'A heart-wrenching mystery . . . A stellar debut.' Jane Harper
My best friend wore her name, Esther, like a queen wearing her crown at a jaunty angle. We were twelve years old when she went missing.
On a sweltering Friday afternoon in Durton, best friends Ronnie and Esther leave school together. Esther never makes it home.
Ronnie's going to find her, she has a plan. Lewis will help. Their friend can't be gone, Ronnie won't believe it.
Detective Sergeant Sarah Michaels can believe it, she has seen what people are capable of. She knows more than anyone how, in a moment of weakness, a person can be driven to do something they never thought possible.
Lewis can believe it too. But he can't reveal what he saw that afternoon at the creek without exposing his own secret.
Five days later, Esther's buried body is discovered.
What do we owe the girl who isn't there?
Character-rich and propulsive, with a breathtakingly original use of voice and revolving points of view, Hayley Scrivenor delves under the surface, where no one can hide. With emotional depth and sensitivity, this stunning debut shows us how much each person matters in a community that is at once falling apart and coming together.
Esther will always be a Dirt Town child, as we are its children, still.
'You will not be able to put it down.' Hannah Kent
'Masterful. Australian crime has a new star.' Chris Hammer
Praise for Dirt Town:
'A heart-wrenching mystery, Hayley Scrivenor's remarkable sense of place brings Dirt Town to life. A stellar debut.' - Jane Harper
'Dirt Town is a remarkable debut, Hayley Scrivenor masterful in her deft handling of the tensions underpinning a small, regional town, and the complex characters that populate it. You will not be able to put it down.' - Hannah Kent
'I loved this. What wonderful writing. Scarily good! . . . Masterful. Australian crime has a new star. The characters of Dirt Town are rich, raw and beautifully realised. One of the crime books of the year. Intelligent, nuanced and compassionate.' - Chris Hammer
A brilliant Aussie debut, perfect for fans of Jane Harper.
Dirt Town centres around the disappearance of 12 year old Esther Bianchi and everyone in small, rural Durton is a suspect.
Told through multiple perspectives, this gut-wrenching mystery will keep you on the edge of your seat right until the very end. - Alison (QBD)
An amazing debut novel with so many plot twists I couldn't stop reading! Such beautiful, heart-breaking characters with an ending I did not expect! If you love a faced-paced mystery read that will have you hooked from the first page then this is your book! - Chelsea (QBD)
This book will tear at your heart strings with a mother's anguish, this book gives us a look at how a missing child effects all in this town. What is unique in common plot, is that in between chapters we hear from a collective We, the children of the town. - Abbey (QBD)
The story is told from several points of view: Sarah, the Detective Sergeant leading the case; Ronnie, Esther's best friend; Lewis, another school friend; Constance, Esther's mother and we who are the collective children of the town...This is an outstanding piece of literary crime, told with a uniquely Australian voice hat reminded me of Craig Silvey. - Karen (QBD)
Dirt Town is a stunning debut novel from new Australian writer Hayley Scrivenor.
We are taken on a journey of three young friends. Esther never makes it home from school, Ronnie will do anything to find her best friend, and Lewis who may know more than he is letting on.
Fans of The Dry will eat up this heart-wrenching mystery which makes us ask, what do we owe those who are no longer here? - Jazmin (QBD)
Ronnie and Esther always walk home from school together. In a small country town like theirs, the watchful eye of a parent isn't needed, everyone knows everyone and nothing out of the ordinary ever happens. Except today. Today, Ronnie and Esther walk home together. Today, Esther never makes it home. Today, a community will be ripped open and the secrets hidden within will come spilling out. - John (QBD)
Dirt Town is a mystery you will never forget. A missing girl, persistent friends, a heart-wrenching search and unforgettable characters who all have their secrets.
A book about social construct, Intellectual Disability, Drug Use, Domestic Violence and LGBTQIA+ themes, Dirt Town uncovers how sinister some secrets can actually be.
'A heart-wrenching mystery... A stellar debut.' Jane Harper - Tani (QBD)
Dirt Town is how the locals refer to their home. This graphic broad reaching social commentary uses a unique narrative style to discuss how quickly our decisions can change us from good to evil. Set in the early 2000s Dirt Town takes you back to a simpler time with land lines and Dunkaroos. Poignantly written, Dirt Town stays with the audience long after the final chapter is read. - Kara (QBD)
This debut novel from Hayley Scrivenor provides a page turning, complex mystery with intriguing twists while maintaining a air of vagueness as the reader tries to piece together who the suspect is.
A multilayered story with compelling characters that offer a heartbreaking narrative that creates a melancholic feel across the whole town that the story takes place in. Highly recommend. - Josh (QBD)
Hayley Scrivenor sets the scene for her atmospheric crime novel in the rural town of Durtton (Dirt town), where we hear the heart renching narrative of the friends and family of the missing girl Esther. We learn everyone has secrets,and what they are truly capable of. A great read and a wonderful new voice to Australian crime. Perfect for fans of the rural crime genre e.g Harper, Hammer, Disher - Vanessa (QBD)
Durton aka Dirt Town is the setting of this explosive debut novel from Hayley Scrivenor. Ronnie and Esther are best friends and one afternoon Esther doesn't make it home from school. The story is told through POV chapters and is filled with so many secrets, lies, shocks, thrills and twists. Continuing in the rich vein of Australian rural crime thrillers this one is not to be missed. - Sean (QBD)
Hayley Scrivenor's Dirt Town is *THE* crime book to read in 2022! Scrivenor's debut, set in the small town of Durton, follows the disappearance of a young girl, Esther. Written with a choir of voices, Dirt Town unravels small town secres and lies over the course of a week. An Australian crime debut for the ages, and perfect for fans of Jane Harper and Chris Hammer. This is a 5/5 must read book! - Dion (QBD)