book cover of Scrublands
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Scrublands

(2018)
(The first book in the Martin Scarsden series)
A novel by

 
 
Awards
2020 Barry Award for Best First Novel (nominee)
2019 John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger

In this searing, “indisputable page-turner” (Associated Press), a town’s dark secrets come to light in the aftermath of a young priest’s unthinkable last act—in the vein of The Dry and Where the Crawdads Sing.

In Riversend, an isolated Australian community afflicted by an endless drought, a young priest does the unthinkable: he kills five parishioners before being taken down himself.

A year later, journalist Martin Scarsden arrives in Riversend. His assignment: to report how the townspeople are coping as the anniversary of the tragedy approaches. But as Martin meets the locals and hears their version of events, he begins to realize that the accepted explanation��a theory established through an award-winning investigation by Martin’s own newspaper—may be wrong.

Just as Martin believes he’s making headway, a shocking new crime rocks the town. As the national media flocks to the scene, Martin finds himself thrown into a whole new mystery.

What was the real reason behind the priest’s shooting spree? And how does it connect to other deaths in the district, if at all? Martin struggles to uncover the town’s dark secrets, putting his job, his mental state, and his very life at risk.

For fans of James Lee Burke, Jane Harper, and Robert Crais,
Scrublands is “a gritty debut...sensitively rendered” (The New York Times Book Review) that marks Chris Hammer as a stunning new voice in crime fiction.


Genre: Mystery

Praise for this book

"Intelligent, thought-provoking... I loved it." - Ann Cleeves

"Chris Hammer's powerful debut Scrublands establishes his place among the handful of thriller writers who understand the importance of setting as character, deftly weaving the story of a landscape burned dry and a town whose residents are barely hanging on with a complicated mystery that could only happen in this place in exactly the way Hammer tells it. Fresh and hypnotic, complex and layered, Scrublands' gorgeous prose swept me up and carried me toward a conclusion that was both surprising and inevitable. I loved every word. Highly recommended." - Karen Dionne

"A heatwave of a novel, scorching and powerful. This extraordinary debut, perfect for readers of the magnificent Jane Harper, seared my eyes and singed my heart. Don't miss it." - A J Finn

"Compelling...highly recommended." - Dervla McTiernan


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