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The summer of 1966–7. Hal and his little brother have just come to live in Moorabool. They’re exploring the creek near their new home when they find the body of a dog.
Not just dead, but killed.
Not just killed, but horribly maimed.
Constable Mick Goodenough, recently demoted from his big-city job as a detective, is also new in town—and one of his dogs has gone missing. Like other pets around the town.
He knows what it means when someone tortures animals to death. They’re practising. So when Hal’s mother starts getting late-night phone calls—a man whistling, then hanging up—Goodenough, alone among the Moorabool cops, takes her seriously. But will that be enough to keep her and her young sons safe?
Nostalgic yet clear-eyed, simmering with small-town menace, Greg Woodland’s wildly impressive debut populates the rural Australia of the 1960s with memorable characters and almost unbearable tension.
‘Troubling undercurrents swirl in a seductively involving story of small-town secrets and obsessions.’
‘A haunting, tense and unforgettable debut.’
‘This coming-of-age crime tale balances its more gruesome turns with relatable human warmth.’
‘An impressive first outing, and one that we hope builds in a series.’
‘A tense, evocative trip into the past.’
‘The Night Whistler fits neatly in the growing body of Australian gothic noir. Screenwriter Woodland brings a reality to this small country town…This is an assured debut and is part of another strong year for new voices in Australian crime fiction.’
‘It is hard to believe that The Night Whistler is a debut novel. Greg Woodland’s experience in screenwriting shines from this text, from effortlessly evocative scene depiction to superb characterisation….I found [it] impossible to put down.’
‘A ripping thriller that ties you to the characters and gets you emotionally embedded. You’ll fly through it because you’ll have to.’
‘A good yarn…What it does particularly well is establish itself in a certain era where it is easy enough to imagine that rural policing did not involve a lot of sensitivity in its execution.’
‘Woodland’s writing is vivid, both his descriptions and his characters come alive. I could smell the heat, taste the dust, hear the voices. I knew, well before I reached the end of the first chapter, that I was onto a winner. The plot is enthralling…I was riveted by this story. Gritty and honest. And I want more.’
‘Slowly builds tension…and leads to an explosive conclusion… A fine debut, a mystery wrapped in nostalgia for an Australia now long gone.’
‘A well plotted and engaging debut.’