and is prepared to exact his own when the system fails. The writing is understated yet engaging, and I enjoyed Disher’s dry wit. I thought the story was well paced, and found it to be an easy read. The settings are evocative of the city, suburbs, and regional areas of Victoria, as are the minor characters. Under the Cold Bright Lights is a well-crafted, absorbing mystery with strong characterisation, and a distinct Australian setting.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Irene Sauman

    I wasn't sure what to expect as I hadn't read this Australian author before. The main character, Alan Auhl, is a detective, retired, but called back to work on cold cases. I loved the setting of his home - a three-storey house inherited from his family and which is home to many and varied tenants, including his daughter and occasionally, his ex-wife, and a room or two available for whoever needs a home for the moment. You feel you wouldn't mind living there. It seemed as if the story would be sim I wasn't sure what to expect as I hadn't read this Australian author before. The main character, Alan Auhl, is a detective, retired, but called back to work on cold cases. I loved the setting of his home - a three-storey house inherited from his family and which is home to many and varied tenants, including his daughter and occasionally, his ex-wife, and a room or two available for whoever needs a home for the moment. You feel you wouldn't mind living there. It seemed as if the story would be simply about the cases he was involved in, tracking down the perpetrators - and he does do that with the help of his fellow officers - but Alan Auhl turns out not to be an ordinary policeman. The first time I encountered this difference I was a bit disappointed, thinking the author hadn't done a very good job of setting up why his main character had gone out that night. But then it happened again, also without letting the reader know what was coming up. Alan Auhl is not letting us in on his thought processes when it comes to these actions, almost as if he isn't letting himself think consciously about what he is doing, either. The other characters are all well drawn and interesting. An enjoyable, thought provoking read.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Kerrie

    A very welcome stand-alone from an Australian much-loved crime fiction writer - or is it the beginning of a new series? Alan Auhl, once a worn-out detective, has been re-employed by the Victoria Police to go through cold case files. This seems to be a world-wide phenomenon- the new tools such as DNA testing of old evidence, computerised case comparisons etc, now make it possible to solve some cases where physical evidence was collected and stored. Each police force has a hideous back log of unsol A very welcome stand-alone from an Australian much-loved crime fiction writer - or is it the beginning of a new series? Alan Auhl, once a worn-out detective, has been re-employed by the Victoria Police to go through cold case files. This seems to be a world-wide phenomenon- the new tools such as DNA testing of old evidence, computerised case comparisons etc, now make it possible to solve some cases where physical evidence was collected and stored. Each police force has a hideous back log of unsolved cold cases, and presumably all have a small team of detectives working through them to see if modern techniques can be used. Alan Auhl brings years of experience to the job. Every now and then some of his old interview techniques, not really acceptable by modern standards, surface, and occasionally it seems that suspects are just busting to get a confession off their chest. So Auhl is busy on a number of cases simultaneously, In addition the author builds up an interesting picture of his personal life.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Rhi G

    I won this book in a goodreads giveaway in exchange for an honest review :) I was hooked immediately, I liked the grittiness. For some reason I pictured Alan as William Baldwin! lol I found the characters pretty likable, I didn't like the ageism but once he builds a friendly rapport with Pascal and his boss(spacing on her name) it lessens. It was interesting getting to see the process of investigating, I liked how it was realistic, unlike tv shows regarding how long it takes to run dna tests. I re I won this book in a goodreads giveaway in exchange for an honest review :) I was hooked immediately, I liked the grittiness. For some reason I pictured Alan as William Baldwin! lol I found the characters pretty likable, I didn't like the ageism but once he builds a friendly rapport with Pascal and his boss(spacing on her name) it lessens. It was interesting getting to see the process of investigating, I liked how it was realistic, unlike tv shows regarding how long it takes to run dna tests. I read a lot of mysteries and thrillers but this is my first time reading about cold cases. I also liked that it wasn't one case after the other, but three simultaneous cases. I really wish this wasn't a stand alone, I would love a whole series following Alan, especially with that house of his, housing different people. I didn't want it to end!! *Spoiler* I was shocked at what Alan did!! Totally caught me off guard, I love the unpredictability(Neill). The ending was crazy, at first I had no idea what he was going to do. I also got annoyed towards Neve, but I need to be mindful of her mental health, I just wish she wasn't so impulsive especially after Alan gets her a freaking lawyer! hah So much face palming during her trial. I would like more Pia in the future if there were to be more books, but honestly I was kind of over Neve's character when she trashed his car.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Suzie

    Always enjoy Garry Disher's crime novels. I like this new detective character and hope there's a plan for more stories involving him and the Cold Case unit Always enjoy Garry Disher's crime novels. I like this new detective character and hope there's a plan for more stories involving him and the Cold Case unit

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jacki (Julia Flyte)

    Alan Auhl is a Melbourne detective who has come back to the policeforce after retirement. He has been assigned to the Cold Cases team and most of his colleagues regard him as a fossil. He approaches his cases with a dogged determination to find the guilty parties and to see justice done to those who deserve it. I loved the characters in this book: rounded and nuanced and real. I also enjoyed the Australian setting which is very much part of the story (the book begins with the hunt for a copperhea Alan Auhl is a Melbourne detective who has come back to the policeforce after retirement. He has been assigned to the Cold Cases team and most of his colleagues regard him as a fossil. He approaches his cases with a dogged determination to find the guilty parties and to see justice done to those who deserve it. I loved the characters in this book: rounded and nuanced and real. I also enjoyed the Australian setting which is very much part of the story (the book begins with the hunt for a copperhead snake leading to the discovery of a body). And I liked the way that the story has multiple strands: it doesn't just focus on one case but on three as well as a couple of sub-plots. I would like to see another book about Auhl, particularly given the way the ending (whilst not a cliffhanger) has you wondering what would happen next.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Janet

    A solid and entertaining Australian police procedural focused on a cold case squad in Melbourne. There's a lot going on in this 300 page book, which makes the pace very fast and the pages fly by. There's also a LOT going on, making it kind of hard to get fully engaged with each of the plot threads. It was fun to read this and I enjoyed it, but I wasn't particularly emotionally invested in any of the characters or the mysteries. A solid and entertaining Australian police procedural focused on a cold case squad in Melbourne. There's a lot going on in this 300 page book, which makes the pace very fast and the pages fly by. There's also a LOT going on, making it kind of hard to get fully engaged with each of the plot threads. It was fun to read this and I enjoyed it, but I wasn't particularly emotionally invested in any of the characters or the mysteries.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Mysticpt

    4 + Stars! I hope he continues this as a series, I want more

  27. 4 out of 5

    Karen

    Cold-case detectives are everywhere these days, but the latest creation from Garry Disher, Alan Auhl, is not as straightforward as some might expect. Full review at Newtown Review of Books Cold-case detectives are everywhere these days, but the latest creation from Garry Disher, Alan Auhl, is not as straightforward as some might expect. Full review at Newtown Review of Books

  28. 4 out of 5

    Linda

    I welcome Gary Disher to my Aussie authors list. Our protagonist Alan Auhl is working cold cases. He's a good guy, and really has a soft spot for the underdog, especially women and children. There were a few different cases going on here, and it was always interesting. The ending really made me sit up and take notice. I'll read more! I welcome Gary Disher to my Aussie authors list. Our protagonist Alan Auhl is working cold cases. He's a good guy, and really has a soft spot for the underdog, especially women and children. There were a few different cases going on here, and it was always interesting. The ending really made me sit up and take notice. I'll read more!

  29. 5 out of 5

    Pat

    I raced through this - several complex mysteries, a Family Court case and an unforgettable main character in Alan Auhl.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Hazel Edwards

    Extremely interesting moral dilemma, well solved and plotted. Really enjoyed the local references to familiar locations. Keenly observed characters. Garry Disher is a fine writer.

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