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Diamond Dove
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New or Used: 2 copies from $13.95
Take a nail-biting mystery, an epic setting and a heroine with a talent for stirring things up. Throw in an affectionate flogging of outback Australia's melanoma-encrusted hide - and Diamond Dove may be the wittiest and most gripping debut of the year.
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Emily Tempest is greeted with a warm welcome when she returns to the remote Northern Territory Aboriginal community of Moonlight Downs, where she spent much of her youth. However, within a couple of days the hotheaded young woman is causing division among the community's elders and soon one of them is found dead, apparently the victim of a grisly act of tribal retribution. Driven by guilt, Emily is desperate to find the man's killer, but in the process her investigation threatens to tear the small group apart for good. Author Adrian Hyland spent 10 years with the Warlpiri people of the Northern Territory, and his thorough knowledge of Indigenous culture, language and belief is evident in pieces of beautifully constructed dialogue and his sensitive evocation of the Australian outback. While entirely appropriate to the protagonist's voice, the narrative is initially slow and meandering. Some crime readers will find this frustrating but, for those content to settle in and enjoy the storytelling, this is an engrossing mystery set in an Australia that, for many of us, is just as foreign as Donna Leon's Venice or Barbara Nadel's Turkey. A promising debut. Sophie Groom is the marketing manager for Leading Edge Books

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