It's great to see police procedurals set in rural Australia that don't assume that everything's sinister and vaguely barking mad, and that reflects some of the dry humour, and resilience of both the cops and the locals.
KUNDELA perhaps errs a little to much to that descriptive element though, at the expense of much of the plot which seems to get a little lost and confused at points. The scenic descriptions were, however beautiful, and it's obvious that the author loves this area of Australia very much. He's also built a good cast of characters, albeit with some mixed success in the relationships. Liked the combination of Joe and his wife, that felt real and believable. Much of the newer romance elements weren't quite so convincing, and a little awkward, even self-concious.
The plot, however, is the main element that really needed work. Despite a couple of standout scenes, a lot of it was a little clunky and disjointed, and whilst the mysticism, a vital point that the author is trying to impart, somehow it felt a little too "highlighted" and not part of the natural evolution of the story. The ending really needed work as well. Whilst there is a reasonable build up, albeit with some overpadding somehow the climax of the story wasn't. It just sort of clunked to the end, leaving the distinct sense that the glider had run out of thermals.
But I've said it before, and I'll say it again, debut novels are tricky beasts and really good editors are a reader's best friend. Overall, despite some disappointing aspects, KUNDELA does show some potential - especially if the author expands on the setting and communities for which there's such obvious affection and understanding.