If you’re looking for a good read, take a look at Scrublands by Australian author Chris Hammer.
Scrublands is set in Riversend, an isolated town in regional Australia, where people are barely holding on through a prolonged drought and coping with the after-effects of a tragedy.
The story follows Martin Scarsden, a journalist coping with his own problems, who has been sent from Sydney to write a feature story on the anniversary of the tragedy.
What sounded like a fairly straight forward assignment to Scarsden, soon develops into a complex, twisted adventure as the truth slowly leaks out and events overtake his story and the people of Riversend.
You’ll meet some interesting characters, get a taste of life lived in the middle of nowhere, and see through a window into a town coping with drought, tragedy, and the loss of opportunity.
I picked up a copy from the book tent at Adelaide Writers’ Week and thoroughly enjoyed it.
Stella Bruno Investigates is a series of six books telling seven stories.
Each title in the series is dedicated to a particular crime, but the seventh story, Stella’s story, is interwoven through the six stories that make up the series.
To fully appreciate the gradual unfolding of Stella’s story, you’ll need to read the series in book order.
Set in and around Adelaide, South Australia, the stories open a window into Australian life and policing that allows you to explore life down under, without making the long-haul flight required to get there. That has to be a bonus.
All of the places mentioned in the stories exist – you can look them up using your search engine of choice. And, you can enjoy a meal at any of the restaurants where Stella and Shaun eat – if you ever make that long-haul flight and come to Adelaide. You might even spot me at one of the tables.
Australians are fairly informal in their working relationships, even within the confines of the rigid hierarchy of a police force. Working relationships are built on trust, and it’s not uncommon for officers of differing ranks to treat each other as equals – as Stella and Brian do. Of course, there is also a place for respecting rank, which is why Stella has a different relationship with DI Frank Williams, who is still coming to terms with the reality of his most competent detective sergeant being a woman. He gets better as the series progresses.
The other man of interest across the series is Shaun Porter. He works for the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions but that is secondary to his role as Stella’s new love interest. Yes, police officers have a life outside of investigating crime, and one of the joys of writing the series was witnessing the development of the relationship between Stella and Shaun. I hope you enjoy their story.
If you’re wondering what makes Australian crime stories different, Stella Bruno Investigates gives you the opportunity to find out in six quick reads.