Gunshot Road

Adrian Hyland

Gunshot Road
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Gunshot Road

Adrian Hyland

Emily Tempest is small, black, as snaky as a taipan’s tooth and is the woman least likely ever to embark on a career in policing. But her old mate Superintendent Tom MacGillivray has persuaded her to sign on as the Aboriginal Community Police Officer for the outback (not to mention throwback) township of Bluebush. Then Tom is hospitalised and Emily finds herself working for a new bloke instead- an east-coast ring-in, a martinet called Cockburn. Being allergic both to authority and to keeping her big mouth shut, Emily is immediately at odds with the new boss. And the death at the Green Swamp Well Roadhouse only complicates things. Cockburn thinks it’s a simple case of two old drunks and a hammer. Emily’s not convinced. Adrian Hyland takes us to the outback - a place we think we know, and have mostly never seen. Introducing us to the people who belong there - a different people, as wise, foolish and fallible as the rest of us. And spinning for us a veil of wit and lyrical beauty through which we can see them truly.

Review

The laid-back elegance and low-key humour of Adrian Hyland’s prose is rarely found in crime fiction, and this is perhaps why the higher brow literary rags swooned over his first Emily Tempest novel Diamond Dove. This follow-up is likely to send the critics into similar paroxysms of delight. But while the mystery itself – a seemingly cut and dried drunken murder that of course is not that simple – is enough to keep the pages turning, the real drama is in the landscape itself. Hyland’s outback is a place of magic and hostility, a place that can feel claustrophobic even in some of the widest open space on earth. Tempest is a fantastic character, and her attempts to solve the riddle are well worth your time.

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