Review: Canticle Creek by Adrian Hyland


Title: Canticle Creek

Author: Adrian Hyland

Published: 1st December 2021, Ultimo Press

Status: Read December 2021 courtesy Ultimo Press



My Thoughts:


It’s been a decade since I have read Adrian Hyland’s Gunshot Road and Diamond Dove yet both Australian crime novels remain favourites, so I jumped at the opportunity to read Canticle Creek.

When Kulara police officer Jesse Redpath learns about the death of Adam Lawson, a young man from her Northern Territory community, the circumstances don’t make sense to her. Serendipitously, an invitation for her artist father to an exhibition in Melbourne, gives Jesse the opportunity to visit Canticle Creek and do a little investigating of her own.

Canticle Creek is a gripping murder mystery, just a brief examination of the crime scene is enough to convince Jesse that the police, who believe Adam killed his girlfriend, Daisy, and died when his car left the road as he attempted to flee, are wrong. Looking for an alternative narrative, Jesse puts several of the locals, and a Melbourne mobster, offside as she noses around the small community.

Hyland’s deft plotting has several suspects in the frame for the murder, and it took me a while to eliminate all but one. There’s plenty of well paced action as Jesse gets closer to the truth and becomes a target of a killer determined to stop her asking questions. A bushfire that rips through the drought stricken town also adds enormous tension in a thrilling climax.

Jesse’s an appealing protagonist, a thoughtful and capable and police officer, with investigative skills learnt from Danny Jakamarra, the Aboriginal Community Police Officer, whom she works with in Kulara. I liked the character of Possum, the teenage friend of the murdered woman, and the surprise of Nadia’s character. There’s an authenticity to Hyland’s characters generally, both in the way they talk and act, that gives them substance.

The writing is polished and engaging, and the dialogue has a familiar rhythm. The setting is recognisably Australian, Hyland’s prose effortlessly evokes the baking hot weather, and varied landscape of rural Victoria.

A well-crafted, absorbing mystery with strong characterisation, Canticle Creek is gripping crime fiction, and I hope Hyland has plans for more.


Available from Ultimo Press

Or from your preferred retailer via

Booko I Book Depository I Booktopia I Amazon

10 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Carla
    Dec 16, 2021 @ 13:11:34

    Wonderful review Shelleyrae. This is an author I am not familiar with at all, but will put this book on my wishlist and see if I can find it anywhere.



  2. Liz Dexter
    Dec 16, 2021 @ 23:53:31

    This sounds excellent and I’m craving stories about different communities to my own at the moment. Is the murder stuff really gory and gritty or is it mainly about the investigation and community, would you say?



  3. 1girl2manybooks
    Dec 17, 2021 @ 12:50:24

    Keen to read this!



  4. 🤍The Butterfly Reader 🖤 (Querying) (@sweet_cherry69)
    Dec 18, 2021 @ 06:05:50

    I’ve never heard of this author but this book sounds pretty good!

    Liked by 1 person


  5. Helen Murdoch
    Dec 18, 2021 @ 12:11:06

    You never steer us wrong with a good Aussie crime novel!



  6. Mystica
    Dec 19, 2021 @ 18:46:13

    New author for me but I did like the review very much.



  7. Trin Carl
    Dec 20, 2021 @ 02:25:39

    I love me some police officer stories and now that my brother is a cop in Texas I’m sure I’ll have more nonfiction ones (wink)



  8. Trackback: It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #SundayPost #SundaySalon | book'd out
  9. Tina c
    Dec 27, 2021 @ 00:43:54

    I love your review and have added this book to my Goodreads to-read list. I sometims have trouble getting the Australian authors here but I will be looking for this author.

    Liked by 1 person


I want to know what you think! Your comments are appreciated.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s