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Under the Cold Bright Lights

4.01  ·  Rating details ·  882 ratings  ·  142 reviews
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
Paperback, 320 pages
Published October 30th 2017 by Text Publishing
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Average rating 4.01  · 
Rating details
 ·  882 ratings  ·  142 reviews

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Mar 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 5000-books
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
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
Mar 19, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 25, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Text Publishing
Jul 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
‘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.’

‘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.’

‘Disher’s terse, spare prose never falters.’
Weekend Press

‘Garry D
Jun 14, 2019 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
This is the US Hardcover of this book.
Mar 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: crime
"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
Dec 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
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.
Oct 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
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
Apr 22, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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.
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
Alex Cantone
Dec 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: crime, read-2018
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
Apr 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: bookdepository, 2018
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
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
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
Jun 09, 2019 rated it liked it
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 ...more
Nov 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
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 ...
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
Irene Sauman
Jan 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
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
Feb 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing

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
Rhi G
Jun 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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
Jan 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: crime, australian
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
Jacki (Julia Flyte)
Dec 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
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
Aug 07, 2019 rated it liked it
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.
Jul 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
4 + Stars! I hope he continues this as a series, I want more
Jan 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Dec 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019, aussie
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!
Nov 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I raced through this - several complex mysteries, a Family Court case and an unforgettable main character in Alan Auhl.
Hazel Edwards
Jul 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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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Garry Disher was born in 1949 and grew up on his parents' farm in South Australia.

He gained post graduate degrees from Adelaide and Melbourne Universities. In 1978 he was awarded a creative writing fellowship to Stanford University, where he wrote his first short story collection. He travelled widely overseas, before returning to Australia, where he taught creative writing, finally becoming a full

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“press charges. Meanwhile see what Angela Sullivan has to say for herself, find the house and have it forensically examined—that’s if it’s still standing.’ Arrests would mean fingerprints, thought Auhl. Then they could run those prints against the prints on the gun. ‘Boss.’ OUTSIDE SULLIVAN’S HOUSE Auhl stretched the kinks in his spine. Too much charging around the countryside in a car. He followed Claire to the front door, pressed the bell. Nothing. Pounded his fist. Nothing. ‘Let’s try around the back.’ The side path took them to a typical suburban yard: small garden beds, flowers, shrubs and a vegetable plot, all showing some semblance of design—rock borders painted white, a wooden garden seat artfully angled beneath a small gum tree, a wheelbarrow doubling as a flowerpot. Neat, but in an ongoing” 0 likes
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