Scrublands by Chris Hammer
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ISBN
9781760632984
Date Released
Binding
Paperback
 
Dimensions
153 x 234mm
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Other Titles by Chris Hammer

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Reviews
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.
ISBN:
9781760632984
Publication Date:
25 / 07 / 2018
Dimensions:
153 x 234mm
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A priest open fires and murders five men, before dying. An obsessive thriller that will haunt you long after you have turned the final page. - Stacey (QBD)
, 26/08/2018
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Scrublands is captivating from page one. A priest open fires on his congregation, a love interest with secrets and a town full of imagery - what more could you want with a thriller? - Cassandra (QBD)
, 26/08/2018
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Crime fiction can be a ficle genre, lucky for us we have Chris Hammer. Set in a hide-away Australian town, Riversend, journalist Martin Scarsden is on the hunt for the true strory behind a mass shooting at the local church conducted by none other than the much loved priest. If you're a lover of Gary Disher and Candice Fox this novel is definitley one for the library. It's a ripper! - Grace (QBD)
, 08/08/2018
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Chirs Hammer's 'Scrublands' is just as blunt and punchy as the name of the author himself. With strong twists and incredible characterisation, this author has changed the crime genre for good. As a lover of crime and a patriot of our great country, i'll always support inspiring Australian crime writers. If you're like me, you can't afford to miss this one! - Samuel (QBD)
, 04/08/2018
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Scrublands is a book that will keep you up until the early morning with it's compelling storyline and dynamic characters. It will leave you both wanting more and scared. The scariest part? It is based in small town Australia and has every possibility of being true. - Fiona (QBD)
, 03/08/2018
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This fantastic novel grabs you from the first page. There is no denying that the Priest did what he did. But what was his real motive. This is where journalist Martin Scarsden comes in. Sent to the town by his editor to write a piece 12 months after the incident, he quickly finds things are not as they seem. Twists and turns aplenty in this great read that keeps you guessing until the end. - Peter (QBD)
, 03/08/2018
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Scrublands is an iconic Aussie novel set in an country town that highlights the beauty & terror that can come from such isolation. The novel pieces together the haunting story of what happened in Riversend, sparking national interest. Hammer draws from his experience as a journalist presenting an authentic and unique perspective. Fans of thriller & real aussie grit will be captivated. - Danielle (QBD)
, 03/08/2018
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A small town already trying to cope with the severe loss brought on by a seemingly endless drought is left devastated when their priest shoots five parishioners and gets killed himself. Years later a journalist is trying to make sense of the seemingly unprovoked attack and the town's dark past and its secrets are unravelled. A chilling and atmospheric novel based in the Australian outback. - Elinor (QBD)
, 03/08/2018
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First time author Chris Hammer has hit the nail on the head. Think "the dry on steroids". The start just grabs you and from there on your hooked - Philip (QBD)
, 03/08/2018
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Gripping, multi fascited, thrilling are just a few words I would use to discrible Chris Hammer's Scrublands. His journalistic prowess shines through in fantastic work of fiction so good that it could actually be true... A must for any fans of Jane Harper or Peter Temple - Melanie (QBD)
, 03/08/2018
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If you're looking for interesting and believable characters involved in a complex and multifaceted plot, then Scrublands is the book for you. Set in a very realistic dead-end town, A reporter discovers the truth behind a mass murder from a year ago. Pacing and use of Descriptive Language leave a little to be desired but the setting, characters, and twists more than make up for it. - Nathan (QBD)
, 03/08/2018
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Riversend. You can smell the red earth, feel the dry heat and can almost smell the imminent threat of fire in the air. Once the scene is set, the why did he do it takes over. What was the reason behind the rampage? What made the priest snap? How does this all involve Martin? This book is a feast for anyone obsessed with a gritty mystery. - Chaille (QBD)
, 03/08/2018
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This is an amazing murder mystery set in a small rural town called Riversend, in the middle of drought stricken Australia. A compelling story with many twists and turns. Not so much a who dunnit but a why dunnit. Lots of secrets exposed, surrounded by the relentless heat of the outback. A great read by a great Aussie author. - Jo (QBD)
, 03/08/2018
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This thriller will leave you wanting more. Set in a drought ridden town in outback Australia, a journalist's visit uncovers more than meets the eye. An out of control priest, a shooting, and an unspoken knowledge that the mainstream account of the events may not be true will keep you guessing. In the age of "fake news" being thrown about, this book will make you question what the truth is! - Dion (QBD)
, 03/08/2018
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If you loved the Dry by Jane Harper then you'll love Scrublands by debut Australian Author Chris Hammer. This book is set in outback NSW during a heatwave, where a journalist is sent to report on a priest who opened fire on five parishioners, but he finds a lot more shocking details about the town and it's people. A brilliant read. - Bill (QBD)
, 03/08/2018
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Growing up in a small town myself, I can relate to the desperation and struggles that bring the characters to life in this shock & awe thriller. As the rumours start and the twists begin in this new Australian thriller, you will be guessing who the real villans are, right till the end. In this desolate landscape of what is relavant today, this thriller will show that tradgedy can happen anywhere. - Christopher (QBD)
, 03/08/2018
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The opening of Scrublands is very reminiscent of what is happening in Australia right now with the droughts that are affecting small towns. It is a fantastic crime read, from the first paragraph it grabs you and you cant put it down until the end. Why would a small town priest commit a mass murder?? What drove him to do such a thing?? To answer these questions you will have to read to see. - Louise (QBD)
, 03/08/2018
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Chris Hammer caught my attention from the get go. He has crafted an eerie, mystery filled with beautiful, yet formidable, Australian landscapes. The haunting tale of a man of God turning on his own congregation fills you with a realism I haven't felt in a book for some time. - Lisa (QBD)
, 03/08/2018
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The prose of this one was a real eye opener to the environment of a rural community in drought. It felt as if I'd taken the trip myself, walking the midday heated street, deserted of all people, following the trail alongside Journalist Martin Scarsden seeking remnants of a tragedy for an anniversary article. - Allison (QBD)
, 03/08/2018
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Chris Hammer's debut novel, Scrublands explores the rural life in Australia. The crime thriller ensures readers get to know the characters before drawing conclusions. For lovers of Jane Harper's 'The Dry', Scrublands will leave you breathless at the turn of every page. - Kirsty (QBD)
, 03/08/2018
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Scrublands will sink its teeth into you from the first chapter...and it won't let go. Chris Hammer has captured the feel of the harsh Australian landscape and the twisted psyche of a town in the grip of a crisis. This book is a complexly woven psychological thriller that is reminiscent of Jane Harper's The Dry, and it will stay with you long after you've turned the last page. - Danielle (QBD)
, 03/08/2018
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Another fantastic Aussie novel hits the reviews! Chris Hammer has definitely done his research regarding the struggles with country life & the crimes that go along with it. Journalist Martin Scarsden arrives in Riversend to follow up 1 year later of a priest going on a deadly rampage. What he uncovers will leave you guessing who & why all throughout the book. A read that was finished in 2 days - Sally (QBD)
, 03/08/2018
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Great murder mystery set in a tiny Australian town in the middle of the drought stricken outback! Hammer has a lot of fun adding handfuls of extra contents to his already great plot... This will be the novel that all crime fiction fans will want to make sure they read and would look great on the small screen! If you enjoyed The Dry by Jane Harper you will like this book. - Karen (QBD)
, 03/08/2018
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If you are looking for a thrilling crime story then look no further. The story captures you from the opening pages when the town priest shoots dead five of his parishioners before Sunday church services and then being shot dead himself. Journalist Martin Scarsden goes to Riversend a year later, a desolate, drout effected town with so many secrets that will keep you intrigued until the last page - Mark (QBD)
, 03/08/2018
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If you liked the Dry by Jane Harper you will love this explosive thriller set in a small Australian town in the outback during a terrible drought. There are many twists and turns in this story about a massacre by a priest in a tale of reputation and redemption. A must read for lovers of crime fiction. - Colette (QBD)
, 03/08/2018
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Scrublands is a very orignal and compelling read. Explosive and complex from start to finish. Scrublands has you on the edge of your seat the whole time and upon finishing..has you wanting more. Hammer really put his work into this one. Must Read!! - Nick (QBD)
, 03/08/2018
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Riverend. Drought Struck. Torn apart. Hiding a dangerous truth? Intending to write a fluff piece about the country town destroyed by one priest's act of unthinkable violence, Martian Scarsden accidentally stubles into a labyrinth of deciet and must uncover the true motive behind Priest Byron's massacre before it's too late. This is one debut that will stick with you long after the final page. - Kale (QBD)
, 03/08/2018
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I love a good, intense, evocative, well written crime thriller and this novel has not disappointed. Scrublands is a complex, compelling mystery, a great read that focuses on the 'why' rather than the 'who'. A gritty crime thriller where the plot weaves an intricate journey through the heart of a town devastated by the harshness of the Australian outback. Recommend for fans of Harper's "The Dry". - Elizabeth (QBD)
, 03/08/2018
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The local priest guns down several parishioners before his own immediate death. One year later, journalist Martin Scarsden is sent to the outback town to write an article on the tragic event and is met with locals that offer discrepencies against the media's potrayed truth. Scrublands is a mystery that will leave you hanging for more, perfect for fans of The Chalkman and The Dry. - Sheila (QBD)
, 03/08/2018
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This haunting crime thriller about a small country town suffering from drought and a tragedy will stay with you long after you finish reading it. Chris Hammer has pieced together a clever story, leaving you guessing at every character's motivation and honesty. This is not the sort of book I normally read, but I'm so glad I picked this one up! - Alexandra (QBD)
, 02/08/2018
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What was once a small friendly community, turned upside down and inside out by a sudden and surprising massacre, commintted by the town priest. This desolate town is where journalist Martin will try to uncover the secrets that the town hides, and answer the question; who was Byron Swift? - Kylie (QBD)
, 02/08/2018
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Scrublands keeps you guessing right till the very end - why did the priest do what he did? Well written and researching Australian fiction that keeps you guessing all the way through. - Julie (QBD)
, 02/08/2018
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A gripping crime novel set in a drought ridden country town of rural Australia. Scrublands is a cleverly crafted tale featuring in-depth characters, an extraordinary landscape and unexpected plot twists. This page turner will have you invested from beginning to end. - Simone (QBD)
, 02/08/2018
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When journalist Martin Scarsden heads to Riversend, he expects to find a small, drought striken country town, quietly living in the shadow of a horrific mass murder that took place there 12 months prior. But as Martin prepares to write a feature on the depleted town, a darker story begins to unfold. What lies beneath the sand and summer haze of Riversend is a murkier story than Martin could ever imagine. Hammer depicts the struggles of country life in vivid colour, inviting the reader into the dark heart of Riversend. As you picture yourself amongst the dusty outback, you will have yourself questioning; what brings a beloved local priest to shoot dead five parishioners, and what would bring an entire town to defend him? 'Scrublands' is an immersive and compelling read, perfect for anyone who wants to be completely engulfed by a chilling, thoroughly Australian thriller. - Olivia (QBD)
, 02/08/2018
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Riversend is a shrinking country town with secrets. A hideous crime has been committed and a year on, the residents are still struggling to stay. Writer Martin Scarsden arrives to write a profile of Riversend, but finds himself sweating in a miasma of lies, rumours and drought-stricken summer. What happened that day Byron Swift opened fire? An amazing debut by an author to keep an eye on. - Shannon (QBD)
, 02/08/2018
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Giving an insight into the struggles of a drought riddled outback town, Scrublands is captivating from the first page. Hammer provides the reader with plenty of twists and turns, maintaining the suspence throughout. A must read for fans of crime fiction and thrillers, this tale will suck you in and spit you out after reaching it's heart stopping crescendo. - Barbara (QBD)
, 02/08/2018
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Perfect for fans of the dry, Scrublands, is a tense and haunting thriller masterfully executed. Set in rural NSW Chris Hammer paints a vivid picture of the dark and convoluted history of Riversend and the explosive secrets that threaten to rip it apart. Deeply atmospheric and crackling with tension Scrublands will linger long after the final page. - Lindsay (QBD)
, 02/08/2018
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The opening chapter of this book will send your mind reeling. It's a hard life in a small country town trying to survive a drought that is never ending, a young priest that gives hope and encourages everyone to work and support each other suddenly opens fire and kills 5 of his flock before he's shot . It's not a who did it but a why did he do it. The twists and turns will keep you up all night. - Karen (QBD)
, 02/08/2018
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Chris Hammer's Scrublands is one of the best crime writing debuts I have read since Jane Harper's The Dry. From the very beginning you're thrown into the atmospheric town of Riversend thanks to the amazing writing by the author. You can almost feel the heat of the town bearing down on you as you read. Once you start at the chilling prologue you won't stop until you reach the unexpected ending. - Andrew (QBD)
, 02/08/2018
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A stunning debut novel by Australian journalist, now author Chris Hammer. Set in a small drought stricken town in NSW, a terrible crime has been commited. As the anniversary of the towns church massacre draws near, journalist Martin Scarsden heads to the town to report on how the locals are coping. A thrilling page-turner asking not "who did it?" by "why?" - Stacey (QBD)
, 02/08/2018
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Be captured immediately into this thrilling and complex woven crime thriller set in rural Australia. It is atmospheric with loads of twists and turns keeper the reader guessing till the end. An impressive debut fiction. - Gina (QBD)
, 02/08/2018
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A must-read for fans of the 'The Dry'. Hammer's writing is stark yet descriptive: the main character (loosely) informed by his own journalism career, and the setting drawn from his travels around drought-stricken Australia. The book is shocking in places, but this I expected; it grabs you in the first chapter and doesn't let go!!! - Amy (QBD)
, 02/08/2018
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From the first chapter, you are instantly transported to Riversend though the author's wonderfully descriptive language. Scrublands didn't mess around, throwing us head first into the action and the drama from the very first page. Absolutely a must read for anyone looking for a new mystery thriller, and for fans of Jane Harper's 'The Dry'. - Cassie (QBD)
, 02/08/2018
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Martin Scarsden is a journalist struggling with his own demons when he is sent to a dying, desolate country town to do a feature story a year after a Priest took a gun and shot down 5 local townsfolk. Whilst researching and interviewing locals, more revelations about the shooting and the Priest come to light. For fans of Aussie crime fiction. - Belinda (QBD)
, 02/08/2018
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It is an old writing adage to “write what you know.” As an experienced author of more than thirty years' standing, Chris Hammer was well placed to write a novel that has a journalist as its central character. Hammer's research for his previous, non-fiction work, The River, which examined parts of drought-stricken eastern Australia during the 2008-09 summer, gave him a solid research backing to place this novel in a similar situation. While Scrublands is the debut novel for Hammer, it is the latest in a number of crime/mystery novels set in rural Australia. Chris Hammer has written a compelling story, full of twists, turns and complications. I found it an exciting read. If you enjoyed The Dry by Jane Harper, then you will be sure to also enjoy Scrublands. - Ross (QBD)
, 01/08/2018
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Written by a local Canberra author this book is set in a small drought stricken town much like Kiewarra in Jane Harpers The Dry. A journalist comes to town to interview the townsfolk on the anniversary of a horrific crime. But as he delves deeper, more questions than answers are raised. I really don't want to give too much away but Scrublands by Chris Hammer is impossible to put down. - Courtney (QBD)
, 01/08/2018
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Do not pick this book up unless you have no plans because once you start you will not be able to put iot down.When journalist Martin Scarsden is sent to do a story in the Riverina town of Riversend a year after a devasting event to see how the small town is coping he is thrown into a world of death,lies and small town secrets.Scarsden who is battling demons of his own immerses himself into the town and the remaining townsfolks lives with sometimes severe repercussions.Chris Hammers description of a small town on the brink of disappearing is gripping especially in Australias current drought crisis.Having been to numerous small towns in my life his descriptions are spot on and had me feeling i was sitting in a small town servces club (with the chinese bistro at the back).. Fans of The Dry will devour this book. Mel Blacktown - Melissa (QBD)
, 31/07/2018
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Jane Harper's "The Dry" meets HBO's True Detective in this thrilling Australian drama. Opening with a bang, Hammer maintains the pace to keep you guessing all the way through until the stunning finale. The harshness of life in a country town during drought is evoked superbly, with characters so relatable you feel they could be drawn from life. "Whydunnit", indeed! - Angela (QBD)
, 31/07/2018
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An absolutely brilliant debut novel, Scrublands had me hooked after reading only the first few pages. Set in the fictional town of Riversend we are presented with a bleakly true depiction of drought stricken rurality. You can see the heat radiating off baked clay, you can taste the red dust coating the back of your throat, you can feel the crack of gunshots and you can hear the desperate screams. - Michael (QBD)
, 31/07/2018
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A gripping thriller that will keep you hooked until the last page, Scrublands is the book you need to read this year. Scrublands keeps you thinking and shows that there are two sides to every story if one is just willing to look, and media aren't always the ones to trust. Lovers of a good clever mystery will love this book and won't want to stop talking about it. - Jordanna (QBD)
, 31/07/2018
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Scrublands by Chris Hammer is am intense read and will keep the reader on the edge of their seat from the very start, till the last page. A year after a pastor shot down 5 members of the community and himself, journalist, Martin Scarsden arrived in town to write a story about this massacre. And when two bodies show up, well things are about to get interesting. Scrublands really captures the notion of a drought sicken outback town in the middle of Australia. The imagery is captivating and Chris Hammer really hones in on the small community of an Australian town. This thriller is brilliant and so well throughout. It explores secrets and how one act can expose them all. While you are reading this book you are peeling back layer after layer and each time finding out something new that changes the course of the game. If you are looking for something that's going to blow your mind, then gosh this is the book for you. - Angelique (QBD)
, 30/07/2018
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"The priest fires again, another body falls..." Scrublands is haunting and unsettling. If you're looking for something to send chills up your spine and make your arm hairs stand on-end, Chris Hammer's Scrublands is your perfect opioid. This thriller never fails to throw a surprise at you. A shock here, three more there. Your heart will race with such excitement and terror that you won't want to stop reading until the revelation. Hammer pulls you into the scorching Australian small-town environment and holds you down in immersion. Riversend is such a vivid setting with such a chilling past and a mysterious present. Troubled journalist Martin Scarsden tries to piece together all the information to write a feature, but things aren't matching up. The secrets are everywhere. You won't regret this read. Jaidyn L Attard QBD bookseller, fantasy writer and poet. - Jaidyn (QBD)
, 30/07/2018
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Chris Hammer delivers an atmospheric and compelling thriller filled with secrets and stories of survival. Set in a rural outback Australian town dying in the drought, the story follows Martin Scarsden, a journalist covering the 12 month anniversary of a mass shooting. Secrets, lies, drugs and relentless heat feature through briliant twists and turns that keep you reading. - Carla (QBD)
, 30/07/2018
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'Violence is like a weed - it does not die even in the greatest drought'. Just by reading the first couple of chapters you will be drawn in and won't be able to stop. Hammer has done his research well and describes it spot on. If you like 'The Dry' by Jane Harper, give this one a shot - Monique (QBD)
, 29/07/2018
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I was sucked in by this thriller of a crime novel and spat back out 3 days later. Not like your traditional "who done it" this book is more of a "why done it". An edge of your seat crime thriller to rival Jane Harper's "The Dry". - Kimberley (QBD)
, 29/07/2018
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Scrublands is an explosive thriller that leaves you breathless at every turn. It brilliantly shows how generational crimes, small town mistakes, human fallibility and present day realities collide until the inevitable explosion captures both the guilty and the innocent in its aftermath. Five stars. - Melanie (QBD)
, 29/07/2018
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Scrublands is an explosive thriller that leaves you breathless at every turn. It is a complex and compelling mystery set in a small Australian town in the midst of a terrible drought. With the hand of an investigative journalist and brilliance of an experienced social observer, Hammer weaves this incredibly intricate plot while never taking it past the point of believability. A must read! - Katherine (QBD)
, 28/07/2018
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"But he doesn't stop running; he knows it's him the priest most wants to kill. "With hints of Jane Harper's 'The Dry,' Scrublands pulls you into barron landscape that is Riversend. A year after a young priest shoots dead 5 of his congregation, journalist Martin Scarsden arrives in town to write a feature. But everything in Riversend is not as it seems, and everyone has a secret.. - Emily (QBD)
, 26/07/2018
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One year on from a devstating tragedy, Martin Scarsden heads to rural Australia to follow up. Not everything is as it seems; why does everyone still idolise a priest who shot five members of his congretion? This book kept me up at night and on the edge of my seat. Twists and turns are abound, with the detail and subplots making it feel like 5 crime thrillers in one. Loved it, lived it, preach it. - Sarina (QBD)
, 26/07/2018
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Scrublands is an explosive thriller with many twists and turns throughout. Another great mystery set in a small town in outback Australia that will not disappoint crime lovers. - Yvonne (QBD)
, 26/07/2018
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The person reporting the headlines become the headlines in this plot driven thriller from our drought stricken backyard. The Australian landscape the author details absolutely sets the scene and puts you right in the thick of it. As I gorged on the narrative as the plot unfolded I also felt as though I was there standing on the parched earth along with the characters. - Belinda (QBD)
, 26/07/2018
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Hammer is onto another winner with this thrilling novel. The imagery of the harsh Australian outback, the suspense, and the character development is on par with, if not better than Jane Harper's The Dry. - Karina (QBD)
, 25/07/2018
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Riversend is a dying town. Ravaged by drought, the heat almost unbearable. A year ago a priest went on a calculated rampage, killing five people. Troubled journalist Martin arrives in town with no phone reception and something to prove to himself. What he uncovers will shock the town to its core. Perfect for fans of The Dry, another great Australian debut that will leave you thirsting for more. - Rosie (QBD)
, 25/07/2018
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This fantastic novel grabs you from the first page. There is no denying that the Priest did what he did. But what was his real motive. This is where journalist Martin Scarsden comes in. Sent to the town by his editor to write a piece 12 months after he incident, he quickly finds things are not as they seem. Twists and turns aplenty in this great read that keeps you guessing until the end. - Peter (QBD)
, 25/07/2018
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Chris Hammer brings to Scrubland an authenticity that few manage. His real life experience as a journalist comes through along with the heat of the unforgiving country town that this brutal story takes place in. The characters, the weather and the town itself play such an important part that you can't help but feel yourself being part of the backdrop. Engrossing and memorable equally. - Nathan (QBD)
, 24/07/2018
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This book outright grabs your attention from the first 3 pages, written in a way that you have to keep reading. A journalist arrives to uncover the mysteries behind the shootings, but nothing adds up, and there are forces trying to stop him. Read through the mysteries and it twists and turns that will keep you guessing till the end. - Joseph (QBD)
, 24/07/2018
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How does a once proud town reconcile a homicidal priest shooting five seemingly innocent towns folk? Martin is trying to uncover the scandalous background of a rogue charismatic priest. An intriguing mesh of compromised characters, interlinked crimes of a rotting, corrupt rural town with innocents entangled and condemned, seeded by violence. What is the truth of the towns tawdry secrets. A MUST! - Sheridan (QBD)
, 22/07/2018
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Scrublands is an explosive thriller that leaves you breathless at every turn. Riversend is a town already suffering from a slow death due to drought when a beloved priest opens fire on his flock in a seemingly senseless attack. The town's smouldering secrets are exposed and relayed with intense ferocity. A must read for crime lovers. - Nola (QBD)
, 16/07/2018
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This book had a tough standard to live up to, being compared to Jane Harpers 'The Dry', but it definitely held its own, weilding a deftly woven plot cleverly paced to lure you in with its many mysteries. With blindsiding puzzle pieces clicking into place at the last moment, Scrublands delves into the motives of killers and the many faces they show the world. - Karen (QBD)
, 14/07/2018

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