Review Blog

Oct 23 2020

The Night Whistler by Greg Woodland

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Text Publishing, 2020. ISBN: 9781922330093.
(Age: Senior secondary/adult) Highly recommended. Mick Goodenough has been sent to the country town of Moorabool quite a come down from his former role as a detective in the city. Probationary Constable Goodenough is now the lowest on the pecking order, but it takes him no time to notice the station is badly run.
One of his dogs, a German Shepherd is found dead. A boy Hal, new to the town, finds the body which has been tortured and its throat cut. Hal later discovers the site has an unpleasant history. It was the scene of a terrible family murder/suicide with only one surviver.
Mick Goodenough would like some investigation into the killing of his dog but his sergeant shows no desire to waste police resources on the animal. But with some digging Mick finds there is quite a history of missing pets turning up maimed and killed, but no record of any investigation.
Hal's father, John Humphries is newly employed by a local food processing company and with his mother and younger brother have just settled into life in a country town. A life Hal's mother is none too keen on. After the company family Christmas party the nuisance phone calls begin. They always begin with whistling and become more personal toward Corrie Humphries.
Mick has become worried. The pet mutilations and now the phone calls indicate an escalation by the perpetrator. He fears the next victim may well be human.
Greg Woodland's murder mystery is set during the mid 1960s, when the pace of life is slower and the New South Wales police is well known for corruption. The atmosphere is very Australian: country town, summer, racial tension and a belief by white locals that there was no safer place to live.
The story is told  by Hal and Mick Goodenough, both adding their unique perspectives as new comers to a situation that becomes increasingly desperate. Woodland's first novel is one which hooks the reader because of a chemistry by which he has the reader sympathising with the two main characters.
Themes: Crime, Corruption, NSW, Police, Pets, Stalking.
Mark Knight

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