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Narrated by: Rupert Degas
4.5 out of 5 stars
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Publisher's Summary

In the vein of The Dry and Before the Fall, a town’s dark secrets come to light in the aftermath of a young priest’s unthinkable last act in this arresting and searing debut thriller.
In Riversend, an isolated rural community afflicted by an endless drought, a young priest does the unthinkable, killing five parishioners before being taken down himself. 
A year later, accompanied by his own demons from wartime reporting, journalist Martin Scarsden arrives in Riversend. His assignment is simple: describe how the townspeople are coping as the anniversary of their tragedy approaches. But as Martin meets the locals and hears their version of events, he begins to realize that the accepted wisdom - that the priest was a pedophile whose imminent exposure was the catalyst for the shooting, a theory established through an award-winning investigation by Martin’s own newspaper - may be wrong. 
Just as Martin believes he’s making headway, a new development rocks the town. The bodies of two German backpackers - missing since the time of the church shootings - are discovered in a dam in the scrublands, deserted backwoods marked by forest fires. As the media flocks to the scene, Martin finds himself thrown into a whole new mystery. 
What was the real reason behind the priest’s shooting spree? And how does it connect to the backpacker murders, if at all? Martin struggles to uncover the town’s dark secrets, putting his job, his mental state, and his life at risk as more and more strange happenings escalate around him. 
For fans of James Lee Burke, Jane Harper, and Robert Crais, Scrublands is a compelling and original crime novel that marks Chris Hammer as a stunning new voice in the genre. A compulsively listenable thriller of the highest order, Scrublands never loosens its grip, from its opening scene to the very last moment. 
©2019 Chris Hammer (P)2019 Simon & Schuster
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What members say

Overall Ratings

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Donna on 01-12-19


A mesmerising story read by an
outstanding narrator. A journalist as detective was fun,
he was curious about everybody and everything - then I was, too.
So many interesting characters
and the darndest crimes made it so hard to stop listening. The Australian accent used in this is very light. I don't know why but
it was very relaxing.

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9 of 9 people found this review helpful

2 out of 5 stars
By wanda on 01-31-19

Good story, too many details

Good story, too many details sums up it up perfectly. It was an interesting twisty turny tale set in the outback of Australia. Be prepared for accent. If it annoys you, this narration will. But it's in keeping with the story. My problem with this, as many recent reads/listens is that there is too much detail that really does not move the story along. It seems like filler and I keep wondering where the editors are.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Dennis on 03-10-19

Wow! Excellent from beginning to end! 7 Stars!

I've listened to books everyday for several years and have several favorite authors but I'm seldom (ever? I don't recall..) moved to write a review. It usually seems others have echoed my thoughts. But Scublands is THAT good! The author captures your interest from the start and never lets up, weaving a complex but believable story throughout and expertly wrapping it all up at the end. And the performance was spot on, adding to the experience.

Bravo!! Please write more - a real gem rarely discovered.

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4 out of 5 stars
By Bette on 03-08-19

Great narrator

Rupert Degas beautifully enlivens the characters that drive this complex story. The voices he creates are distinct. His female voices are the best I have heard a male produce. He maintains believable vocal tensions appropriate to the author’s paced reveals. I also appreciate that the author clearly develops the story without confusing time jumps that have become so popular. Really enjoyed this experience.

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5 out of 5 stars
By D. VanTassell on 03-02-19

Good story

This was definitely a good story with interesting plot twists. Narrator put on a great performance, too.

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4 out of 5 stars
By Phyllis on 03-02-19

Fizzled Ending

Wonderfully complex characters in an interesting story. Evocative atmosphere with sophisticated writing. But the ending was just a little too neat and seemed to go “splat” after building so well. The motivation & behavior of the priest was a bit suspect as well. Spectacular narrator.

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3 out of 5 stars
By RueRue on 02-21-19

Over-abundance of plotting

A good story that became progressively over-long with too much plotting and too many characters. The author does create a very visceral sense of the drought conditions and the desperation of a small, isolated town. The story would have been better without all the sub-plots. Loved the narrator !

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5 out of 5 stars
By Raymond on 02-17-19


This is in the top 10 of all the mystery books I have read. Great setting and a wonderful reader.

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5 out of 5 stars
By Anonymous on 01-29-19

Gripping erudite, and very well-written!!

Multi-layered fascinating story! Mostly believable, complicated well developed characters. Satisfying ending. Has a superb narrator, who can actually do women's voices as well as men's. Best book I've listened to in a year or more.

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