3 November 2021

Review: TREASURE & DIRT, Chris Hammer

  • This edition made available as an e-book by my local library through Libby
  • published by Allen & Unwin Australia, September 2021
  • ISBN: 9781760877606
  • 512 pages

Synopsis (Publisher)

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 forever.

A superb standalone thriller from the acclaimed and award-winning author of the international bestsellers Scrublands, Silver and Trust. 

My take

Nell Buchanan is excited to be working with Ivan Lucic. He has just been part of a winning team uncovering corruption at the highest level in New South Wales. However shortly after his arrival he discovers his former investigative partner is being hounded by the police Professional Standards and it is very likely he himself will be next. Ivan needs to play it carefully. Nell herself played the role of whistle blower when she was last posted to Finnigans Gap and has enemies among the police too. 

Finnigans Gap is a harsh environment and the miner who has been crucified had a history that goes back decades. There are limited resources available to the small homicide squad.

And who are dark suited men in the black limousine who appear to be visiting a neighbouring rare earths mine? And what about the two billionaires who seem to be intent on bankrupting each other?

A book with many themes, a very harsh environment, where the miners themselves struggle to make a living, and a virtual pageant of quirky characters.

My rating: 4.6

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