When one of my most trusted publicist contacts assured me I would love Chris Hammer’s first novel, Scrublands, I accepted her offer of a review copy – and I am SO glad I did!
After 30 years as a journalist and a long involvement with TV and radio, he has turned his hand to writing books. His first, The River, was non-fiction and was inspired by time he spent in the Riverina region during the 2008-2009 drought. His novel, Scrublands, was inspired by that same landscape and conditions, but is set in two fictional towns.
(Interestingly, there seems to be a literary trend recently with both the landscape and the climatic conditions becoming almost living characters. This is the third book I have recently read which follows this theme.)
There is a tenuous romantic thread throughout the story, a complicated plot following murders committed by a well liked local priest, and a life-changing involvement for an ambitious journalist recovering from a traumatic war experience.
It is extremely well written, with very strong character development and a book I highly recommend. (I read it in 2 days!)
Publisher – Allen & Unwin