Silver by Chris Hammer – Review.

About The Book

Journalist Martin Scarsden returns to Port Silver to make a fresh start with his partner Mandy. But he arrives to find his childhood friend murdered – and Mandy is the prime suspect. Desperate to clear her name, Martin goes searching for the truth.

The media descends on the coastal town, compelled by a story that has it all: sex, drugs, celebrity, and religion. Martin is chasing the biggest scoop of his career, and the most personal.

As Martin draws closer to a killer, the secrets of his traumatic childhood come to the surface, and he must decide what is more important – the story or his family…

My Review

Scrublands was a book that I enjoyed reading a lot so I was looking forward to reading Silver the second book in the series. Following on from the events in Riversend Martin and Mandalay are hoping for a quieter life in a new town. However whilst this is a new town for Mandalay it isn’t for Martin. It is the town where he grew up and he has a lot of bad memories. But their fresh start doesn’t go as planned when almost immediately Mandalay is implicated in the murder of Martin’s childhood friend.

This book is very much a slow burner but I feel that this is the only way it could be. Martin, because of his childhood, was familiar with the town and its inhabitants but he could see it differently. The way the lure of huge amounts of money showed a different side to an individual’s personality. You could see how the promise of ‘improvements’ in the local area could benefit in some ways but could also see it destroy in others. My choice would be to protect the natural world and turn away from the money making opportunities.

It is one of those novels where you don’t initially see what is happening. I had doubts about Topaz but wasn’t sure why. But she wasn’t the only one, there were others whose true personalities were revealed in the latter half of the novel. Some I liked more, a few I liked a lot less. 

I have to admire an author who can write a novel where all of the characters are important and where most have some type of impact on the reader. Even the town of Silver seems to have its own personality. The old way of life competing with the new way, led by corruption.

I can’t wait to read Trust the next book in the series. 

Scrublands by Chris Hammer – Review.

About The Book

In an isolated country town ravaged by drought, a charismatic young priest opens fire on his congregation, killing five men before being shot dead himself. 

A year later, journalist Martin Scarsden arrives in Riversend to write a feature on the anniversary of the tragedy. But the stories he hears from the locals don’t fit with the accepted version of events. 

Just as Martin believes he is making headway, a shocking discovery rocks the town. The bodies of two backpackers – missing since the time of the massacre – are found in the scrublands. The media descends on Riversend and Martin is the one in the spotlight. 

Wrestling with his own demons, Martin finds himself risking everything to uncover a truth that becomes 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.

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. I have wanted to read Scrublands for months but never seemed to have the time. After seeing the author appear at a crime festival last year and listening to a few online interviews during the lockdown I decided that now was the time. It was well worth the wait and nothing like I expected. I was totally unprepared for how many different threads there were and it is down to the author’s expertise that they all worked, were all believable and were all connected by the end.

Riversend is the type of town that is down on its luck. Little business is open, the hot weather is relentless and it’s inhabitants are struggling to move on from the tragic events of the previous year. Martin is there to see how they are coping but he soon realises that they are not. And their torment is far from over. 

I have to admit that I do struggle with journalism in fiction, it is too easy to see only the worst side of the profession. The ones who would do anything for their story. They do feature in this novel, but Martin isn’t one of them. He does want his story but also has a conscience and knows that he what he wants to write can hurt many people. 

Whilst the investigation is fascinating I also liked reading about the attempts to hold back a bush fire. Nothing you see on the news can prepare you for what this must be like to live through. The ferocity, the heat and the claustrophobic atmosphere that is created very quickly. 

I am aware that this book has been adapted for TV, it’s one that I would definitely watch. Meanwhile bring on Silver, book two in the trilogy.