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It’s 1966. Hal and his little brother, newly arrived in Moorabool with their parents, are exploring the creek near their new home when they find the body of a dog. Not just dead, but recently killed. Not just killed, but mutilated. Constable Mick Goodenough, recently demoted from his city job as a detective, is also new in town—and one of his dogs has gone missing. He’s exper It’s 1966. Hal and his little brother, newly arrived in Moorabool with their parents, are exploring the creek near their new home when they find the body of a dog. Not just dead, but recently killed. Not just killed, but mutilated. Constable Mick Goodenough, recently demoted from his city job as a detective, is also new in town—and one of his dogs has gone missing. He’s experienced enough to know what it means when someone tortures an animal to death: it means they’re practising. So when Hal’s mother starts getting anonymous calls—a man whistling, then hanging up—Goodenough, alone among the Moorabool cops, takes her seriously. The question is: will that be enough to keep her 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.


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It’s 1966. Hal and his little brother, newly arrived in Moorabool with their parents, are exploring the creek near their new home when they find the body of a dog. Not just dead, but recently killed. Not just killed, but mutilated. Constable Mick Goodenough, recently demoted from his city job as a detective, is also new in town—and one of his dogs has gone missing. He’s exper It’s 1966. Hal and his little brother, newly arrived in Moorabool with their parents, are exploring the creek near their new home when they find the body of a dog. Not just dead, but recently killed. Not just killed, but mutilated. Constable Mick Goodenough, recently demoted from his city job as a detective, is also new in town—and one of his dogs has gone missing. He’s experienced enough to know what it means when someone tortures an animal to death: it means they’re practising. So when Hal’s mother starts getting anonymous calls—a man whistling, then hanging up—Goodenough, alone among the Moorabool cops, takes her seriously. The question is: will that be enough to keep her 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.

30 review for The Night Whistler

  1. 5 out of 5

    Sandy *The world could end while I was reading and I would never notice*

    EXCERPT: He was standing atop a small rise staring at something when Evan staggered up beside him and gasped softly. A strange yellowish vehicle-cum-dwelling: they couldn't take their eyes off it. The depleted shell of a truck cabin at one end merged into a decrepit caravan at the other. It was like some bizarre caterpillar with extremities so different they might have belonged to separate species. The truck's bonnet lay on the ground, engine parts flung around it like a mad mechanic's toys. Wher EXCERPT: He was standing atop a small rise staring at something when Evan staggered up beside him and gasped softly. A strange yellowish vehicle-cum-dwelling: they couldn't take their eyes off it. The depleted shell of a truck cabin at one end merged into a decrepit caravan at the other. It was like some bizarre caterpillar with extremities so different they might have belonged to separate species. The truck's bonnet lay on the ground, engine parts flung around it like a mad mechanic's toys. Where once were wheels, tree stumps now propped the apparition up. Skew-whiff sheds and lean-tos lay scattered around it, rotting in the grass. The caravan was covered in peeling tan and yellow paint and above the door a faded sign declared 'Highway Palace'. It was a ruined palace though, with oval windows cracked or broken, glinting like jagged teeth, shreds of lace curtains behind them. There was nothing palatial or grand about it now, and probably never had been. But behind the curtains, mystery seemed to lurk in every corner. ABOUT THIS BOOK: It’s 1966. Hal and his little brother, newly arrived in Moorabool with their parents, are exploring the creek near their new home when they find the body of a dog. Not just dead, but recently killed. Not just killed, but mutilated. Constable Mick Goodenough, recently demoted from his city job as a detective, is also new in town—and one of his dogs has gone missing. He’s experienced enough to know what it means when someone tortures an animal to death: it means they’re practising. So when Hal’s mother starts getting anonymous calls—a man whistling, then hanging up—Goodenough, alone among the Moorabool cops, takes her seriously. The question is: will that be enough to keep her safe? MY THOUGHTS: Atmospheric. Very atmospheric. There is a palpable air of menace in this small rural town where most people are either hiding something, or watching ... and waiting. Set in the 1960's, there is blatant racism in this book that may upset some people. But that is just the way things were then. While we can't change the past, we can learn from it. There are multiple layers to this mystery - corrupt police, corrupt town councillors, extra-marital activity, missing and mutilated animals, mystery and murder. But Woodland has also captured the essence of the time, particularly the way kids were allowed to roam about unfettered, the only restriction that they 'be home in time for tea.' Parents weren't at all concerned about where the kids were, who they were playing with or what they were doing, as long as they stayed out of trouble and came home on time. Step out of line, and you'd get a whack around the ear or a slap around the legs for your trouble. People drank and drove. And smoked - everywhere. 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, and takes place in Aussie time. 'Don't worry mate, it'll get done, some time. Crack a stubby while you wait.' Mick Goodenough (pronounced Good-no, or as his boss likes to quip, no-good) has two strikes against him before he starts. 1. He's an indigenous Australian. 2. He's been demoted from the rank of Detective in Sydney and exiled to Moorabool as a probationary constable. The problem is that Mick still thinks like a detective. And his boss takes great delight in rubbing his nose in the fact that he isn't. Hal, twelve, has also only recently moved to Moorabool for his father's work. Summer holidays, so he hasn't really had a chance to meet anyone else his own age. Until Allie, an indigenous girl who takes him crawbobbing, and talks to him about the spirits trapped in the Highway Palace, the scene of a murder-suicide years earlier. Hal is more concerned about what happened to the one surviving child. Where did he go, and where is he now? And could it be him that is making the strange and threatening calls his mother is receiving? If not, then who? And why? I was riveted by this story. Gritty and honest. And I want more. I have lived in a small town in Australia, a little like this. Some of my happiest years were spent there. Woodland made me homesick. Dust, flies, spiders, snakes and all... ❤❤❤❤.8 #TheNightWhistler #NetGalley FOR THE ARMCHAIR TRAVELLER: I think that Moorabool is a fictional town in the New England region of New South Wales, Australia. New England or New England North West is the name given to a generally undefined region in the north of the state of New South Wales, Australia, about 60 kilometres inland, that includes the Northern Tablelands and the North West Slopes regions. Dubbed the Cathedral City, Armidale in the New England High Country is one of Australia’s most elegant regional cities. With an altitude of a kilometre above sea level, it’s known for vibrant autumn foliage and cool breezes in summer. Wander its streets and find 19th century churches mixed with modern cafes and restaurants. THE AUTHOR: Greg has been a script developer and consultant for Australian film funding bodies and the Australian Writers Guild for 25 years. He is the founder-director of a leading Australian script service. As writer/director Greg’s award-winning short films and documentaries screened nationally and internationally at over 60 film festivals and many TV channels. His screenplays The Whistler and Pangs won several script competitions including the Fellowship of Australian Writers Best Drama Manuscript, the Inscription Open Script award, and three Varuna Fellowships between them. Greg has lectured in Scriptwriting at Macquarie University, UTS, NIDA, and AFTRS. His script editing credits include feature films ‘Moon Rock for Monday’, ‘Don’t Tell’, ‘Needle’, ‘Cold Turkey’, ‘The Bet’, ‘Broken’, several Project Greenlight and Monte Miller Award finalists, the 2013 Tropfest Best Film Winner, the 2016 AWG John Hinde Science Fiction script award winner and many others. His first crime novel ‘The Night Whistler’ was published by Text Publishing in August 2020, and he’s now writing the sequel, The Carnival is Over. DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Text Publishing via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of The Night Whistler by Greg Woodland for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions. For an explanation of my rating system please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the about page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com This review and others are also published on Twitter, Amazon, Instagram and my webpage https://sandysbookaday.wordpress.com/...

  2. 4 out of 5

    Carolyn

    I just realized that my review for this impressive debut by Greg Woodland had vanished somewhere in cyberspace. I am going to retry to rewrite it. I was happy to discover a new Australian writer, who with this compelling rural mystery has moved into my list of favourites. I lived in Australia for three years during the time of the story. This vivid description of the small town, its characters, the heat, the muddy creek, the insect pests evoked the time and place I remember and miss. in 1966, tw I just realized that my review for this impressive debut by Greg Woodland had vanished somewhere in cyberspace. I am going to retry to rewrite it. I was happy to discover a new Australian writer, who with this compelling rural mystery has moved into my list of favourites. I lived in Australia for three years during the time of the story. This vivid description of the small town, its characters, the heat, the muddy creek, the insect pests evoked the time and place I remember and miss. in 1966, twelve-year-old Hal and his little brother are exploring a creek near their new home. They have recently moved with their parents to the small town of Moorabool. Their father is working as a travelling salesman and is frequently absent from home. The boys discover the wreck of a dilapidated old caravan sitting on a ridge. Nearby, they find the body of a dog, mutilated and killed. Mick Goodenough was demoted from his position as a detective in Sydney. He has been sent to Moorabool as punishment and is on probation with the small local police force. His marriage broke up and he is leading a lonely life with his three German Shepherds. He is treated with contempt by his police sergeant, although he is in his forties and is experienced in solving crimes. Mick discovers one of his dogs is missing and to his sorrow, it was the dead dog that Hal found. Later, an old lady's cat is missing and Hal finds it dead and mutilated in the same way as the dog. It turns out that the killing of small animals had been reported to the police before Mick arrived, and these incidents had been ignored. Mick tries to warn the police that the method of killing of these animals points to one individual, a budding serial killer who is practicing to kill humans next. Meanwhile, Hal's mother has been receiving rude, menacing phone calls. The caller mainly whistles on line and is prowling around, closely watching the house. Her underwear has been slashed on the clothesline, installing fear in the mother and her two young sons. Mick is concerned for their safety and feels it is the same person who is killing pets, but the other policemen disregard this as a harmless peeping tom. Hal is determined to find the Whistler and joins Mick in hunting for clues. He has made friends with Allie, a bold, feisty Aboriginal girl. He learns that the old caravan was the scene of a murder almst two decades earlier. A father shot his wife and two daughters, and then himself. A son his from the mayhem and has not been heard of since. Allie refuses to explore inside the caravan, explaining that spirits inside must never be disturbed. There is a wealthy, powerful family involved in sleazy land deals. Issues of racism, corruption, adultery, and domestic violence run through the narrative. This was a powerful, well-paced, and supensefull thriller with intriguing characters. I hope there will be a sequel featuring Mick, Hal and Allie.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Carolyn

    I really enjoyed the Australian setting of country New South Wales in the 1960s for this almost gothic murder mystery. It was a time when kids ran free in the summer, taking off on their bikes, climbing trees, fishing for crawbobs (small crayfish) and exploring places they probably shouldn't as long as they were home in time for tea. The writing is so evocative that you can almost smell the gum trees and the muddy river trickling through the hot and dusty landscape and hear the laconic Aussie ac I really enjoyed the Australian setting of country New South Wales in the 1960s for this almost gothic murder mystery. It was a time when kids ran free in the summer, taking off on their bikes, climbing trees, fishing for crawbobs (small crayfish) and exploring places they probably shouldn't as long as they were home in time for tea. The writing is so evocative that you can almost smell the gum trees and the muddy river trickling through the hot and dusty landscape and hear the laconic Aussie accents of the people. It's the summer of 1966 and twelve year old Hal's family have moved to the small rural town of Moorabool (pop 3,560), where his father will be based as a travelling salesman for a dried food company. It's while Hal and his brother are exploring that they find an old disheveled caravan, site of a mass killing some years back, and discover a dead dog in an old drum. The dog has been mutilated before being killed and is not the first animal to have gone missing in the town. Mick Goodenough, owner of the dog is a probationary constable, new to the town after being demoted from being a Sydney detective after disagreeing about the way a serial murder case was being handled. Now he's concerned that whoever is killing animals should be found before he becomes more dangerous, but his new Sergent isn't interested in listening to him. Hal is also worried about the mysterious man who calls their mum and frightens her when their dad is away. The suspense builds relentlessly in this well paced mystery, culminating in an explosive ending. Along the way the novel touches on the issues of racism, corruption, domestic violence, adultery and misogyny that were common in the 60s (and not so uncommon today). As well as some very creepy and unlikeable characters, Greg Woodland has created some wonderful characters. Hal is typical, inquisitive kid who fancies himself as Sherlock Holmes and his new friend, Allie is a fearless and feisty tomboy who doesn't let him down. Mick is what the perfect country policeman should be, willing to listen to everyone, follow up anything suspicious and not jump to the wrong conclusions. I really hope that there is sequel or series planned as I'd really like to see more of Mick Goodeneough and rural Australia of the 60s. With many thanks to Text Publishing and Netgalley for a copy to read

  4. 5 out of 5

    Brenda

    In 1966 Hal Humphries and his brother Evan arrived in Moorabool from Sydney with their parents for their father’s work. The small town – not much more than 3000 people – was a slow, quiet place with mostly friendly people, both Aboriginal and white. When Hal and Evan discovered the brutally murdered dog near an old caravan while exploring, they covered it with brush and twigs and Evan said a prayer. Constable Mick Goodenough (pronounced Good-no as he always had to tell people) had been demoted fr In 1966 Hal Humphries and his brother Evan arrived in Moorabool from Sydney with their parents for their father’s work. The small town – not much more than 3000 people – was a slow, quiet place with mostly friendly people, both Aboriginal and white. When Hal and Evan discovered the brutally murdered dog near an old caravan while exploring, they covered it with brush and twigs and Evan said a prayer. Constable Mick Goodenough (pronounced Good-no as he always had to tell people) had been demoted from detective in Sydney because of a misdemeanor – his punishment; Moorabool. His immediate dislike of his new boss shocked him, but he tried to keep his head down. Until his dog went missing. And he had a call from Mrs Humphries about a prank caller she dubbed The Whistler. Hal was sure he could discover who the whistler was, and with the help of Allie, a local he’d befriended, they started looking for clues. Mick was also doing his best – behind his boss’ back – to find the brutal killer of animals, because he knew the killer would turn to humans next… The Night Whistler is Aussie author Greg Woodland’s debut novel and it was excellent! Set in rural NSW not far from Armidale, the small-town tensions along with the verbal pictures of nostalgia brought back memories for me. I would have been a little older than Hal back then, but the atmosphere, kids exploring, racing around and doing things they shouldn’t, felt remarkably familiar. I really hope this is the beginning of a series as I’d love to catch up with the characters once again. Highly recommended. With thanks to NetGalley and Text Publishing for my digital ARC to read in exchange for an honest review.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Rob

    Australian thriller published 2020. I’ve been on a roll lately so many excellent thrillers by, to me, unknown Australian authors and this is no exception. If this is Greg Woodland’s first effort I can’t wait for the next one. The setting is Australia and even if you didn’t know this before hand, the land, the people, the heat, the flies, the language and the humour will leave you in no doubt. Set in the mid sixties this is the story of a disgraced, at least in the eyes of his peers, police officer Australian thriller published 2020. I’ve been on a roll lately so many excellent thrillers by, to me, unknown Australian authors and this is no exception. If this is Greg Woodland’s first effort I can’t wait for the next one. The setting is Australia and even if you didn’t know this before hand, the land, the people, the heat, the flies, the language and the humour will leave you in no doubt. Set in the mid sixties this is the story of a disgraced, at least in the eyes of his peers, police officer who goes by the name of Goodenough, pronounced Goodeno. This will give you an idea of the kind of tongue in cheek humour to expect. There is also, young Hal, a teenage boy, who has a very enquiring mind that often gets him into trouble. Hal’s dad is on the road a lot and Hal feels it’s his place to look after his mum and little brother. Dead, mutilated, pets have been turning up of late but the local constabulary couldn’t care less. Except, that is, for Constable Goodenough who can’t help but feel that there is a potential psychopath out there just waiting to step up to the next level, the next level being people. At the same time Hal’s mother starts getting really freaky phone calls from a male person who, for the most part, doesn’t say much but just whistles ‘Are You Lonesome Tonight’ a popular Elvis Presley tune of the day that just happens to be Hal’s dads favourite song. Hal’s mum tells the police about the calls but once again the local police are not interested “it’s just a nut case there’s no need to get overly worried about it. Just ignore it and he’ll get bored” is the advice she is given. Once again constable Goodenough is not so sure, all these dead animals and now this crank caller. Something is seriously wrong in Moorabool. This is a seriously entertaining reading. The conjured up atmosphere of a small country town in Australia on the brink of mayhem will linger in your head for some time to come. I’m ready for the next one Greg. A highly recommended 4 star read With thanks to Text publishing and NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review this book.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Kylie H

    Excellent new addition to the growing Australian rural noir category. This book sits right alongside Scrublands and Peace as a great rural thriller. Set in 1966, Hal is a boy on the cusp of becoming a teenager. His family have just moved to a small country town and he feels very much an outsider. Then there is Mick, nearly forty, he has been demoted as a Detective Sergeant and banished to a country, backwater for supposedly being obstinate and unmanageable. These two are drawn together when an unk Excellent new addition to the growing Australian rural noir category. This book sits right alongside Scrublands and Peace as a great rural thriller. Set in 1966, Hal is a boy on the cusp of becoming a teenager. His family have just moved to a small country town and he feels very much an outsider. Then there is Mick, nearly forty, he has been demoted as a Detective Sergeant and banished to a country, backwater for supposedly being obstinate and unmanageable. These two are drawn together when an unknown person starts torturing and killing pets. Possibly the same person that keeps telephoning Hal's mother and whistling the tune "Are You Lonesome Tonight' then whispering threats to her. Nothing is as it first appears and both Hal and Mick are drawn further and further in. Who is playing games with them? Who can they trust in this town that is new to them both? Where will it end? Highly recommended, thank you Text Publishing and Netgalley for the opportunity to read this digital ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    4.5* I'll admit I was initially somewhat reluctant to read The Night Whistler, based on the references to animal cruelty in the blurb. I'm happy to read about fictional human characters doing just about anything to each other, but baulk at any harm being done to defenceless creatures. However, based upon the early reviews I read, I decided to throw myself into the book anyway, and I'm so glad I did! 12-year-old Hal Humphries and his younger brother Evan have recently moved to the (fictional) town 4.5* I'll admit I was initially somewhat reluctant to read The Night Whistler, based on the references to animal cruelty in the blurb. I'm happy to read about fictional human characters doing just about anything to each other, but baulk at any harm being done to defenceless creatures. However, based upon the early reviews I read, I decided to throw myself into the book anyway, and I'm so glad I did! 12-year-old Hal Humphries and his younger brother Evan have recently moved to the (fictional) town of Moorabool in northern NSW with their parents, and are curiously exploring the local surroundings during their summer holidays. They're shocked one day to discover the brutalised remains of a German Shepherd dog near a creekbed behind their home. Meanwhile, disgraced former Sydney detective, Mick Goodenough ("pronounced Good-no, as in No-Good backwards."), demoted to the rank of Probationary Constable in this rural backwater, realises his juvenile pet dog, Charlie, is missing. The story unfolds from the alternating perspectives of Hal and Mick as, first separately and then as an unusual team, they investigate a series of strange occurrences in Moorabool. Not only have people's pets been disappearing over the past 18 months, only to be found dead and brutally disfigured, but there's been a mysterious break-in at the local Council offices and Hal's mother is being harrassed with menacing phone calls while his Dad's away on business. Mick's bemused by his senior officer, Sergeant Jeff Bradley's disinclination to take any of this very seriously, together with his attempts to belittle Mick at every opportunity. Events take a dramatic turn when Hal stumbles across the body of a local Aboriginal woman inside an abandoned caravan, said by many locals to be haunted by the family who died there decades before. Greg Woodland's writing evokes what I imagine to be an accurate portrayal of the mood of mid-1960s rural Australia - social conservatism, small-minded xenophobia and systemic racism directed towards the local indigenous population. Having grown up in rural NSW myself, albeit a couple of decades later than the setting of this book, I felt transported back to those endless scorching summers, well before the distractions of mobile phones and computer-based games. The central and supporting characters are all well-developed and convincing, although at times Mick's sergeant's demeanor verges on the absurd. The author's use of a 12-year-old boy's perspective in telling a major part of the"rural noir" narrative is an inspired device, as it brings an innocence of perception, while at the same time placing the character in a position to acquire information which may not have presented itself to an adult observer. The character of Mick is also complex and intriguing. He's been unfairly scapegoated for the failure of a major investigation in Sydney (a barely-veiled facsimile of the still unsolved Wanda Beach murders of 1965) to identify a perpetrator. He's a conflicted and unhappy man - not only has his career nosedived, but his marriage has failed and he's been unable to maintain sufficient contact with his teenage daughter. Despite the challenges, his friendship with Hal and his tenacity in pursuing the troubling events in Moorabool seem to be the start of a redemptive process for him. I hope he'll be a recurring character in future books by Woodland, as there's an awful lot of potential there to be explored. This was a well-written and engrossing rural psychological thriller / crime novel - the sometimes languid pace was used cleverly, both to echo the setting and to highlight the creeping atmosphere of malice. The dramatic conclusion, while a little lurid, was fitting and satisfying. There are references to animal cruelty, including two descriptive scenes, however I would encourage all but the most squeamish readers to give The Night Whistler a chance, as it's a cracking new addition to the Australian crime fiction scene. My thanks to the author, Text Publishing and NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review an ARC of this title.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Veronica ⭐️

    *https://theburgeoningbookshelf.blogsp... Greg Woodland has delivered a gritty, dark and nostalgic, small-town crime thriller in his debut, The Night Whistler. Set in country Australia during the summer of 1966. Twelve year old Hal and his family have recently moved to Moorabool for his father's job as Sales Rep for Prime Foods.  At a time when kids jumped on their bikes and spent their days looking for adventure, Hal and his brother come across the body of a mutilated dog. Mick Goodenough has also *https://theburgeoningbookshelf.blogsp... Greg Woodland has delivered a gritty, dark and nostalgic, small-town crime thriller in his debut, The Night Whistler. Set in country Australia during the summer of 1966. Twelve year old Hal and his family have recently moved to Moorabool for his father's job as Sales Rep for Prime Foods.  At a time when kids jumped on their bikes and spent their days looking for adventure, Hal and his brother come across the body of a mutilated dog. Mick Goodenough has also recently arrived in Moorabool. Mick is on probabtion, demoted and sent to this small backwater town as punishment. After finding his pet dog mutilated and then being brushed off by his superior Mick decides to do some investigating of his own. He knows animal mutilation is a predecessor to murdering people. As Mick tries to investigate the killing he is stopped at every turn by his superior.  Hal's mother starts to receive anonymous phone calls from a man whistling a tune. As Hal's father is away with work Hal assumes the role of head of the family and to protect his mother and brother he is determined to expose The Whistler. The Night Whistler is filled with police cover-ups, bullying, racism, shonky council dealings, lazy policing and red-herrings making this small-town crime thriller a compelling read that is at times nostalgic and at other times spine-chilling. *I received a copy from the publisher

  9. 5 out of 5

    Gloria Arthur

    ⭐️4.5 Stars⭐️ The Night Whistler was distinctly an Australian crime story set in the 1960’s in Moorabool, regional Victoria. The characters are extraordinary and memorable in this gripping murder mystery. Detective Mick Goodenough has been demoted from Sydney and banished to this hick rural town as a constable on probation. Eighteen and a half years ago there was a family murder-suicide that stunned the town and the creepy ancient caravan the murders occured in is still sitting vacant on a ridge. M ⭐️4.5 Stars⭐️ The Night Whistler was distinctly an Australian crime story set in the 1960’s in Moorabool, regional Victoria. The characters are extraordinary and memorable in this gripping murder mystery. Detective Mick Goodenough has been demoted from Sydney and banished to this hick rural town as a constable on probation. Eighteen and a half years ago there was a family murder-suicide that stunned the town and the creepy ancient caravan the murders occured in is still sitting vacant on a ridge. Mick together with twelve year old Hal are the narrators for this story and they come together when Hal’s mum begins to receive menacing phone calls from an unknown person. Hal and his young brother, Evan find a mutilated dog that has been tortured to death and soon after more of the locals pets start disappearing and eventually dead bodies begin to turn up. With violence, racism, adultery, kidnapping, corruption and murder, there is never a dull moment in this small town. I loved the detail, the Aussie slang and funny phrases like ‘fine as a fairy’s fart’ and 'her teeth parted and another bray escaped.' The murderer reveal, well that was a surprise! This was an excellent debut novel from Greg Woodland and a highly recommended read. I wish to thank NetGalley & Text Publishing for an advanced copy to read in return for an honest review

  10. 4 out of 5

    Mandy White

    It is definitely no secret that I am a crime and thriller girl. And I love a good Aussie crime book. The Night Whistler had me excited and it lived up to my expectations. I loved this clever and twisty police procedural set in 1966. I do hope this is the start of a series as ai think that the main police officer Mick has a lot more to tell us. Hal and Evan are new to the small NSW town of Moorabool. One day playing near the local creek the find the mutilated body of a dog. It is a horrific find a It is definitely no secret that I am a crime and thriller girl. And I love a good Aussie crime book. The Night Whistler had me excited and it lived up to my expectations. I loved this clever and twisty police procedural set in 1966. I do hope this is the start of a series as ai think that the main police officer Mick has a lot more to tell us. Hal and Evan are new to the small NSW town of Moorabool. One day playing near the local creek the find the mutilated body of a dog. It is a horrific find and they do their best to give it a burial . Also new to town is Constable Mick Goodenough. He has been demoted as a detective from his Sydney station for reasons unknown. Hi so dog is missing, and finds a pattern of animals being killed. Nobody is taking this seriously but he knows from experience that it’s is the sign of a serial killer beginning. At the same time Hal’s mother Corrie is getting mystery calls with somebody whistling and threatening her. This story will have you engrossed from the beginning and I read this quickly. Thanks to Text Publishing and NetGalley for my advanced copy of this book to read.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Krista

    Rating: 5 thrilling debut stars Author Greg Woodland has struck debut gold with this his first published book! This is a fine example of the recently popular Australian rural noir genre. Set in rural Australia in the 1960’s, Overland has skillfully captured this specific time and place. He is also spot on with his characters, young and old alike. In addition, this is a hum-dinger of a thriller. Fair warning though, there are disturbing scenes of animal mutilation. In 1966, John and Corrie Humphrie Rating: 5 thrilling debut stars Author Greg Woodland has struck debut gold with this his first published book! This is a fine example of the recently popular Australian rural noir genre. Set in rural Australia in the 1960’s, Overland has skillfully captured this specific time and place. He is also spot on with his characters, young and old alike. In addition, this is a hum-dinger of a thriller. Fair warning though, there are disturbing scenes of animal mutilation. In 1966, John and Corrie Humphries along with their children, Hal (12) and Evan (8), move to the small town of Morabool (population 3,500) in rural New South Wales. They have moved there for John’s job as a traveling salesman. Police Constable Mick Goodenough (pronounced ‘good no’) is banished to the boonies of Morabool at about the same time. It is clearly a demotion for him after an incident that occurred while he was working on the Sydney police force. As they are exploring their new environs, Hal and Evan stumble upon the mutilated remains of a dog. They soon find out that the dog belonged to Mick Goodenough. Not only the fact that his dog was killed, but also the manner of the killing, disturbs Mick. As more animals turn up mutilated, he knows that a killer is honing his skills on animals and may soon move on to human victims. However, Mick’s new boss will not listen to Mick’s concerns. Hal and his new tomboy pal, Allie start their own investigation. They want to figure out who is calling Hal’s Mom when his Dad is out of town. The caller whistles the tune "Are You Lonesome Tonight' then whispering threats to her. They work to figure this out, and try to find out who is killing the animals. Hal and Mick each narrate their segments of the story. Neither of them understand that nothing is at it seems in Morabool. Who can be trusted? Can anyone be trusted? What secrets is this small town hiding? The ending was quite a surprise! This was a wonderful combination of a coming-of-age story, and a thrilling murder mystery. I hope that this is the first in a series. I would love to read more about Mick, and learn his backstory. I would recommend this for enthusiast of gritty thrillers. Again, I just need to state my warning about the animal mutilations. I know that can be a trigger from some readers. If you can get past that, you are in for quite a treat from this new author. I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. These are my honest thoughts.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Sharon Metcalf

    The Night Whistler was a captivating murder mystery novel written by Greg Woodland, and the fact it was his debut makes it all the more impressive. Set in the late 1960's in the small Australian town of Moorabool, I particularly enjoyed the sense of time and place the author created. Mind you, regional Australia was not cast in the most positive light. The Aboriginals in the township were treated poorly and discrimination was accepted as the norm. Infidelity was common and the police were worse The Night Whistler was a captivating murder mystery novel written by Greg Woodland, and the fact it was his debut makes it all the more impressive. Set in the late 1960's in the small Australian town of Moorabool, I particularly enjoyed the sense of time and place the author created. Mind you, regional Australia was not cast in the most positive light. The Aboriginals in the township were treated poorly and discrimination was accepted as the norm. Infidelity was common and the police were worse than incompetent. Being set in the 1960's readers got a glimpse of pre-technology Australia. A time when the man of the house seemingly ruled the roost. When, after a boozy social event the man would get behind the wheel of his prized vehicle and drive the wife and kids home, without the benefit of seatbelts. Unfortunately, many of these things are taken straight from the pages of our history. I digress, these were some of the things that created a genuine atmosphere and painted a picture of the fabric of society. Even though they were not all positive they helped set the scene for the murder mystery. The title of the book, The Night Whistler, was a reference to a crank caller. An anonymous male who phoned the Humphries home, whistling a tune and sending messages designed to scare the family. When said caller escalated his behavior and started prowling the home at night, looking in windows many of the police were blasé. ‘What’s he actually done to these people? Couple of nuisance calls, pinched some washing—’.... ‘He’s a snowdropper, Mick. We’ve had them before. They’re show ponies. Want your attention. You don’t give it to them, they get tired of it and go. Away.’ Whilst there were many characters in the story the two main characters were Hal Humphries, a twelve year old boy and Mick Goodenough, currently a probationary constable at the Moorabool police station. Both Mick & Hal had vested interests in identifying the culprit. Mick had previously been a detective on a high profile murder case but as punishment for an indiscretion was sent to Moorabool. Soon after arriving in Moorabool, one of his dogs was savagely murdered but his colleagues were not interested. With his detective background he knew psychopathic killers often start with animals and progress to humans. Hal on the other hand just wants his family to be safe. With his father often away on work as a travelling salesman, Hal is the man of the house. When most police showed no interest he didn't know what he could do to protect his mother and younger brother. It was then Hal and Mick managed to join forces and this was central to the story. One of the things I liked most was the friendship that developed between Hal and Allie a young aboriginal girl. Hal was not tainted with the same prejudice against aboriginals other's in the township had and they enjoyed spending time together. There was one episode where the friendship was tested and Hal failed badly, stooping to the lows others regularly displayed and calling her a derogatory name. It was refreshing to see how distraught he felt over his behavior and I was glad that by the end of the book they had reconciled. I'd have to say, this book did contain more violence than I'd normally be comfortable with. Ugly acts against both animals and people were described so that was confronting for me but I'll admit I have a low threshold for violence so it may not disturb other readers. The violence was not excessive and definitely helped build the tension and a feeling of urgency to locate the killer. As I was reading I had a hunch I may know the identity of the killer but at no stage did I guess at the reason. It all came together at the end and I am pleased to have discovered this new Aussie author. My thanks to Greg Woodland, Text Publishing and NetGalley for the opportunity of reading this digital ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Pat

    What a nice surprise package that was! The story centres around the Humphries family - John, Corrie and their children Hal (12) and Evan (8); and also probationary constable Mick Goodenough - a disgraced former Detective Sargent from Sydney sent to the backwater of Moorabool as a ‘probie’ for his sins. We don’t actually learn what those sins are but if there is another book there may be some clarification. The book is set in 1966 in a small New South Wales town in Australia. It evokes a sense of What a nice surprise package that was! The story centres around the Humphries family - John, Corrie and their children Hal (12) and Evan (8); and also probationary constable Mick Goodenough - a disgraced former Detective Sargent from Sydney sent to the backwater of Moorabool as a ‘probie’ for his sins. We don’t actually learn what those sins are but if there is another book there may be some clarification. The book is set in 1966 in a small New South Wales town in Australia. It evokes a sense of time and place really well. Moorabool is rocked by a series of violent crimes and Corrie Humphries is getting nuisance calls where the phone pest whistles a tune. Unfortunately he gets increasingly threatening. Hal thinks he knows who the whistler is and enlists the help of Mick Goodenough on this and other crazy theories he has. Mick has his own concerns with links to a gruesome double murder in Sydney a few years ago which had a lot to do with his banishment. However Mick is labouring under the derision and uselessness of his colleagues. Sargent Bradley in particular seems reluctant to investigate anything at all. Is he just lazy? Or is he possibly hiding something? I have to say the start was quite slow but then it got really interesting and surprisingly dramatic. The other thing to note is the treatment of Indigenous Australians in this story. The racism is quite blatant and reflects how it really was in that era, especially in rural areas. It must be noted that it was not until the following year (1967) that First Nations people became acknowledged as citizens (and were given the vote) in the country they had been custodians of for tens of thousands of years. It’s hard to believe now, I know. In the end this was a heartwarming story, with enough dramatic twists, in which Hal grew up far too quickly and Mick Goodenough got, well, I really shouldn’t say. It was interesting, very Australian and dramatic enough to keep you glued to the pages. My final rating is 3.5 rounded up. Thanks to Netgalley, Text Publishing and Greg Woodland for providing this book for review purposes..

  14. 4 out of 5

    Marianne

    4.5★s The Night Whistler is the first novel by Australian author, Greg Woodland. The dog has been cruelly killed, and the boys are shocked, but there by the creek Hal and his little brother, Evan can’t dig a grave, so they cover it with leaves. When Probationary Constable Mick Goodenough tracks down his missing Alsatian cross, he feels sickened, but from the mutilations he can see it immediately for what it is, and takes careful note. His rank of Probationary Constable belies his knowledge and ex 4.5★s The Night Whistler is the first novel by Australian author, Greg Woodland. The dog has been cruelly killed, and the boys are shocked, but there by the creek Hal and his little brother, Evan can’t dig a grave, so they cover it with leaves. When Probationary Constable Mick Goodenough tracks down his missing Alsatian cross, he feels sickened, but from the mutilations he can see it immediately for what it is, and takes careful note. His rank of Probationary Constable belies his knowledge and experience as a former Detective Sergeant with Homicide in the city, and Mick recognises the makings of a psychopath when he sees them. His sergeant at Moorabool Police Station, Jeff Bradley is quite comfortable in his niche and isn’t going to let a blow-in from Sydney tell him how and what to investigate: this is 1966 and that fancy new psychological rubbish has no place in his rural New England town. Twelve-year-old Hal Humphries, Evan and his mum are new in town; dad’s going to be on the road out west with his sales supervisor job, but one of his colleagues at Prime Foods is keeping an eye in the Humphries family. But that doesn’t prevent the crank calls they’re getting: someone whistling, heavy breathing and saying disturbing things. Mum is upset, especially when there seems to be a prowler near the house at night, but Sergeant Bradley is dismissive…. Mick Goodenough is concerned, though, even more so when the harassment steps up and another mutilated animal is involved. And if he can’t get Bradley to take it seriously, he’ll just have to do it himself, in between the time-wasting chores his boss earmarks for his attention. Australian rural crime fiction is becoming a very popular genre, and this one is a gem. Woodland easily captures the setting and era: the bush, the heat and the flies are almost palpable; the indolence of the long school holidays in the Australian summer, when childrearing was the polar opposite of helicopter parents and kids roamed free, will strike a cheery chord with many; the time when beer was the refreshment of choice, even at the police station, and when racism was blatant, is less likely to induce nostalgia. Woodland gives the reader a plot that brims with tension and malice; red herrings and distractions have the reader flitting between likely perpetrators until the pennies finally drop and the story races headlong into a nail-biting climax. His characters are likeable or despicable as required; bespectacled, underestimated Hal and quietly intelligent Mick make a great team. This is an excellent debut novel from an author to watch, and more of Mick Goodenough will be most welcome. Highly recommended! This unbiased review is from an uncorrected proof copy provided by NetGalley and Text Publishing

  15. 4 out of 5

    Shelleyrae at Book'd Out

    The Night Whistler is an impressive rural crime fiction debut from award-winning screen writer/director Greg Woodland. Set in the summer of 1996/1967, in a small country town in the New England District of NSW, The Night Whistler begins when newcomer twelve year old Hal and his younger brother, stumble across a dog, with its skull crushed and throat slit, stuffed in a barrel near a derelict caravan. Situated near a creek Hal dubs ‘The Crack in the World’, the caravan is a source of fascination fo The Night Whistler is an impressive rural crime fiction debut from award-winning screen writer/director Greg Woodland. Set in the summer of 1996/1967, in a small country town in the New England District of NSW, The Night Whistler begins when newcomer twelve year old Hal and his younger brother, stumble across a dog, with its skull crushed and throat slit, stuffed in a barrel near a derelict caravan. Situated near a creek Hal dubs ‘The Crack in the World’, the caravan is a source of fascination for the boy, particularly when he learns of its macabre history and the evil spirits said to dwell there from new friend Ali. But it’s not ghosts that worry Hal, it’s whoever is prowling around their yard late at night while his father is travelling for work, and making anonymous phone calls to his mother, whistling ‘Are You Lonesome Tonight’. A mystery Hal, who is a fan of Sherlock Holmes, is determined to solve. Sharing the narrative with Hal is Constable Michael Goodenough (pronounced good-no), a disgraced Sydney homicide detective demoted and exiled to Moorabool, he is the only officer concerned by the violent death of several pets, and the incidents plaguing Hal’s family. His experience tells him the two may be connected but his lazy and venal colleagues seem determined to brush them off as harmless incidents. Woodland takes his time to set the scene, his experience in film writing coming to the fore in creating a vivid sense of time and place. With broad but precise strokes he brings the town of Moorabool and its residents to life, before delving into its many secrets. Hal and Goodenough work well as a team, the contrast between the fierce and idealistic boy, and the world weary Mick engaging. I’d like to see Goodenough again, though clearly struggling with the reason for the recent implosion of his career, an impending divorce, and separation from his daughter, he is a good man, and a good police officer, who can’t ignore his instincts. As the violence escalates and the mysteries deepen, so too does the tension. My heart was in my mouth during the last quarter or so of the book. Compelling and thrilling, The Night Whistler is a terrific read and I hope for more from Woodland.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Lizp

    This is a really entertaining read. Mick Goodenough was a senior detective in Sydney and has been banished to remote Moorabool, after havimg a fight with a more well in detective. There are two narrators, Mick, and a boy called Hal. Hal’s family has relocated to Moorabool because of his dad’s work. It is set in 1966. Hal and his brother find a dead dog that has been mutilated. They bury the dog with leaves and branches. Mick, who recently lost his dog, finds it and worries about the level of mut This is a really entertaining read. Mick Goodenough was a senior detective in Sydney and has been banished to remote Moorabool, after havimg a fight with a more well in detective. There are two narrators, Mick, and a boy called Hal. Hal’s family has relocated to Moorabool because of his dad’s work. It is set in 1966. Hal and his brother find a dead dog that has been mutilated. They bury the dog with leaves and branches. Mick, who recently lost his dog, finds it and worries about the level of mutilation involved but is precluded from formally investigating, as he’s the runt of the litter copper in Moorabool, and is put upon by his superior officers. Hal’s mother receives strange phone calls, weird whistling and heavy breathing. The characters are very well drawn. I particularly liked the way Hal’s friend, Allie, is portrayed. The story moves quickly. More pets are found mutilated, and the killer moves onto humans The writing here really appeals to me. For example, lines like: The naked bulb, a sentinel over Hal’s head, hangs on until the dawn. I also enjoyed the colloquialisms, such as Sergeant Bradley being described as being as suspicious as a chook in a reptile house! There are a range of issues featured in this book: racism, domestic violence, adultery, etc. This is a really well written, fast paced, debut novel by Greg Woodland. I highly recommend it. Many thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Sharah McConville

    The Night Whistler is an intriguing rural crime set in NSW during the late 1960's. 12 year old Hal and his family are new to town. Hal and his little brother Evan go exploring and come across a pet dog that has been tortured to death. They soon find out that the dog belonged to the new Police Constable, Mick Goodenough. Several locals pets start disappearing and then the murders begin. Greg Woodland's debut novel is fantastic and had me hooked from the first chapter. Be warned: this story contai The Night Whistler is an intriguing rural crime set in NSW during the late 1960's. 12 year old Hal and his family are new to town. Hal and his little brother Evan go exploring and come across a pet dog that has been tortured to death. They soon find out that the dog belonged to the new Police Constable, Mick Goodenough. Several locals pets start disappearing and then the murders begin. Greg Woodland's debut novel is fantastic and had me hooked from the first chapter. Be warned: this story contains lots of animal cruelty. Thanks to Text Publishing and NetGalley for my ARC.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Calzean

    Like the Darling River after rain, a trickle of books set in small towns in Australia has started to build into a torrent. This one, coming out of one of my favourite publishers Text Publishing, adds another new entrant onto the market. The pace moves from a slow start to a brisk ending. Based in the late 1960s, in a fictional town in the New England area of NSW, the demoted former Detective Goodenough finds himself friendless, loveless and frustrated. A series of animal killings has him raising Like the Darling River after rain, a trickle of books set in small towns in Australia has started to build into a torrent. This one, coming out of one of my favourite publishers Text Publishing, adds another new entrant onto the market. The pace moves from a slow start to a brisk ending. Based in the late 1960s, in a fictional town in the New England area of NSW, the demoted former Detective Goodenough finds himself friendless, loveless and frustrated. A series of animal killings has him raising a warning flag that a potential murderer is in town but his boss is fat and happy with looking the other way. Goodenough's only help comes from 12 year old Hal who is fixated on Sherlock Holmes and becomes an amateur sleuth. Surrounding these two is simmering racial and sexist bigotry of the times (not that much has changed), corruption, incompetence and the old AB telephone boxes that formed the main form of communications in the good old days.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer (JC-S)

    ‘The dog must have been howling for a good twenty minutes before Hal climbed up on the back fence to look for it.’ 1966. Hal Humphries and his younger brother Evan, together with their parents Corrie and John, have made the move to Moorabool in regional New South Wales. A new start for the family, a job promotion for John. Hal and Evan are exploring the area near their home when they find the body of a dog. A dog that has only recently been killed and mutilated. Probationary Constable Mick Goodeno ‘The dog must have been howling for a good twenty minutes before Hal climbed up on the back fence to look for it.’ 1966. Hal Humphries and his younger brother Evan, together with their parents Corrie and John, have made the move to Moorabool in regional New South Wales. A new start for the family, a job promotion for John. Hal and Evan are exploring the area near their home when they find the body of a dog. A dog that has only recently been killed and mutilated. Probationary Constable Mick Goodenough has also recently arrived in Moorabool. And one of his dogs has gone missing. When he finds the dog’s body, he is concerned. Someone who tortures and kills animals might move onto other crimes. But Mick’s superior, Sergeant Bradley, is not interested. Mick may have once been a detective in Sydney, but he is in Moorabool on probation, under sufferance. Hal’s father spends a lot of time away from home. While he is away, Corrie starts receiving anonymous calls, and there is a prowler around the home. Mick is the only one of the town’s policemen who take this seriously. More crimes are committed: is the dog killer escalating? Moorabool has a dark past. Hal is fascinated by the murders that took place in the abandoned caravan and talks to his new friend Allie Tenpenny about them. But after Allie tells him something he does not want to believe; they have a falling out. The narration is shared between Hal and Mick, who form an alliance while trying to work out what is happening. There are secrets in Moorabool: cover-ups and corruption have made it easy for some criminal activity to be ignored, and racism compounds that. Mick learns about more animal deaths, and Hal finds the body of a murdered woman. Who killed her? Sergeant Bradley believes it was her husband: he has a confession. But there is something not right, and then Hal goes missing. Can Mick find him? There’s plenty of tension in this novel, and some memorable characters (especially Hal, Allie and Mick). And who is ‘The Night Whistler’? You may be surprised. Note: My thanks to NetGalley and Text Publishing for providing me with a free electronic copy of this book for review purposes. Jennifer Cameron-Smith

  20. 5 out of 5

    Trevor

    Lately here has been a proliferation of mystery/thriller books set in rural and outback Australia, The Night Whistler is definitely one of the best of them. With a well paced story, some good red herrings, interesting characters and a well described rural setting, this is a really enjoyable read, which keeps you engaged to the very end. I'm looking forward to reading more by this author. I was given a copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    Thank you to NetGalley, Text Publishing and the author, Greg Woodland, for an advanced reader’s copy of The Night Whistler in exchange for an honest, unbiased opinion. TW: Casual, pointed, and systemic Australian-centric racism. Australian racial slurs used throughout, but there’s some good bits. TW: Animal cruelty. All part of the plot, but there’s more than one and I was in tears. This book is one of the best Australian books I’ve ever read. Not even a wink of hyperbole. It’s really difficult to Thank you to NetGalley, Text Publishing and the author, Greg Woodland, for an advanced reader’s copy of The Night Whistler in exchange for an honest, unbiased opinion. TW: Casual, pointed, and systemic Australian-centric racism. Australian racial slurs used throughout, but there’s some good bits. TW: Animal cruelty. All part of the plot, but there’s more than one and I was in tears. This book is one of the best Australian books I’ve ever read. Not even a wink of hyperbole. It’s really difficult to get Australian vernacular down on the page and not let it sound naive and bogan and a joke. This book read like it was set exactly where it was: country NSW in the 60s. Truly an achievement. The story itself is compelling, with wonderful child characters in Hal, the new kid in town, and Allie, local Aboriginal girl with a winning personality. She’s the one who tells Hal about the murders that happened in 1948 at the old abandoned caravan. Meanwhile, Hal’s dad is a cad and causes a whole lot of trouble behind the scenes. Animals have been going missing. The new demoted down to probationary constable from the “city” (Sutherland no less) loses his own dog and notices some weirdness. Who is the Whistler who keeps calling Hal’s mum? I had no idea until it suddenly all started making sense. These are the mysteries I like the best. Not even a smelly red herring. Really brilliant.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Sharon

    Set in the mid 1960's and typical of a country town. Not a lot to do, everyone knows everyone and nobodies business is their own. The tale takes you on a rollercoaster of incidents, a number of cross stories and back stories that keeps you turning those pages. Hal is the central character along with his 'good mate' Goodenough, pronounced Good-No as we're reminded many times. Together they provide the smarts to this psychotic thriller. I really enjoyed it. It moves fast, it moves well. The Night Set in the mid 1960's and typical of a country town. Not a lot to do, everyone knows everyone and nobodies business is their own. The tale takes you on a rollercoaster of incidents, a number of cross stories and back stories that keeps you turning those pages. Hal is the central character along with his 'good mate' Goodenough, pronounced Good-No as we're reminded many times. Together they provide the smarts to this psychotic thriller. I really enjoyed it. It moves fast, it moves well. The Night Whistler set in Moorabool Victoria. I researched the location to get a feel for the place. It's a rural setting with lots of flies, and the traditional land of the Wathaurung Tribe, which is also mentioned in the book, from memory. The tribe is in relation to Hal's friend Allie. You won't be disappointed. Respect for real locations, real references. Thanks Better Reading

  23. 4 out of 5

    Markus Lambert

    Those who grew up in a country town of visited some for holiday swill feel right at home with the Australia and the range of protagonist portrayed skillfully by the author Greg Woodland. I really connected with the characters, especially Hal. I will not look at the old Millard and Viscount caravans in the same way anymore. I love thrillers and this one was a tense, solid page-turner. Strongly recommended.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Tiffany Shan

    This book is incredibly suspenseful and compelling. I enjoyed reading it as I’ve never read anything set in rural Australia. It’s a great book to read for anyone looking to be transported to a totally new and unexpected world!

  25. 4 out of 5

    Text Publishing

    The following book reviews have been shared by Text Publishing – publisher of The Night Whistler '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.' Sandy’s Book A Day 'Slowly builds tension…and leads to an explosive conclusion… A fine The following book reviews have been shared by Text Publishing – publisher of The Night Whistler '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.' Sandy’s Book A Day 'Slowly builds tension…and leads to an explosive conclusion… A fine debut, a mystery wrapped in nostalgia for an Australia now long gone.’ Good Reading

  26. 4 out of 5

    Bree T

    I feel sort of obliged to give a content warning on this – mutilated animals and pretty graphic descriptions thereof. Hal Humphries and his family – dad, mum, younger brother – are new to the town of Moorabool, where they’ve moved for their father’s job. Their mother is not very happy with the move, even less so when it seems that her husband’s new job will take him on the road for large stretches of time, leaving her isolated in this small town with two young boys. Shortly after they arrive, Hal I feel sort of obliged to give a content warning on this – mutilated animals and pretty graphic descriptions thereof. Hal Humphries and his family – dad, mum, younger brother – are new to the town of Moorabool, where they’ve moved for their father’s job. Their mother is not very happy with the move, even less so when it seems that her husband’s new job will take him on the road for large stretches of time, leaving her isolated in this small town with two young boys. Shortly after they arrive, Hal and his younger brother find the mutilated body of a German Shepherd, which they do their best to bury. Mick Goodenough (pronounced Good-no) was once a detective in Sydney. However a case went very wrong and he finds himself demoted severely. He’s now a probationary Constable in this town, under the jurisdiction of a less-than-ideal Sergeant boss who has no time for what he deems to be Mick’s whims and fancies. In disgrace, Mick should be making coffee and sucking up, not trying to rock the boat in their small town by asking questions and definitely not poking around in the business of respected local residents. Mick finds plenty to get involved in – not only is his dog one of the animals that is brutally murdered but he also finds himself tangled up with the Humphries family when he’s the only one who takes seriously the call by Mrs Humphries about a man making frightening phone calls to her, as well as the fact that she’s seen a prowler outside her house at night. The rest of the police staff mostly dismiss this as the pranks of a “harmless pervert” but Mick isn’t so sure. And the more he investigates, the more he thinks the person making the phone calls, nicknamed the Whistler because of the fact that he whistles a song down the line, is connected to other, more sinister happenings in the town. Set in a small town in New South Wales during a scorching hot summer, this is a stellar debut compromising everything that a lot of people will find familiar about Australian rural life. It’s set before my time (the 1960s) but with a complex history and tension between the white and local Aboriginal population that still seems familiar. When the Humphries family moves to the town, it’s at the behest of Dad John and his wife Corrie isn’t particularly pleased. There’s the boss to impress as well as some subtle indication from his wife about who in the town Corrie should and shouldn’t be directing her attention to. Their young sons, particularly Hal enjoy a freedom that was probably common of the time – out riding bikes and scooters, exploring the local area, particularly a place with a caravan which was the site of a gruesome crime some years before. There is a lot going on here but without the plot feeling overcomplicated. A lot of the story is seen through Hal’s eyes – he’s about 12, and sometimes this shines through as he watches incidents without really understanding a lot of what he’s seeing. In some cases, he’s probably trying not to as he’s negotiating the adult relationships of people he cares about where he’s set in what he wants to see vs what he is actually seeing. The rest of the story is told from Mick’s perspective as he deals with his humiliating probation, forced to do general dogsbody duties for a bunch of mostly incompetent at best, country cops when he used to be a detective in Sydney. Mick isn’t a snob however – he treats this case in Moorabool, which starts with a mutilated animal, as seriously as he would’ve treated a case in Sydney. He doesn’t seem to consider this demotion beneath him and he develops a real rapport with Hal. He’s the only one that really takes anything seriously and the deeper he digs the more he wonders what secret is being kept in this town. His ‘superior’ officer definitely knows more than he’s letting on and is almost doing backflips to order Mick to leave it alone, which makes Mick even more suspicious. Mick also has quite a few personal demons that plague him throughout the story as well. His dogs are really all he has in Moorabool. To be honest, I’m not sure I’d have been able to get up every day and go to work to be treated like a nuisance who doesn’t know anything, like Mick was but obviously he knows and wants nothing else than to be a cop. He is clever, he listens, he doesn’t let things go. There’s a lot to his backstory that is yet to be filled in so if this ends up being a series, I’m sure there’s ample opportunity in the future to explore more of Mick’s Sydney career as well as what awaits him. I found him a very intriguing type, one that could easily carry more books. I enjoyed the way that this played out and thought that the author handled various topics such as racism, sexism, rural policing in a way that felt uncomfortably real. ***A copy of this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley for the purpose of an honest review***

  27. 5 out of 5

    A Reader's Heaven

    (I received a free copy of this book from Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.) It’s 1966. Hal and his little brother, newly arrived in Moorabool with their parents, are exploring the creek near their new home when they find the body of a dog. Not just dead, but recently killed. Not just killed, but mutilated. Constable Mick Goodenough, recently demoted from his city job as a detective, is also new in town—and one of his dogs has gone missing. He’s experienced enough to know what it means wh (I received a free copy of this book from Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.) It’s 1966. Hal and his little brother, newly arrived in Moorabool with their parents, are exploring the creek near their new home when they find the body of a dog. Not just dead, but recently killed. Not just killed, but mutilated. Constable Mick Goodenough, recently demoted from his city job as a detective, is also new in town—and one of his dogs has gone missing. He’s experienced enough to know what it means when someone tortures an animal to death: it means they’re practicing. So when Hal’s mother starts getting anonymous calls—a man whistling, then hanging up—Goodenough, alone among the Moorabool cops, takes her seriously. The question is: will that be enough to keep her safe? A few years ago, Jane HarperJane Harper released a sensational Australian rural noir book The Dry which kickstarted a run of very good murder mystery novels set in the outback/small towns of Australia. This book is a worthy addition to that list. Set in the mid 1960's in a small town in New South Wales, Australia, this novel has all the hallmarks of a classic crime novel: a series of violent crimes worries the locals; one resident gets a series of increasingly threatening phone calls from a mystery person who just whistles in the phone; a disgraced cop from the big city - but the aspect of this story that drew me in the most was the setting. I may very well be biased but I think some of these rural noir novels are some of the best reads regarding getting a "sense of place" - really feeling like you are there. Other highlights: * if you have ever lived in a small town like this, you will relate to the characters immediately. Allie is quite possibly the best of them. * The story doesn't shy away from the negative side of Australian life in those days - casual racism, domestic violence, adultery etc. (Not that things are much better now...) * The mystery itself - "Who is the Night Whistler?" - is actually incredibly cleverly concocted and certainly took me by surprise. Like a lot of readers of crime fiction, we are hard to surprise but this book certainly did that for me. The only small complaint I had about this book was the opening quarter of the book. It was quite slow. I almost quit once. Absolutely glad I stuck with it, but it is worth noting that anyone picking this up and finding the start a bit slow - KEEP GOING! The payoff is certainly worth it. No problem recommending this one! Paul ARH

  28. 4 out of 5

    Pile By the Bed

    With Australian rural noir booming, writers are needing to find new ways to get good detectives out into the countryside. In Jane Harper’s The Dry, Aaron Falk comes home for a funeral and ends up investigating. In Garry Disher’s series which started with Bitterwash Road, Paul Hirschhausen has been sent into purgatory for blowing the whistle on his colleagues. In Greg Woodland’s debut The Night Whistler, former detective Mick Goodenough (pronounced Good-no, readers are informed very early on), ha With Australian rural noir booming, writers are needing to find new ways to get good detectives out into the countryside. In Jane Harper’s The Dry, Aaron Falk comes home for a funeral and ends up investigating. In Garry Disher’s series which started with Bitterwash Road, Paul Hirschhausen has been sent into purgatory for blowing the whistle on his colleagues. In Greg Woodland’s debut The Night Whistler, former detective Mick Goodenough (pronounced Good-no, readers are informed very early on), has been demoted to probationary constable in the NSW New England town of Moorabool for a range of sins that link back to a series of unsolved murders in Sydney but also include alcoholism. Mick is now at the bottom of the pecking order , the fifth wheel in his four man police station, putting him on the back foot as things start to go wrong in town. Set in the late 1960s, The Night Whistler has a second narrative strand, that makes it closer in feel to books like Craig Silvey’s Jasper Jones and Peter Twhoig’s The Cartographer. This is the story of twelve year old Hal, whose family has moved to Moorabool so his father can take up a job as head sales rep for a local food company. Hal and his little brother Evan discover a recently killed dog in a bin near an abandoned caravan and Hal, a Sherlock Holmes fan, is determined to investigate. The dog belonged to Mick who also wants to track down the perpetrator as he knows that killing animals is a step towards killing people. When Hal’s mother starts receiving disturbing phone calls from a whistling stalker, both Hal and Mick start to investigate. The rest of this novel goes much the way readers will expect. Moments of tension, Mick fighting his demons and small minded colleagues, Hal coming up with and following his own theories with the help of Allie, an Aboriginal girl who befriends him. Driving the action are the usual mix of small town secrets and indiscretions. All of which builds to an incredibly tense finale. The Night Whistler fits neatly in the growing body of Australian gothic noir. Screenwriter Woodland brings a reality to this small country town – the corrupt developers, the racial tensions, the unspoken class divides. And the mystery is played out well, with Hal standing in for readers keen to point the finger and jump into action on the slightest of clues. This is an incredibly assured debut and is part of another strong year for new voices in Australian crime fiction.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Esther King

    Please note this is a 3.5. This book is another instalment in the recent string of Australian Gothic literature that has recently come into the mainstream- a development that I very much appreciate and hope turns into even more of a movement within the genre! This book is set in the 1960s in a country town in Australia, lending some important context regarding racism, as well as relationships behind the ever-elusive white picket fence. I found the mystery itself fascinating and very much gratuit Please note this is a 3.5. This book is another instalment in the recent string of Australian Gothic literature that has recently come into the mainstream- a development that I very much appreciate and hope turns into even more of a movement within the genre! This book is set in the 1960s in a country town in Australia, lending some important context regarding racism, as well as relationships behind the ever-elusive white picket fence. I found the mystery itself fascinating and very much gratuitous in its descriptions of the devolution of behaviour that 'The Whistler' ended up engaging in. It was really interesting to read a mystery novel where I was truly surprised by who ended up being the perpetrator, and their motivations behind it. It was a fantastic twist, and I thought it was incredibly well done. One of the few difficulties I found was that I struggled with the narration at times and the voices used, which made it a little hard for me to follow. However, I loved some of the characters and wished they'd had a bit more of a voice- like Ali, who was an absolute sweetheart and as sharp as a tack! The book does, however, find its strength in its setting- it is one of those titles where you can smell the air in the outback while you read. A very solid read, and well worth it, especially if you're a mystery fan.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Kelly-Jo Sweeney

    The Night Whistler is set in Australia in the 1960's. Despite being a Brit, living in New Zealand in 2020, there was something about the writing that sets that time and place very vividly. We're not just told that's where and when it is, but you can feel it too. The story focuses on what starts as a pet killing and nuisance caller and progresses into murder. Told from the point of view of disgraced detective Mick and young teenager Hal. With much of the story being told from a younger person's vi The Night Whistler is set in Australia in the 1960's. Despite being a Brit, living in New Zealand in 2020, there was something about the writing that sets that time and place very vividly. We're not just told that's where and when it is, but you can feel it too. The story focuses on what starts as a pet killing and nuisance caller and progresses into murder. Told from the point of view of disgraced detective Mick and young teenager Hal. With much of the story being told from a younger person's viewpoint, there's always the danger that it becomes simplistic or childish, but that wasn't the case here. Hal's discoveries worked alongside Mick's as the story unfolds. I have to admit that I hadn't worked out who was behind it all by the time everything was revealed. Mostly because I'd actually forgotten about this one character, he was quite shadowy and in the background with other people pushing him out the way. I think that this was probably intentional. This was a great read and once I started I wasn't keen to put it down. This is a gripping read that draws you in completely with a well-drawn setting and compelling characters. I received a complimentary copy of this book through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

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