Tracks of the Missing

Magabala Books
Carl Merrison, Hakea Hustler
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Age range 12+

‘There must be payback.’

‘There must, you are right,’ Grandfather agrees.

‘What can you offer in exchange?’

Grandfather holds up his arms, open, offering himself as a sacrifice. ‘I am old.’

Deklan ‘Dek’ Archer and his mates arrive at school to a tense atmosphere. ‘Old Mate’, Mr Henry, who has lived in town for a long time, has been found murdered. He had been selling grog on the black market for years. To add to these worries, the Year 12s, who were on camp, are now missing. The police think there is a link between the missing students and the murder.

Dek and his friends are torn. Dek and Willum, his best mate, have an important football match that evening – professional recruiters are in town. Neither wants to let their coach down but they feel they must search for their friends.

Deklan’s grandfather, a renowned tracker with certain otherworld gifts turns up, and expects him to go bush. This choice will change Dek’s life and family forever. A journey that moves deep in to an ancient landscape uncovers secrets, and the past, which is never far away, continues to call them.

Both are tracking the truth but something is watching and hunting them.

Contributor Bio

Carl Merrison is a Jaru/Kija man from the Kimberley with a passion for youth issues and voice. He is a youth mentor, football coach and program co-ordinator. Carl was runner-up for the 2016 WA Local Hero Award.

Hakea Hustler is an experienced English teacher who has taught around Australia including in remote Aboriginal communities. Hakea is committed to Indigenous education with a particular focus on story as learning and empowerment. Together, Carl and Hakea’s debut novella Black Cockatoo was published by Magabala Books in 2018 and was shortlisted for the Readings Children’s Book of the Year, shortlisted in the CBCA Young Reader category, shortlisted for an ABIA award, selected as a feature text for the 2018 Summer Reading Challenge.

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