The Dragon Man
"He came upon her about halfway along the highway. A solitary street light cast a cone of dirty yellow over the telephone box and the young woman inside it. He slowed to a walking pace. She was the loneliest figure at the loneliest spot on the earth. World's end. Amen. He accelerated away. He turned around at the next intersection. Came back...
"It's December, and the police of the sleepy Pensinsula towns are preparing for the general summer madness - beach houses broken into; New Year's Eve celebrations; joyriding kids...
"But this time there's a killer at work on the Old Pensinsula Highway. And someone's torching houses and cars.
"For Detective Inspector Hal Challis dealing with the demands of the media, expedient colleagues, a troubled past and his beloved Dragon Rapide means that the Pensinsula, his port in a storm, will never be the same again.
"The Dragon Man introduces a compelling new crime series from the author of the intenationally acclaimed Wyatt thrillers."
"Unquestioningly his masterpiece. An astonishingly told caper that's tough, tender and poignant and totally captivating" - The Age
Sometimes it felt as if he were prowling the roof of heaven, riding high through the night, the stars close above him, nobody about, the teeming masses with their petty concerns tucked safely into their beds. He was as restless as a fox. He seemed to have a channel through life at times like this, a path through the broad darkness that was the Old Peninsula Highway, nothing and nobody to beset him. Down he went, the whole length of the slumbering hook of land, to where it reached the ocean, and then back again, to the far easterly tip of the city, where there were lights again, and the stench of humankind. and where he lived in a loveless house. He turned at a roundabout, headed on down toward the ocean again.
He came upon her about halfway along the highway. Other cars at night were almost an affront to him, but they were always gone in a flash, just a pair of headlamps, scarcely registering. This car had stopped, parked on the gravel fore- court of a roadside fruit and vegetable outlet, a massive barn-like shape in the night. He slowed to no more than a walking pace as he passed. The car looked forlorn, its bonnet up and steam rising from the radiator. A solitary bulb high on a nearby pole cast a weak cone of grey-yellow light over a telephone box and the young woman inside it. She was speaking urgently, gesturing, but seemed to freeze when she saw him passing, and stepped out to get a better look at him. he accelerated away. The image he had of her was of the loneliest figure at the loneliest spot on earth. World's end. Amen.
From the Allen & Unwin paperback edition, 1999.
This novel is number 1 in the Detective Inspector Hal Challis series.
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Last modified: November 17, 2006.