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2000s: The sequel to Scrublands
2000s: The sequel to Scrublands
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 Port Silver, 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…
A fictional coastal setting for the latest novel by Chris Hammer. A sequel to Scrublands set in the heat of the desert, now this novel takes us to the equally hot but slightly more breezy coastal town of Port Silver.
It’s an odd place – where Martin is from and where he returns to in order to put some ghosts to rest. Trouble is, there are ghosts waiting for him.
The place might be fictional but it’s very vividly drawn. From the spooky old house where a group of lost boys take shelter, to the ominous cheese factory, to the swamp and the nearby Five Mile Beach. The anonymous backpacker’s hostel which no-one in the town really bothers with, becomes centre stage and opens up the streets of a small town with dirt-covered tracks, open spaces and vast, underdeveloped land. There’s talk of investments and people wanting to buy land. This is a town undergoing change and not all of it is good.
This is gripping Australian Noir – sense of place is quite something and the plot is steady and increasingly immersive. This is what you need from a crime novel – remote town, hot and humid landscape with a coastal edge, intrigue and secrets, people that don’t talk and when they do, they don’t say much. Suspicion lives in Silver…
This book follows on from Scrublands in many ways as the foreign correspondent Marin Scarsden from that book and having barely recovered from events there, is heading back to his home town. Where he grew up and where he left. It’s been twenty years since he was last here…it’s going to be strange. Now he’s back with his partner and they rent a house in the once familiar yet now unfamiliar town.
And strange it is. We find out why Martin left but not all is clear at the start and the author makes you wait which is no bad thing. Martin however finds that trouble does not wait for him and he’s only been there five minutes when someone he knows very well from childhood, is found murdered. What’s more, Martin’s partner is the suspect. This is just part of the plot however – the town is a conflicted one and the many battles and suspicious glances between its residents come to the fore. There’s a sense that this part of the landscape is a harsh place to live and that’s not just because of the heat and lack of any thing for miles. It was interesting to see someone return to their childhood home and be faced with so many issues whilst encountering more.
Journalists will find they come off bad in this novel. The rest of you will be craving fish and chips.
Destination: NSW, ‘Port Silver’ Author/Guide: Chris Hammer Departure Time: 2000sBack to Results