In the desolate outback town of Finnigans gap, police struggle to maintain law and order. Thieves pillage opal mines, religious fanatics recruit vulnerable youngsters 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 straight-forward, not even who found the body. 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 they uncover, the more harrowing the mystery becomes, and a past long forgotten is thrown into scorching sunlight.
Because in Finnigans Gap, nothing stays buried for ever.
I’ve loved every book so far by Chris Hammer, and am so thrilled to have been given the opportunity to review Opal Country by the publishers Wildfire Books. Thank you so much. 🙏
We start the story in the outback of Australia, at night, with a team of ratters entering a mine in the dead of night, what they find is a hideously crucified, Christ-like, corpse instead of Opals and makes them retreat pretty sharpish!
We then follow Detective Sergeant Ivan Lucic, who as a homicide, detective has travelled from Sydney to investigate the horrible murder.
Chris Hammer manages to weave a really complex storyline involving Opal mining, family, murder, corporate espionage, revenge and the ending of Police Careers, into a phenomenal story, that had me guessing right up to the end as to whom the culprit was, and more importantly why?
The way Chris writes about Australia, the shimmering heat, the oppressiveness of a small town, the community divided by gossip, fears and history is without a doubt brilliant. I could feel myself getting sweaty and anxious in some parts with the relentless sun beating own onto Finnegans Creek.
There are some players from the previous novels in here, even though it’s a standalone, but that just makes it all the better!
And the inclusion of a Map always means it will be a great book in my experience!
Another fantastic 5 ⭐️ start slice of Aussie Noir from the master or Australian Crime Writing, in my opinion.
CHRIS HAMMER – is a leading Australian crime fiction novelist, author of international bestsellers Scrublands, Silver and Trust.
His new standalone novel, Treasure & Dirt, will be published in Australia and New Zealand in September 2021 and internationally, as Opal Country, from early 2022.
Scrublands was an instant bestseller upon publication in 2018, topping the Australian fiction charts.
It was shortlisted for major writing awards in Australia, the UK and the United States. In the UK it was named the Sunday Times Crime Novel of the Year 2019 and won the prestigious UK Crime Writers’ Association John Creasey New Blood Dagger Award.
Scrublands, Silver and Trust all feature troubled journalist Martin Scarsden and his partner Mandalay Blonde, while Treasure & Dirt follows Homicide detectives Ivan Lucic and Nell Buchanan.
All four books are notable for their atmospheric Australian settings, range of colourful characters, intricate plots, descriptive language and emotional depth.
Before turning to fiction, Chris was a journalist for more than thirty years. He reported from more than 30 countries on six continents for SBS TV. In Canberra, roles included chief political correspondent for The Bulletin, senior writer for The Age and Online Political Editor for The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald.
Chris has written two non-fiction books The River (2010) – winner of the ACT Book of the Year – and The Coast (2012), published by Melbourne University Press.
He has a bachelor’s degree in Journalism from Charles Sturt University and a master’s degree in International Relations from the Australian National University. He lives in Canberra, Australia.
You can follow Chris on Twitter @hammerNow
Chris Hammer’s website – https://chrishammerauthor.com/