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Scrublands

Chris Hammer

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Allen & Unwin
25 July 2018
Fiction & Literature; Crime & mystery; Thriller & suspense
ABBEY'S BOOKSELLER PICK ----- Riversend is a small dying rural town. It's been progressively losing services and population, and those who remain are tough, desperate and/or driven. Drought has taken its toll, but even worse, it's become known as the town where the local priest opened fire on people congregating outside his (part-time) church one Sunday morning. When journalist Martin Scarsden (who has unacknowledged PTSD) is sent out to file a report on how the town has weathered the year since that calamitous event, he quickly becomes suspicious that the received version of events is hiding the truth. Even worse, another crime is uncovered, and the media spotlight is turned fullbeam on to the grieving town, with Martin firmly in the middle. This is a cracking read, and the pages turn themselves as if fanned by the hot northerly wind. You can taste the dust! A fabulous addition to the growing rural Australian crime genre. Lindy Jones

-----

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.

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By:   Chris Hammer
Imprint:   Allen & Unwin
Country of Publication:   Australia
Dimensions:   Height: 234mm,  Width: 153mm, 
Weight:   610g
ISBN:   9781760632984
ISBN 10:   1760632988
Series:   Martin Scarsden
Publication Date:   25 July 2018
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Chris Hammer was a journalist for more than thirty years, dividing his career between covering Australian federal politics and international affairs. For many years he was a roving foreign correspondent for SBS TV's flagship current affairs program Dateline. He has reported from more than 30 countries on six continents. In Canberra, roles included chief political correspondent for The Bulletin, current affairs correspondent for SBS TV and a senior political journalist for The Age. His first book, The River, published in 2010 to critical acclaim, was the recipient of the ACT Book of the Year Award and was shortlisted for the Walkley Book Award and the Manning Clark House National Cultural Award. Chris has a bachelor's degree in journalism from Charles Sturt University and a master's degree in international relations from the Australian National University. He lives in Canberra with his wife, Dr Tomoko Akami. The couple have two children.

  • Long-listed for Best Debut Fiction 2019 (Australia)
  • Long-listed for Fiction Book of the Year - Victorian Institute of Professional Editors 2019 (Australia)
  • Long-listed for General Fiction Book of the Year 2019 (Australia)
  • Short-listed for ABIA Awards 2019 (Australia)
  • Short-listed for Best Debut Fiction 2019 (Australia)
  • Short-listed for Fiction Book of the Year - Victorian Institute of Professional Editors 2019 (Australia)

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