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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.

About The Author

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Chris Hammer is a leading Australian author of crime fiction. His first book, Scrublands, was an instant bestseller when it was published in mid-2018. It won the prestigious UK Crime Writers Association John Creasy Award for a debut crime novel in 2019 and was shortlisted for various awards in Australia and the United States.

Scrublands
has been sold into translation in several foreign languages and is being developed for television. His follow up books - Silver (2019), Trust (2020) and Treasure & Dirt (2021) - are also bestsellers and all have been shortlisted for major literary prizes.

Before turning to fiction, Chris was a journalist for more than thirty years, dividing his career between covering Australian federal politics and international affairs. He reported from more than 30 countries on six continents with SBS TV, while in Canberra, roles included chief political correspondent for The Bulletin, senior writer for The Age and Online Political Editor for Fairfax.

Chris has also written two non-fiction books The River (2010) and The Coast (2012). He has a bachelor's degree in journalism from Charles Sturt University and a master's degree in international relations from the Australian National University.

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