Emily Tempest: short, loud, sharp as a taipan's tooth.
Last seen in the award-winning Diamond Dove, Emily has a new job: an Aboriginal Community Police Officer. A cop. Not quite what she had in mind when she returned to Central Australia. But for an Aboriginal woman in a pissant mining and meatworks town, the career options are limited. And there's a car attached.
Her new boss, the dour Superintendent Cockburn, sees her role as making tea and rounding up the truants. But when one old friend is murdered out on the Gunshot Road and another one gets the blame, Emily leaps into the investigation feet first, mouth never far behind.
Crisp, colorful prose distinguishes the outstanding second Emily Tempest investigation set in the Australian Outback from Ned Kelly Award winner Hyland (after 2008's Moonlight Downs). Tempest, a half-Aboriginal, half-white police officer, clashes with her superior in the official inquiry into the murder of prospector Albert Ozolins. She doesn't think eccentric John Vincent Petherbridge (aka Wireless ) struck Ozolins a fatal blow to the throat with a geological hammer, despite Wireless's admitting he argued with the victim about Xeno's Paradox shortly beforehand. Instead, Emily suspects that the scientist's research into the snowball Earth theory, the hypothesis that the earth's surface may once have been entirely frozen over, may have given someone a motive to kill. Hyland doesn't spare his independent heroine some rough knocks. Readers who like their mysteries in exotic locales will hope this series has a long run.