Set in a fictional Riverina town at the height of a devastating drought, Scrublands is one of the most powerful, compelling and original crime novels to be written in Australia.
In an isolated country town brought to its knees by endless drought, a charismatic and dedicated young priest calmly opens fire on his congregation, killing five parishioners before being shot dead himself.
A year later, troubled journalist Martin Scarsden arrives in Riversend to write a feature on the anniversary of the tragedy. But the stories he hears from the locals about the priest and incidents leading up to the shooting don't fit with the accepted version of events his own newspaper reported in an award-winning investigation. Martin can't ignore his doubts, nor the urgings of some locals to unearth the real reason behind the priest's deadly rampage.
Just as Martin believes he is making headway, a shocking new development rocks the town, which becomes the biggest story in Australia. The media descends on Riversend and Martin is now the one in the spotlight. His reasons for investigating the shooting have suddenly become very personal.
Wrestling with his own demons, Martin finds himself risking everything to discover a truth that becomes darker and more complex with every twist. But there are powerful forces determined to stop him, and he has no idea how far they will go to make sure the town's secrets stay buried.
A compulsive thriller that will haunt you long after you have turned the final page.
Why Our Staff Love Scrublands:
It’s clear that Australia is currently in the midst of a home-grown crime fiction renaissance. The genre is well and truly coming into its own here, with the rise of authors like Jane Harper, Sarah Bailey, Candice Fox and Christian White swelling the ranks of the already talented pool of Aussie crime writers. Their books are unsettling, compelling and quintessentially Australian, and we’re happy to report that Chris Hammer’s Scrublands is the latest rural crime sensation to blow its readers away.
A simmering, multi-layered mystery set in the scorched heart of the NSW Riverina region, Scrublands hooks you from the very first page. Martin Scarsden, a grizzled reporter fresh off a stint covering the Israel-Palestine conflict and battling demons of his own, comes to the drought-stricken town of Riversend to report on the 1-year anniversary of a town massacre at the hands of a charismatic priest. Suspecting that there are ugly truths hidden in the heartbreak, Scarsden gets digging and is soon neck-deep in trouble and murderous intrigue. If you’re hungrily awaiting the release of Jane Harper’s next book, you’d do well to give Scrublands a try. Just make sure you clear your weekend first - this is one book you won’t be putting down until it’s finished.