2022 Reviews · contemporary fiction · crime · suspense · thriller

New Release Book Review: Treasure and Dirt by Chris Hammer

silver small

Title: Treasure and Dirt

Author: Chris Hammer

Published: September 28th 2021

Publisher: Allen & Unwin

Pages: 512

Genres: Fiction, Contemporary, Crime, Suspense, Thriller

RRP: $32.99

Rating: 4 stars

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 ScrublandsSilver and Trust.


Australian outback noir powerhouse Chris Hammer is back with Treasure and Dirt, a standalone thriller novel. If you are a fan of Hammer’s work, or a newcomer to his writing, Treasure and Dirt is a great book to begin your Australian crime fiction spree. Brimming with themes of corruption, underhanded deeds, desperation, political pursuits, economic issues and danger, Chris Hammer’s fourth novel is a story not to be missed.

Hammer takes his audience to the desolate Australian township of Finnigans Gap, a struggling outback community. With a cesspool of issues plaguing this regional base which range from mining tensions, political alliances, policing problems, religious extremists and the wealthy dictating the way of life, Finnigans Gap is at breaking point. The situation worsens in this remote Australian flagship when a miner is found dead in his mineshaft. This is no clear-cut death, the miner has been crucified. City based homicide detectives are brought in to help solve this baffling case. Once the investigation advances the officers involved find they are hampered by internal politics, damning accusations and plenty of unexpected obstructions in their efforts to close this case. With questions looming around this investigation involving blame, sabotage and corruption, the race is on to apprehend the killer. However, Finnigans Gap has more secrets to reveal, lies to be exposed and past mysteries to air to the waiting world.

Hailed as a leader in the Australia noir genre by international crime fiction sensation Michael Connelly, Chris Hammer makes a triumphant return to the publishing sphere with his latest blockbuster release, Treasure and Dirt. I’ve followed Chris Hammer’s successful writing career since he released his debut fiction novel Scrublands. It is safe to say that Treasure and Dirt is a book that I have been looking forward to reading and it definitely didn’t disappoint.

Hammer is a master of the Australian outback crime genre and he has really refined his craft after producing three smash hit bestsellers. Treasure and Dirt represents this popular author’s fourth police procedural crossed with Australian mystery tale. It showcases Hammer’s skills and ability in the crime fiction genre. With a highly coloured rural outback setting, which is relayed with plenty of thick first-hand style prose, the reader soon learns what life would be like living in Finnigans Gap. I’m not sure I could tolerate this town myself, but it was great to experience this rather eccentric place thanks to Hammer’s book. There are an odd group of characters in Treasure and Dirt, which are vividly brought to life by Hammer. I enjoyed getting to know the hardworking investigators of this crime novel and I had faith in their methodical attempts to solve this strange murder mystery. As we have come to expect with Hammer’s books, the main crime scene is not as a straightforward as we think. Further interrogation of the primary death reveals a town rife with corruption, secretive figures, deceitful acts, political schemes, clandestine economical decisions and guileful religious movements. Our investigators face an uphill battle in trying to apprehend the killer. Everything is multiplied by the searing heat, the exhaustion and desolation of this intense location. While the overall investigation did go over my head a few times thanks to the focus on mining, politics and economic relations, I did get a kick out of the investigation process.

Treasure and Dirt features a byzantine plot, well presented characters, constricted prose and a burly Australian setting. Chris Hammer’s latest crime fiction rhapsody is a high priority read.

Treasure and Dirt by Chris Hammer was published on 28th September 2021 by Allen & Unwin. Details on how to purchase the book can be found here.

To learn more about the author of Treasure and Dirt, Chris Hammer, visit here.

*Thanks extended to Allen & Unwin for providing a free copy of this book for review purposes.

2 thoughts on “New Release Book Review: Treasure and Dirt by Chris Hammer

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s