Diamond Dove, Adrian Hyland's first Emily Tempest novel, was one of my books of 2009. It was with great anticipation then that I waited for Gunshot Road. The novel lived up to my expectations. In Emily Tempest, Hyland has created a wonderfully engaging character; half-aboriginal, half-white, she oscillates between two worlds. Quick witted, head-strong, caring and obstinate, she ploughs her own unique path through life. In fact, the whole book is populated with well penned characters that have depth and inner life. Hyland does a great job of immersing the reader in the small, fractious communities and strained social relations of outback Australia, creating a vivid sense of place. And he has wonderful, expressive turn of phrase and lively and witty prose. The storytelling, as a whole is excellent, the plotting and narrative strong, particularly in the first half of the book. The second half does suffer a little from an attempt to build tension through a series of multiple pressure points, and increasingly shorter chapters. That said, this really is a great read and one I've already recommended to friends.