From Publishers Weekly
Australian Hyland's rewarding debut opens with half-aboriginal Emily Tempest returning to the Outback blackfeller camp of Moonlight Downs after years of traveling around the world. Just as Emily is settling in, her dear friend Lincoln Flinders, a highly respected community leader, is found strangled and missing a kidney. The mutilation points to the local sorcerer, Blakie Japanangka. Emily, with the help of police sergeant Tom McGillivray, tries to track down Blakie, who has escaped into the hills. When doubts about Blakie's guilt arise, suspicion falls on several people connected to land ownership disputes, leading to a series of rather unbelievable action scenes. The true strength of this beautifully written novel lies in Emily's ambivalent feelings about her culture and her complex interactions with Hazel Flinders, the murdered man's daughter and Emily's former best friend. Their relationship, and the way Emily moves between aboriginal and white society, provide the tension lacking in the mystery half of the plot. (Feb.)
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Praise for Moonlight Downs
"[A] beguiling first mystery."—The New York Times Book Review
“Packs a real wallop . . . An epic and ambitious mystery set against the vast backdrop of Central Australia, where indigenous and white people live side by side in an uneasy truce.”—Vogue
“Incorporates geophysical data, race politics and aboriginal spirituality into a seamless, often hilarious stream of narrative. [It] has all the hallmarks of a first of a very successful series with the potential to forge a new sub-genre of detective fiction—that of a feisty, female indigenous sleuth whose intelligence and tenacity prove superior to force and ignorance.”—The Sydney Morning Herald
“Witty, knowing, at times downright hilarious. The plot is absorbing and Hyland’s characters are originals. . . . As Emily Tempest untangles the knot of a murder, she also comes to rediscover her past, her belonging and her self.”—Brisbane Courier MailFrom the Hardcover edition.