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An unputdownable standalone thriller from the bestselling author of Scrublands.
In the desolate outback town of Finnigans Gap, police struggle to maintain law and order. Thieves pillage opal mines, religious fanatics recruit vulnerable young people and billionaires do as they please.
Then an opal miner is found crucified and left to rot down his mine. Nothing about the miner's death is straightforward, not even who found the body. Sydney homicide detective Ivan Lucic is sent to investigate, assisted by inexperienced young investigator Nell Buchanan.
But Finnigans Gap has already ended one police career and damaged others, and soon both officers face damning allegations and internal investigations. Have Ivan and Nell been set up and, if so, by whom?
As time runs out, their only chance at redemption is to find the killer. But the more secrets they uncover, the more harrowing the mystery becomes, as events from years ago take on a startling new significance.
For in Finnigans Gap, opals, bodies and secrets don't stay buried for ever.
A superb standalone thriller from the acclaimed and award-winning author of the international bestsellers Scrublands, Silver and Trust.
by Karen Robinson
Treasure and Dirt is Chris Hammer's fourth book and first standalone novel, and once again he delivers a cracker of a read. Australian crime fiction is going through a renaissance and Hammer is one of the authors leading the charge.
While Treasure and Dirt is a standalone novel, the protagonist Ivan Lucic was introduced in Hammer's third book, Trust. Sent out to Finnigans Gap to investigate the crucifixion murder of a local miner, Ivan is quickly drawn into a battle between billionaires, a group of religious fanatics with questionable practices, and the miners desperately trying to make a living from the ever-dwindling resource of opals. Exploring the opal industry and the drive of billionaires to own the natural resources of Australia, as always, the novel is on point with contemporary events and issues, exploring both its complexity and the fact that crime usually comes down to three things: love, revenge or money.
Finnigans Gap itself is a fictional town loosely based on Lightning Ridge. Hammer's incredible grasp of descriptive writing makes it seem so real, you'll want to put the destination on your next road trip. His visceral descriptions make you want to reach for the Aeroguard, sunscreen or a cold bevvy of choice as if you are right there with the characters in the Australian outback, swatting away the flies. Hammer's experience as a journalist shines through in his ability to depict the inhabitants of the town with such depth and honesty that you want to pull up a chair at the local pub and have a chat with them.
With a cast of unique characters with bad blood and past secrets, the novel's central crisis was always destined to explode and Hammer is brilliant at exploring moral greyness in a black and white world. I can't say too much more without spoiling the joy of the ride, so whether you're already a fan or you're about to experience the greatness of Chris Hammer for the first time, Treasure and Dirt is worthy of a place on your bookshelf.