BOOK REVIEW: The Night Whistler by Greg Woodland

Publication Date: May 11, 2021
Format: Kindle
Genre:  Fiction, Thrillers, Crime

Publisher: Backlist      
400 pages
Buy:  Kindle Paperback 


An old van in the scrub, a phantom caller, and a long-forgotten murder. A lonely cop and an inquisitive kid must make the connection...

It’s 1966 and the Australian Summer is as unrelenting as ever. Hal and his family have just come to live in Moorabool. On a day out, battling the heat, Hal and his little brother are exploring the creek near their new home when they find something almost too gruesome to believe… Enter Constable Mick Goodenough. Recently demoted from his big-city job as a detective, Goodenough is also new in town – and one of his dogs has gone missing… He soon finds out, pets have a habit of disappearing in Moorabool. Soon, Hal’s mother starts getting late-night phone calls. A man whistling, then hanging up. Only Goodenough, alone among the Moorabool cops, takes her seriously. But will that be enough to keep this young mother and her young sons safe?

Nostalgic yet immediate, simmering with small-town menace, Greg Woodland’s debut populates the rural Australia of the ‘60s with memorable characters and near-unbearable tension. Who is the night whistler, and just what does he want with Hal’s family…?


I received this book free from Backlist through Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

I wasn't sure about this book at first but the more I read the more I found I was really involved in the story.  Set in the 1960's in a small town in Australia Hal and his brother Evan often go exploring their new town. What they find is a dead dog, an abandoned caravan that holds a mystery and an aboriginal girl Hal's age. His dad begins traveling for work and thats when strange phone calls start happening at Hals home.  Being a young boy who loves a good mystery he decides to play detective.  He finds clues but no one really takes him seriously.

Mack Goodenough is a cop who was demoted from his detective job to a small town probationary constable. He knows police work.  But his fellow officers and boss seem to like to brush things under the rug and do as little work as possible.  And if there is an aboriginal person involved its always their fault.  When Mick finds his beloved German Shepard has been tortured and murdered he wants to find the culprit.  However his boss doesn't want to spend time on animal cruelty.  However when Mick starts finding that there are a lot of missing pets and the ones they have found all have a similar method of death he starts to wonder if there isn't a connection. 

Really interesting story that also give you a glimpse into the past.  It also shows that the United States isn't the only place with issues surrounding people of color, especially back in the 1960's. I really hope this is the start of a series because I would like to see more of Mick and see where he goes from here.  Hal is also very sympathetic and I could easily see him tagging along behind Mick to learn the ropes of being a detective. 

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