Scrublands By Chris Hammer: Book Review & Summary

Scrublands – Chris Hammer – 9781760875527 – Allen & Unwin – Australia

Scrublands - Chris Hammer - 9781760875527 - Allen & Unwin - Australia

Scrublands: A Gripping Crime Novel by Chris Hammer

Scrublands is a crime novel written by Australian author Chris Hammer. It is a compelling story about a journalist named Martin Scarsden, who travels to a small town in the Australian outback to report on a shocking mass shooting that took place one year ago and left the entire community devastated. Martin’s investigation quickly leads him down a path of deceit, danger, and corrupt power struggles that threaten to turn his own life upside down.

The Themes and Ideas Presented in the Book

One of the main themes of Scrublands is the complexity of human nature and the blurred lines between right and wrong. The book explores the harsh realities of life in a small, isolated town, where individuals are driven to extreme measures because of their difficult circumstances. Another key theme is the impact of trauma on the human mind and how it can shape our perceptions of the world around us.

The novel also touches on important issues such as domestic violence, political corruption, and the power of the media to shape public opinion. Furthermore, the book highlights the importance of journalism in uncovering the truth and holding those in power accountable for their actions.

A Critical Evaluation of the Writing Style

Chris Hammer’s writing style is immersive and highly descriptive, painting a vivid picture of the Australian outback and its inhabitants. The author has a keen sense of pacing and incorporates a range of narrative techniques to keep readers engaged throughout the novel.

The book’s characters are well-developed and multi-dimensional, and they each have their own distinct voice and motivations. Hammer expertly weaves together the various plot threads to create a compelling mystery that keeps readers guessing until the very end.

The Book’s Strengths and Weaknesses

One of the book’s strengths is its ability to tackle complex issues in a nuanced and sensitive way. The author does not shy away from difficult subject matter and provides a thought-provoking commentary on societal issues that are often overlooked.

However, some readers may find the book’s multiple storylines and large cast of characters overwhelming at times. Additionally, the novel’s conclusion may leave some readers with unanswered questions and a desire for more closure.

Comparison to other Works in its Genre

Scrublands stands out in its genre for its lyrical prose, richly drawn characters, and thoughtful exploration of social issues. It is a novel that will satisfy fans of crime fiction, but it also has a wider appeal due to its universal themes and relatable characters.

Compared to other works in its genre, such as Ian Rankin’s Rebus series or James Lee Burke’s Louisiana detective series, Scrublands is a more literary take on the crime novel and will particularly appeal to readers who are looking for a more character-driven story.

Overall Impression and Recommendation

Scrublands is an engrossing and thought-provoking crime novel that will leave readers on the edge of their seats. It is a powerful exploration of human nature and the impact of trauma, and it is handled with sensitivity and insight. While the book is not without its flaws, its strengths far outweigh its weaknesses.

Overall, I would highly recommend Scrublands to anyone looking for a gripping, character-driven crime novel that challenges readers to think deeply about social issues and the complexity of human nature.


Q: Is Scrublands a standalone novel or part of a series?

A: Scrublands is a standalone novel.

Q: Is Scrublands suitable for all ages?

A: Scrublands contains mature themes and language and is not recommended for readers under the age of 18.

Q: Is Scrublands a fast-paced novel or a slow burn?

A: Scrublands is a slow burn that gradually builds tension throughout the novel. Readers who enjoy a more gradual buildup may appreciate the author’s pacing, while those looking for a faster-paced thriller may find the novel’s structure less engaging.

Leave a Comment