Reviews

Canticle Creek by Adrian Hyland

caroclaw's review

Go to review page

dark mysterious tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

3.5

kurbanski's review against another edition

Go to review page

adventurous funny mysterious fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? No
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? No

4.0

vandermeer's review against another edition

Go to review page

1.0

Ich fand es brutal schlecht geschrieben und bin überhaupt nicht in den Flow gekommen.

jodicleghorn's review against another edition

Go to review page

dark mysterious medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? No

4.25

kcfromaustcrime's review against another edition

Go to review page

5.0

It's been way. too. long. since the last Emily Tempest novel from Adrian Hyland was published. Been way too long since anything from Adrian Hyland was published, so I will admit to some serious stack reshuffling when CANTICLE CREEK arrived. Not a shred of disappointment about the decision to sit down and read the first novel featuring NT Police Officer Jesse Redpath. (I say first novel with some determination - this is a series in the making if there ever was one).

Jesse Redpath is a cop in the small NT community around Kulara, and she was more than prepared to stick her neck out with the court system when local Adam Lawson got into a spot of legal trouble. Setting him up to live with her eccentric artist father, she's shocked and confused to find he vanished from there, only to die, supposedly fleeing the scene of a murder, in a small community in the hills outside Melbourne. Luckily an invitation for her father to exhibit some art in Melbourne gives Jesse and her Dad a reason to head down to Victoria, and do a bit of snooping around. Neither of them can believe that Adam would kill his girlfriend Daisy, and everything about the case, including his car leaving the road when he was supposedly attempting to flee with scene, makes any sense.

Jesse's a fabulous, strong, believable character who arrives in Victoria determined to find the truth no matter what. Supported in her determination by her father, they end up staying in the small artistic community that Daisy and Adam had lived in, digging into some dodgy logging practices, unearthing some suspect connections to Melbourne mobsters along the way. There's plenty of threat, personal and community based, and there's a good supporting cast, as well as fabulous sense of a place. Not specifically named, I'd be prepared to take a relatively informed guess is influenced by the area around the Kinglake Ranges.

A gripping murder mystery at it's heart, with a clever, deftly constructed and extremely believable plot, Hyland uses this opportunity to celebrate natural beauty in the experience of his characters, and through the eyes of the artists he's incorporated in his cast of well-constructed people. He has a particular skill when it comes to writing female viewpoints, from Jesse, through to Possum, the teenage friend of Daisy, and Possum's own family (with whom the Redpath's are staying). The observations and asides of these people build a picture of the location, and the characters within it in a very natural, Australian way, and he knows exactly how to convey dialogue, and cadence of speech amongst friends and strangers that just works. Then there's the depiction of fire in a drought ridden landscape that's terrifying and informative.

Hyland's always been one of my unsung heroes of Australian Crime Fiction. His characterisations are right up there with the best of them, his dry wit and dialogue as good as it gets, and his understanding and observation of the landscape perfect. Every single Indigenous character he brings to the page is beautifully executed, and his respect and love of the people and their interactions with country and each other has always been spot on. As it is again with Jesse Redpath, and her belief in a young man who deserved better than the dismissive assumptions of those that didn't know him, didn't try to understand him, and were more than happy to use him as a convenient scapegoat, and a young woman whose death deserved a lot more than the cursory investigation undertaken.

https://www.austcrimefiction.org/review/canticle-creek-adrian-hyland

booksbybindu's review against another edition

Go to review page

5.0

‘Canticle Creek’ is full of tension, suspense and has a kick-ass female protagonist to boot! This is the first book that I have read by this author but it won't be the last as I thoroughly enjoyed this one. Hopefully, this is the start of a series as I would love to read more about Jessie Redpath!

Jessie Redpath is a cop in the Northern Territory, Kalura. Since she took over crime has fallen dramatically and she has her own unique way of doing things. When Adam Lawson goes up against the Magistrates she asks that rather being sent to prison, he should be allowed to live with her father, a local artist and work at the local pub as his community sentence. Both Adam and Ben Redpath are artists and Adam settles down for a time. But when he falls in love with a girl he heads down to Melbourne to be with her breaking his parole. When Jessie is told that Adam has been found dead and that he also killed his girlfriend, she is shocked. She doesn't believe that Adam is capable of this. So her and her dad head to the place he was found, a small town near Melbourne to unofficially look into the deaths.

Jessie is a great person to have your back! Loyal to the end, full of life and love and highly intuitive and intelligent. I loved her as a person and an investigator. The relationship between her and her dad was amazing and it was a breath of fresh air for a crime novel to have this. Jessie is a normal human without the usual tropes of crime fiction and was a great character because of this!

I was hooked by this book from the start and despite being ill I devoured it in a couple of days. It has such a sense of location and history. I found it to be captivating and alluring actually. It deals with a lot of dark issues but manages to put a positive and hopeful spin on them which isn't easy to do. It was unpredictable and I definitely did not see the twist coming until that final reveal!

Hopefully, this is the start of a series as I would willing read anything about Jessie.

Let me know if you pick this one up!

ajitate's review against another edition

Go to review page

5.0

It took me a while to get into the sway of Hyland's unique voice, but once I was used to it, it was addictive. Some of his expressions are so Australian (uniquely Northern Territorian perhaps?) I had to look up a few myself! Hyland also has a one-two punch way of describing things, sometimes in the most blokey offhand way, he had me either laughing at, or underlining, his words. His observations are highly intelligent and you can tell they're backed by his amazing life experiences, many of which have been accumulated living amongst indigenous people.

The protagonist Jesse Redpath is one I hope Hyland continues with. There's a lot more to be done with her if he has a mind to do it. Personally, I wasn't utterly convinced Hyland had the hang of being in a woman's head, and I think I would have found her more convincing/authentic if she'd turned out to be gay, but my quibbles aside, if Hyland writes another Jesse Redpath, I'll definitely be reading it. Lots of unexplored depth there - just what you want for a series!

Read this book for high entertainment, but expect also to pick up some solid education along the way...about art, the bush, clan labs, tracking, witty Australian slang, and much else besides.

Oh, and PS: this cover has to be the most exquisite I've seen for many a day. I couldn't stop admiring it.

lollylauren1's review against another edition

Go to review page

3.0

The storyline was good. Some of the writing was unnecessarily complicated.

rh747's review against another edition

Go to review page

dark mysterious tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Plot
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? It's complicated

3.25

just_wants_to_read's review against another edition

Go to review page

4.0

Jesse Redpath isn’t from Canticle Creek. She’s a police officer stationed in the Northern Territory but she’s come to Canticle Creek to find out what happened to Adam Lawson whose wrecked car was found not far from the body of Daisy Baker. The whole town assumes that Adam killed her but Jesse doesn’t believe that Adam would have committed murder.

Adrian Hyland has so beautifully written about Australia and its many landscapes. The story is filled with suspense and a long list of characters who could have been involved. I really had no idea how it was all going to tie together. I hope in the future that Jesse will make another appearance, she was a great lead character.

Another fantastic Australian novel.