Are you lonesome tonight…
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.
Greg Woodland is an author, screenwriter and director. Since 2000 he’s worked as a freelance script editor and consultant for film funding bodies and the Australian Writers' Guild. The Night Whistler is his first novel.
‘A haunting, tense, and unforgettable debut.’ Christian White
'Troubling undercurrents swirl in a tense, seductively involving story of small-town secrets and obsessions.’ Garry Disher
In 1966, 12-year-old Hal Humphries, the protagonist of Woodland's haunting debut, moves with his parents and eight-year-old brother, Evan, from Sydney, Australia, to rural Moorabool. Soon after their arrival, Hal and Evan stumble upon a dead dog on the outskirts of the small town. The animal, which has been tortured and murdered, turns out to have belonged to Constable Mick Goodenough, another recent transplant to Moorabool who's on probation after being demoted from detective. Later, while Hal's father is away on a business trip, his mother receives a series of harassing phone calls from a man who whistles in an unnerving way. When the Humphries get little support from the police other than Goodenough, Hal decides to investigate on his own. The process unearths dark secrets within the tight-knit community as Hal faces betrayal by those he loves most. This enigmatic novel will disturb animal lovers, but its eerie atmospherics will enthrall others. Fans of Outback noir will want to check it out.