Published July 2018, Scrublands was Chris Hammer’s first published crime novel.
Just over a year later, Chris Hammer – the author has won the 2019 John Creasy New Blood Award for best crime novel by a first-time author. The award was part of the UK Crime Writers Association Dagger Awards, one of the top awards for crime fiction writers.
Described by the Daggers as “a heatwave of a novel, scorching and powerful and with an acute sense of place”, Hammer impressed the judges with the depth and complexity of this unique story set in a harsh environment.
Set in a fictional NSW town, Scrublands explores the impact of prolonged drought on a rural town. A priest opens fire on his own congregation and many years later, a journalist unearths new secrets that turn the original investigation on its head.
Rural crime is a quietly growing sub-genre and Hammer covers it well. His latest book is Silver which explores crime in a seaside town that becomes very close to home. Hammer comes from a background of 30 years in journalism before venturing into crime writing.
Listen to Chris on ABC radio talking about Scrublands.