Phantom Wings over the North by Desmond O’Connor (A&A Book Publishing/ Short Stop Press) PB RRP $ 19.99
Reviewed by Anastasia Gonis
Part of the Australian Adventure Series, this compact pocket book of 64 pages is a fast-paced and exciting adventure set in the outback Pilbara region.
Paddy is an experienced prospector. He is alert and observant. That is why he is suspicious about the mobile laboratory staffed by men from Eastern Europe, about which little is known. Who are these men, and what is their real reason for being in this part of the Pilbara?
Paddy is also uneasy about the sounds of aircraft flying at night, especially when there’s a full moon. He discusses his concerns with best mate Bluey as he hates enigmas. He is also dedicated to the protection of flora and fauna of the region.
These concerns coincide with an arranged visit from his twin niece and nephew. They are to spend a holiday with him, learning about and putting into practice gold prospecting under Paddy’s direction, with Bluey as second man for safety.
‘Move around purposefully’ is Paddy’s advice. And the twins do, discussing any abnormalities with each other. When things don’t add up, Paddy and the twins investigate. What they uncover is an unexpected and horrifying act against the wildlife of the area.
Here is a fantastic fiction adventure that gives the reader lots of information about prospecting and the Pilbara region; and the importance of its flora and fauna. It’s told in an instructive tone without being didactic. As an added background story Bluey is badly hurt and is saved by the Flying Doctor Service. Attention is called to the threat on the area’s wildlife by well organised international illegal traffickers that stop at nothing for monetary gain. I look forward to reading more stories from this interesting series.