It’s 1966. Hal and his little brother are newly arrived in Moorabool with their parents and 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.
Set in a dry and dusty Australian town, the Woodland crafts this world with finesse and sophistication. The nostalgic small town is packed to the brim with atmosphere and a dark ambience that Woodland weaves effortlessly throughout the book. The way he describes the town and environment almost makes you feel the heat of the outback wherever you read this. Rural Australian life has been portrayed here with the hardship and unrelenting struggle that it deserves.
Greg has a background in screenwriting and directing, and this really shows as the book almost moves like a best-selling thriller movie. There were many twists and turns throughout the novel and all executed masterfully with each plot point meticulously thought out and prepared for. This story has just the right mix of suspense and mystery, slowly building up to an unsettling and frightening conclusion.
Woodland’s character work and prose are incredibly refined and really show his attention to detail. The dual perspectives, with the disgruntled cop, and the young determined boy, was an excellent choice and kept me on the edge of my seat to the very last page. It’s clear that Woodland has put a lot of time into designing his characters to make them complex and relatable.
We recently recorded a podcast with Greg which will be up very soon as he shared the inspiration behind The Night Whistler. This is Greg’s debut novel and he has really hit the ground running. With incredible character work and a beautiful backdrop, The Night Whistler is a standout thriller that completely engrossed me in Australian gothic goodness!
Acknowledgment of Cultural Fund support
Better Reading acknowledges the support provided by Copyright Agency for us to support The Night Whistler.