MOONLIGHT DOWNS by Adrian Hyland


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A native returns to the Australian Outback and encounters bloody murder in Hyland’s debut.

Emily Tempest, half Aboriginal, half stormy petrel, has been away from her home in Moonlight Downs for ten years, getting well-educated, well-traveled and thoroughly disillusioned. But now “she come home,” says a delighted Lincoln Flinders, head of the tiny Aboriginal community. Emily basks in the warmth of his welcome, but not for long. The following day, Lincoln is discovered murdered and horribly mutilated, and Emily, purposeless for so long, suddenly has a mission. She’ll bring Lincoln’s killer to justice for the sake of Lincoln’s daughter Hazel, Emily’s best friend; for her own sake; and most importantly for the sake of the Warlpuju, Lincoln’s people, left leaderless and lost. Emily soon develops an ample list of suspects. There’s Blakie Japanangka, the nightmarish, possibly insane, self-appointed keeper of the old ways. Lincoln had a violent, clearly disturbing argument with him the day of Emily’s arrival. And there’s an array of ill-disposed “whitefellers” whose reasons for disliking “blackfellers” in general and Lincoln in particular provide a bumper crop of motives. As befits her surname, Emily takes an approach to sleuthing that’s unconventional—and, because she never quits, it’s an effective one.

A bit too long, but redeemed by its colorful setting and an in-your-face heroine fetching enough to warrant a series.

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 2008
ISBN: 978-1-56947-483-9
Page count: 325pp
Publisher: Soho
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15th, 2007