cover image The Night Whistler

The Night Whistler

Greg Woodland. Text, $15.95 trade paper (400p) ISBN 978-1-922330-09-3

In 1966, 12-year-old Hal Humphries, the protagonist of Woodland’s haunting debut, moves with his parents and eight-year-old brother, Evan, from Sydney, Australia, to rural Moorabool. Soon after their arrival, Hal and Evan stumble upon a dead dog on the outskirts of the small town. The animal, which has been tortured and murdered, turns out to have belonged to Constable Mick Goodenough, another recent transplant to Moorabool who’s on probation after being demoted from detective. Later, while Hal’s father is away on a business trip, his mother receives a series of harassing phone calls from a man who whistles in an unnerving way. When the Humphries get little support from the police other than Goodenough, Hal decides to investigate on his own. The process unearths dark secrets within the tight-knit community as Hal faces betrayal by those he loves most. This enigmatic novel will disturb animal lovers, but its eerie atmospherics will enthrall others. Fans of Outback noir will want to check it out. (May)