21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great story based around a wonderful character
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...
Published 19 months ago by Rob Kitchin
2.0 out of 5 stars unusual storyline and offbeat topic
Slightly dissapointed with flow of story. Characters were developed reasonably well. The introduction of storyline about the ecological problems facing the world and the plight of the native aboriginals in Australia should have been separated from the story and told in another book.
Published 16 months ago by davido
Most Helpful First | Newest First
21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great story based around a wonderful character,
This review is from: Gunshot Road: An Emily Tempest Mystery (Paperback)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.
16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "You can kick us and kill us and drown us in bible and booze, but you better get used to us because we're not going away.",
This review is from: Gunshot Road: An Emily Tempest Mystery (Paperback)(3.5 stars) Newly appointed Aboriginal Community Police Officer Emily Tempest has returned to her roots in Bluebush in northern Australia after more than ten years studying and traveling abroad. The daughter of Motor Jack, a white geologist/gold prospector and an aborigine mother, she grew up in her mother's culture until she was a teenager and has always felt more comfortable there. Having returned to live with "her" people when she is in her twenties, she continues to resent the intrusions of the "civilized" white world and the damage it has caused to the natural world venerated by the aborigines.
Hyland himself spent many years living and working with the indigenous people in the Northern Territories, and he vividly recreates aborigine family life, which is still nomadic and hand-to-mouth in many communities. The young people are easily attracted to alcohol and drugs, readily available in towns, more than they are to the traditional values of their elders, and the unemployment rate is stratospheric. In this second novel in the Emily Tempest series, little seems to have changed in the racial attitudes of the "whitefellers" toward the aborigines, with many police investigations, as Emily quickly sees, guided more by what investigators still expect than by what any evidence actually shows.
A smart woman, as hard as the local rocks and geological strata that have attracted opportunistic miners from all over the world, Emily can also be as quixotic and mysterious as the spirits which she and her people believe move in and out of their lives, keeping the forces of nature in balance. Filled with atmosphere, local color, and nonstop action, the novel opens with a gruesome attack at Green Swamp Well, in which a drunk, elderly prospector is found with his hammer embedded in his throat. Another prospector, also drunk, found asleep near the body, is arrested. When Emily discovers that the dead man is Doc, an old friend of her father whom she has known since childhood, and that the supposed killer is Wireless, another old friend, she is determined to help.
Hyland does not sugar-coat any aspect of life in the outback. His characters are coarse, and the action and language are sometimes even coarser. Shootings, explosions, rock falls, attempted murders, a brutal rape, and chase scenes take place even as the author is raising questions about conservation, environmental threats, and the serious problems facing indigenous communities. Aspects of the supernatural, and characters' occasional dream sequences, exist side-by-side with earthy scenes of brutality and ignorance. The novel wanders freely, introducing such a variety of different characters, their interactions, and subplots that it is sometimes difficult to identify the main themes and main plot line. Even Emily herself is sometimes so unpredictable in her behavior that she is difficult to figure. Still, for those interested in this fascinating setting and its close-up on those aborigines who must exist in close proximity to a completely alien world and way of life, it offers new insights and understandings and does so with enthusiasm and respect.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Emily Tempest is one tough gal,
This review is from: Gunshot Road: An Emily Tempest Mystery (Paperback)First Sentence: I closed my eyes, felt the ragged harmonies flowing through my head.
Emily Tempest's new career as an Aboriginal Community Police officer starts with a new, by-the-book boss and the murder of a scientist at the Green Swamp Well Roadhouse. Emily doesn't believe the man arrested is guilty. She believes his death had more to do with his research and sets out to find the real killer.
I enjoyed "Gunshot Road", but not as much as the first book. I kept feeling as though there was a book missing between this and the first book in the series, as Emily's growth seems abrupt. What bothered me even more, the author seemed to assume the reader had read the first book as there was very little character development.
There are scenes that are very painful to read. While I understand one scene of Emily wanting to leave the hospital, there's the knowledge of the book being written by a man where the protagonist can go from beating to beating without needing time to recover. Some of the scenes seem a little too opportune.
I did like the spiritual aspect and inclusion of an environment issue, even though it slightly overwhelmed by the story. In fact, although I did like the book, I was disappointed it didn't focus more on Emily and felt both she, and the plot in general became lost in the book being a classic beat-up, car-chase, threaten-the-protagonist story.
While I enjoyed "Gunshot Road", I don't know that I'll race out to buy the next book in the series.
GUNSHOT ROAD (Pol Proc-Emily Tempest-Australia-Contemp) - G+
Hyland, Adrian - 2nd in series
Soho Crime, 2010
4.0 out of 5 stars Exotic,
I recommend this book to anyone interested in a different slant on a fairly standard thriller plot.
5.0 out of 5 stars Impressive,
The book oozes class - the writing is rich or stylish and has good doses of wit. And Hyland delivers such a wonderful sense of place. The story is perhaps a little slow in the middle sections, for a mystery novel, but remains engaging nonetheless. (I am an Australian and felt comfortable with the dialogue, but I did wonder if non-Australians would struggle with the narrative. My suspicion is that after being challenged early, they'll get into the swing of things pretty easily.)
There isn't an abundance of nonsense, but some of the (many!) lucky escapes require the reader to suspend disbelief. I also thought the story didn't really need the unlikely academic finding which emerges.
But, in a wider context, these latter observations are quibbles - this was a thoroughly enjoyable and captivating read. 9/10
4.0 out of 5 stars Gunshot Road, get ready for a great plot,
I found myself wanting to get to the end as usual with a good plot but also because trying to work out what the lingo was tiring
5.0 out of 5 stars enjoyable,
2.0 out of 5 stars unusual storyline and offbeat topic,
5.0 out of 5 stars Marvellous, poetic crime story,
This review is from: Gunshot Road: An Emily Tempest Mystery (Paperback)This is simply a marvellous book. It is a crime story, and an exciting one, but more importantly the book is a poem, full of emotion and insight. Every sentence is beautiful, as the author depicts a harsh yet rich landscape that is also a character in the story, seen through the unique perspective of the most unusual and attractive detective I have come across in a long while, Emily Tempest. And as icing on the cake, there are science jokes - technology and science figure heavily in the plot, but more interestingly, are as much part of the words on the page as any other subject addressed by this talented writer.
Emily was the protagonist of Adrian Hyland's debut novel Diamond Dove (a.k.a. Moonlight Downs). As in the earlier novel, Gunshot Road is a story set among the interconnected imagery of "deaths and dreams, watercourses, tracks and plains". Emily is half Aborigine, and is half at home with the nomadic "blackfellers" who live with spirits, songs and taboos, in parallel with the "whitefeller" Australia of booze and drugs as well as an alien law and order. She is also half white, courtesy of her father, the miner and geologist Jack Tempest, and in her education and outlook is as much part of the "white" world as she's also part of the ancient, collective spirit of the tribal culture in the Northern Territory of Australia.
Emily's intuition, independence and bravery (told in the previous novel) have impressed Tom McGillivray, superintendant of the Bluebush Police Station, so he has made Emily the Aboriginal Community Liaison Officer for the region. As the novel opens, she sets off to take up her post, only to find Tom is sidelined and his replacement is less than ideal. Almost immediately, the squad is called in to the case of a murder - two old men have had a drunken argument and, it is assumed, one has killed the other with a geologist's pick while under the influence. Emily knows both men (as she knows most people in this small but dispersed community) and is not convinced. The main thrust of what follows is the story of her determination to ignore her superiors as well as everyone else, and uncover what's really going on. This, naturally, leads to all kinds of dangers on the way to full discovery and final resolution.
Gunshot Road is a superior novel to Diamond Dove in that Emily is a more real, mature person with a clearer sense of where she is headed, and the story is far more focused, which makes the fantastically portrayed background and culture much easier to absorb along with the quite complicated plot - the first half of the novel is packed with witticisms and delightfully pungent, astute observations, which slacken off somewhat in the second half, where seriousness and tragedy are more frequent.
Like its predecessor, what makes this book so wonderful is its empathy and poetry. Emily, and the Aboriginal people, live by different mores than white Australians, living through dreams, songs and strong unspoken taboos about what may or may not be said. As she tries to do her job in the "whitefeller" world, Emily is both enabled to discover facts known only to the "blackfellers" as she understands their sensitivities and they trust her. On the down side, most of the "whitefellers", police and civilians, don't understand, like or even notice her, so she encounters hideous sexism, abuse, and worse.
This is a novel that must be read. It is superb. The reader is immersed totally in Emily's persona and world, so different from anything that all but a few can have lived or know. The author's achievement is simply magnificent. I am lost in admiration for this wonderful piece of writing, in effect a long prose poem; the author's identification with his main character and the very land itself; as well as his multidimensional portrayal of a cultural group, with its contradictions and flaws, as it coexists with the "civilised" world of governments, rules and structures, in a strange parallel-but-independent way, as if the indigenous people are ghosts. The result is magic, in more than one sense of the word.
Most Helpful First | Newest First
Gunshot Road: An Emily Tempest Mystery by Adrian Hyland (Paperback - 3 Feb 2011)