Saturday, February 20, 2010

A peek down Gunshot Road

This one has a very cool title, and the novel that follows is off to a pretty good start, too.

Gunshot Road is the follow-up to Adrian Hyland's 2007 debut, Diamond Dove (published as Moonlight Downs in the U.S.), which I called
" something wonderful ... an unabashed amateur-sleuth whodunit that works seamlessly as character study and as portrait of a setting that is probably unfamiliar to many Australians, much less to readers like me on the other side of the world."
The character is Emily Tempest, a young half-Aboriginal, half-white woman who has returned to live among her “mob,” the shifting clan of Aborigines with whom she spent her youth in Australia’s Northern Territory. The group’s leader is killed soon after Emily arrives, and circumstances force Emily into investigating.

The new novel brings Emily back, less amateur a sleuth than before, and the first chapter has her taking joyous part in a women's celebration bidding young men farewell on the eve of an initiation ceremony. It's a gorgeous chapter that will have you fantasizing about taking long voyages unless you live in Australia, in which cases the voyages will be shorter.

(Here's my review of Diamond Dove/Moonlight Downs. Soho changed the title, presumably because it already published Peter Lovesey's Peter Diamond novels, among them Diamond Dust. Diamonds are worth their weight in gold; Lovesey is one of the best and most versatile of crime writers.)
===========
Gunshot Road will be published this spring by Soho in the U.S. and Text Publishing in Australia.

© Peter Rozovsky 2010

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41 Comments:

Blogger Barbara said...

Hurrah!!! I'm really looking forward to this.

February 20, 2010  
Anonymous solo said...

Peter, I've read a few of Arthur Upfield's Bony books and liked them, and if your rave of Diamond Dove is anything to go by, Adrian Hyland is worth checking out.

I'm not a great fan of mysteries. At an impressionable age (17) I read a great/awful mystery called The Magus by John Fowles. Great because I've never more ardently wanted to know what the resolution was, awful because it had no resolution.

I'm nearly finished Bad Debts by Peter Temple. There's quite a lot of Aussie lingo in it that takes a bit of figuring out. If I ever go Down Under I'll at least know to be careful in how I use the word root.

February 20, 2010  
Blogger seana said...

Soho's great, isn't it? Takes risks in bringing a wide range of international writers to U.S. awareness in away that many bigger houses don't unless it's a "dead cert". I've been meaning to get to Hyland, and I'm thankful for the reminder.

February 20, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Barbara, here is the interview Adrian Hyland did with the students in your international crime fiction class, with thanks to you, Hyland and the students.

I mentioned what I assume is the reason for the U.S. title change for the first book. Moonlight Downs is a good title, too. It's evocative, and it's where Emily Tempest comes from. Soho's cover was surprising, though, attractive and evocative, but of a darker mood than most of the story.

February 21, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Solo, in re John Fowles and the lack of resolution, the man is a literary writer. He probably had things on his mind other than resolving a mystery.

In any case, Adrian Hyland's first book (and, to clear up any possible confusion over titles, it was Diamond Dove in the UK and therefore, I assume, in Ireland as well. I saw copies under both titles in either No Alibis in Belfast, Murder Ink in Dublin, or both) is an amateur-sleuth mystery, complete with rash wrong guesses by its protagonist. But there is at least as much interest in the affectionate and believable descriptions of the people and the territory. Hyland lives in Melbourne now, but he spent years among the Warlpiri people in Australia's Northern Territory. This is by way of saying that his books are full of observation of blackfellers, whitefellers, and the places where they meet, live and co-exist. His work holds attractions other than mystery.

I've mentioned before that slang is for me one of the great joys of Australian crime fiction. The sound of the unfamiliar words is delightful music, and the context almost always gives a good clue to the meaning, which means the pleasure of solving a little puzzle.

I've read a few of Upfield's books. Three things stick out: the magnificent and terrifying description of a fire in one, I think "The Sands of Windee"; a contrived plot device in another, and a mix of compassion and understanding and outmoded attitudes in racial matters. For readers unfamiliar with the character, Upfield's protagonist, Detective Inspector Napoleon "Bony" Bonaparte, is of mixed Aboriginal and white parentage.

February 21, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Seana, Soho was my first source for international crime fiction, Janwillem van de Wetering first, and then Qiu Xiaolong, Seicho Matsumoto amd quite a number of others. They deserve piles of credit for bring this work to the United States.

Incidentally, the cover illustration here is from the Soho advance review copy.

February 21, 2010  
Blogger seana said...

You remind me that van de Wettering was available in mass market from one of the major houses when I was introduced to them, as was Wahloo and Sjowall series. Seems quite unlikely now. I've nothing against trade paperback, but mass does have a more egalitarian feel and I think that's what's on the way out in the publishing biz.

Your description of Hyland's life among the native people makes me want to read him more than ever.

February 21, 2010  
Blogger Pat Miller said...

There's been a really nice splurge of good Australian crime fiction published recently, starting with Peter Temple's Truth, Deep Water by Peter Corris, then Garry Disher's return of Wyatt and now the long-awaited sequel to Adrian Hyland's wonderful first book (and many more, besides). They each give the Australian vernacular a good airing, too. I'm really looking forward to reading Gunshot Road, and to seeing what new cop talk Emily has to share.

February 21, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Seana, my first acquaintance with Van de Wetering came in a mass-market paperback of An Outsider in Amsterdam, though the term may be anachronistic. The novel was published in 1975, my copy was secondhand, and I'm not sure the distinction between trade and mass-market paperbacks ahd evolved in the mid-1970s. But your point is well taken.

Hyland talks about his life among the native peoples and about other matters in the interview I quoted in my review of Diamond Dove. Here's the
complete text of the interview.

February 21, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Pat, the publishing cycle is coming back to some of the authors who first got me interested in Australian crime fiction, not that, say, Peter Corris ever seems to stop publishing for more than about ten minutes. I read and liked a collection of his stories called The Big Score a few months ago. And I'd forgotten about the new Wyatt book. Thanks for the reminder.

There is some good Australian vernacular in Gunshot Road and also an expression I'd liked in Irish crime writing and that I think I had seen in Australian writing as well but that is completely alien to North American English: taking the piss.

February 21, 2010  
Anonymous kathy d. said...

I read Moonlight Downs and liked it more for the sense of place, people, traditions, beliefs, etc., rather than for the mystery.

The only other mystery I've read about Australia was The Broken Shore by Peter Temple. Great main character and dialogue, but the story underlying the murders was very gristly and violent. Also, I liked the principles of the main character, and one of the police detectives, too, being against bigotry towards the Mauri people.

I would definitely read further books by Temple and Hyland.

Any suggestions of whom to read next? Any women mystery writers to suggest?

Actually, I have seen a website for Australian women crime authors
but the books are hard to get in the public library system here.

February 21, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Thanks for the comment. I can well understand your noticing the sense of place and people above all in "Moonlight Downs." I think that's what attracted the author most and what he loves most.

Among female Australian mystery writers, Katherine Howell, Leigh Redhead and P.D. Martin come to mind.

For Peter Temple, there are the novels featuring Jack Irish: "Bad Debts," "Black Tide," and "Dead Point," which I've read, and "White Dog," which I haven't. "Truth" is variously described as a sequel to "The Broken Shore" or merely a book that features some of the same characters. I've also liked "Crook as Rookwood" by Chris Nyst, Shane Maloney's comic novels about an exasperated political handler named Murray Whelan, and books by Peter Corris, Garry Disher and David Owen (the "Pufferfish" series).

I don't know that site for Australian women crime writers. Where could I find it? I have used a few Australian crime fiction databases that you might find helpful: AustCrime and the Australian Crime Fiction Database.

February 21, 2010  
Anonymous katrap40 said...

Okay, this is shamelessly off-topic, though I am definitely going to run out and look for Adrian Hyland, but I would love for you to check out the online serial I've just started posting, Murder Under the Bridge, a mystery set in Palestine. http://murderunderthebridge.com

February 21, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

That's a bit off topic for this post, but not for this blog. Thanks.

February 21, 2010  
Anonymous kathy d. said...

Will check out the women writers from Down Under.

I found a Sisters in Crime Australia with various prizes for authors and some interesting books.

There is Kerry Greenwood, I've noted, and also Gabrielle Lord. Greenwood's books are in the public library here but Lord's have been put away except for one copy which is at the main library and for reading at the library only.

This is a big hassle and it's a new policy now; many older books are gotten rid of and only one copy is stored for library use only in the main library. This, I noted, is true of Shane Maloney's books, too.

It's impossible to do this so it'll be back to buying used books at Amazon.com or Alibris.

Await the new Hyland and will look for Temple's new one, and will check out the suggested women authors.

Found a New Zealand author, Vanda Symon, I think, online, but no books in the library and cost a fortune at Amazon.com

February 22, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Kathy, my first group of contacts when I started this blog was from Australia. The crime-fiction scene there certainly has proud and enthusiastic readers.

You mentioned some names I knew but had neglected to include in my reply. I always found ABE a good source for Australian books. And Leigh Redhead's Peepshow is published in the U.S. by The Outfit. I bought my copy at Murder by the Book in Houston, which does ship orders and deserves your support. It's a terrific store.

February 22, 2010  
Anonymous kathy d. said...

Thank you for all of these suggestions on where to purchase books from Down Under writers.

It's always great to discover a new setting; mysteries, if done well, can be so eyeopening and actually educational about the world.

Then again, so is fiction in general.

Take Scandinavia: So many of us know so much more since the number of writers grew and we're reading them.

So, on to Australia, and New Zealand, if possible.

February 22, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Kathy, I've read Paul Thomas from New Zealand. For NZ crime writing, you might want to visit Craig Sisterson's Crime Watch blog.

February 22, 2010  
Anonymous kathy d. said...

Thanks a lot.

Have you ever used Book Depository to order international books?

They say free shipping from anywhere.

February 22, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Kathy, I have not ordered through the Boko Depository, though I hear good things about it. A lot of crime-fiction readers in Australia seem to use it.

You might find some of them at the Oz Mystery Readers group on Yahoo.

February 22, 2010  
Blogger Pat Miller said...

Hi Peter, I discovered that "Take the piss" has its very own Wikipedia entry: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Take_the_piss
Of course the definition bears no relation to the composition of words - I think the Aussies and Brits like it like that!

I'm also a member of Sisters in Crime Australia. It's very active in promoting and encouraging women writers of crime fiction. It holds monthly meetings and presents two annual awards ceremonies, the Davitts for fiction/true crime writing and the Scarlet Stilettos for short story writing. On their website ( http://home.vicnet.net.au/~sincoz/welcome.htm ) is a link to the quarterly Genre Flash - a great way to keep informed about new and forthcoming Australian crime writing - by both men and women. An authors site has recently started, Clan Destine: http://www.clandestine-books.com.au/genre which is starting to round up a good group of writers.

Another online bookstore for Australian and New Zealand titles is Fishpond, but I'm not sure about their international postal rates.

Kathy, you would probably enjoy Garry Disher's police procedural series beginning with The Dragon Man. The writing is excellent if not quite as gritty as Peter Temple's, the characters are worth getting to know and the comments on Australian life are insightful. He has won the Ned Kelly award and is also very popular in Germany.

February 22, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Pat, I'll take a look at those sites. Thanks.

The theories about the origins of "take the piss" are among the least convincing I've read, but no matter. I still like the expression.

Kathy, I especially liked Garry Disher's Chain of Evidence in the series to which Pat refers.

February 22, 2010  
Blogger Pat Miller said...

Similarly to what katrap40 is doing, Australian author, P.D. Martin is writing an e-book on her blog, Coming Home: http://www.pdmartin.com.au/ebook/ . It's an interesting approach to writing, allowing her readers to 'vote' for aspects of the novel that she then incorporates into the next chapter. Ebooks look like becoming a means of distributing books globally in a more timely manner than the current publishing restrictions allow. I don't want to give up my print book reading, but if electronic distribution adds to our choices instead of narrowing them, as some fear, then it will be a big plus for writers and readers.

I concur with you, Peter, Chain of Evidence, is one of the most gripping novels in the series; it's atmosphere of sustained menace is hair-raising. It does help to have a good picture of the characters, which the earlier books develop well.

February 22, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Pat, I liked Disher's feat in Chain of Evidence of sustaining a story based on parallel investigations with the two protagonists many miles apart.

I don't know how I feel about having readers vote on aspects of a novel. I hope that becomes nothing more than a adjunct to any author's work.

February 22, 2010  
Blogger Pat Miller said...

When she was interviewed about this very issue, P.D.Martin said that she maintained control over the shape and style of the book by forming the questions as multiple choices. Of course, it's more complicated to write like this and may have an adverse effect on the flow of the writing. I will be interested to read the book in full to see if she succeeds. At the least it is an interesting marketing approach.

February 22, 2010  
Anonymous Elisabeth said...

I’ve been “fantasizing about taking long voyages” across Australia since I read Arthur W. Upfield’s 1956 “Man of Two Tribes.” I can still bring to mind his descriptions of the harsh, almost lunar landscape of the Nullarbor Plain. I am always disposed to enjoy fiction in which the landscape, rural or urban, is a key element of the story.

The Hyland book sounds interesting, although I am preconditioned to look unfavorably on the “amateur sleuth” subgenre of crime fiction. It always reminds me of Miss Marple, and her successors—“quirky” busybody ladies who have too many cats, etc. Yes, I know it’s a kneejerk reaction but I can’t help it. Maybe it’s a bit analogous to Chandler saying Hammett giving “murder back to the kind of people that commit it for reasons, not just to provide a corpse” I somehow think investigating crime should be left to the professional cop, detective, etc.

February 22, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Pat, it sounds like a lark, a long-distance version of a party game and, as you say, a marketing approach. I take it for granted that the contributors will share in any advance and royalty payments for the project.

February 22, 2010  
Blogger Pat Miller said...

Afraid not this time according to her Terms and Conditions statement. But it could still be a fun way to encourage new writers to play with the nuts and bolts of the genre then strike out on their own. I'm still ambivalent about reading books online, but I understand that young people take it pretty much for granted.

February 22, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Elisabeth, I've mentioned a few times Upfield's frightening descriptions of fire.

There is a bit of the busybody to Emily Tempest, but there are those gorgeous descriptions of the landscape. And the books are not genteel. Hyland writes about alcoholism, dispossession and harsh living conditions in addition to family feeling and ties to the land. His characters use language that would have shocked Miss Marple's readers, if not the lady herself. And issues such as land claims and mineral rights figure in the investigations -- reasons for killing well in line with the sorts of reasons Chandler attributes to Hammett.

Besides, Hyland's protagonist has become a professional cop of a sort in "Gunshot Road."

February 22, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Pat, it could be at least an entertaining exercise, as long as no one starts claiming that it will revolutionize fiction or break new boundaries or any bushwa like that. It's quite natural that young people would feel comfortable reading books on line, if that is indeed the case; young people today are thoroughly used to being tools of big corporations. To read online in the market's present state is to place one's self completely at the mercy of one or two companies that control distribution.

February 22, 2010  
Blogger Pat Miller said...

Yes, the very ideas of reality TV, personal web-camming to the world, online 'friends', celebrity/fame at any cost make my jaw drop. Sitting out here in the bleachers I wish that the current fashion in liaise faire won't result in the total dumbing down of our intellects and undermining of our personal liberties. But I may be too late in thinking that. We are already suffering from too much choice with not enough quality in the options. Social change is happening so quickly these days that this comment may no longer be relevant by the time I post it. I will continue to observe - with my fingers crossed.

February 22, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

In that case, Pat, your comment may serve as a window on the past.

I didn't come of age in the Sixties, but I remeber echoes of do-your-own-thing and the hell with capitalism and down with corporations. No one thought than that do-your-own-thing could play so thoroughly into the hands of corporations. Closest most people come to an anti-corporate stance these days is thinking they're cool for using a Mac.

February 22, 2010  
Anonymous kathy d. said...

I was a product of the sixties and loved every minute of it, and miss it all of the time. There was hope for change and human dignity, equality, justice and peace.

It was so alive; every day was full of life, of enthusiasm and hopefulness.

And as far as options, I wish there were more options for the millions who are suffering, who need jobs and health care and more.

I wish there were choices in federal spending so people could choose for funds to be spent for human needs, not destruction.

I wish the sixties would happen again, or the movement and hope of it all, this time for jobs and health care--and, of course, peace (that issue never goes away).

Yes, I'm still an optimist and I'm not a cynic, and I wish that the drat inevitably of aging were not a factor preventing me from jumping right into any resurgence of the sixties or a new thing of its own.

February 27, 2010  
Anonymous kathy d. said...

Gee, sent a comment on the 60s here last night; it isn't here. It was heartfelt.

February 27, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

And then the post-Sixties brought the hard work of translating that hope into action. Life? Enthusiasm? Hopefulness? I wouldn't mind taking a vacation in such a country.

February 27, 2010  
Blogger Pat Miller said...

An extended television interview with Peter Temple can be viewed here: http://www.abc.net.au/7.30/
[broadcast 4 March 2010].

March 04, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Many thanks. I'll take a look this evening. I hope there will be no compatability issues.

March 04, 2010  
Blogger Pat Miller said...

I hope the video won't be geo-blocked like the ABC's iView service, but if it is, here's a link to the transcript:
http://www.abc.net.au/7.30/content/2010/s2836924.htm
Enjoy!

March 04, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Thanks. I'm not sure I've had anything from Australia blocked, but I have run into the problem with material from Ireland and England. I just wanted to make sure I could get the material in some form.

March 04, 2010  
Blogger Pat Miller said...

The video may not be geo-blocked but it may be available only for a limited time. The transcript is only the broadcast portion - about 5 minutes of the full 22 minute interview. As a migrant to Australia from South Africa he spoke a lot about his background and attitudes to Australian culture and how he has used it in his writing. Much of this did not get broadcast but it is very interesting to hear him discuss it in the video.

March 04, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Thanks again. I think I'll link to this in a new post so more people can see and hear it.

March 04, 2010  

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