SCRUBLANDS Chris Hammer Wildfire £16.99
This mighty crime thriller which was the runaway Australian 2018 bestseller, deserves to repeat its success here. The setting’s the New South Wales outback hamlet of Riversend where the town’s much loved priest gathered his flock together and then with icy calm produced a rifle and shot five parishioners dead, before himself being gunned down by a young policeman. A year later, reporter Martin Scarsden (still recovering from a terrifying Gaza Strip experience) is despatched to find out how Riversend’s coping. Martin isn’t expecting much more than a colour piece, but what he uncovers is a simmering stew of secrets and lies, and the shocking story that’s emerging puts him on the nation’s front pages. Then, as TV crews and journalists descend on the baking drought-hit town the lid blows off, leading to more deaths, bodies found, and recriminations. But, someone with influence is pulling strings to get Martin sacked and his story of a hunted war criminal, an illicit drugs operation and hushed-up sex scandals, discredited. Being trapped in the middle of a raging bushfire ‘like being chased by a dragon’ doesn’t even stop him as twists and shocks keep coming. Review by Alex Gordon. Who wrote Aussie bestseller The Dry? Entries to Alex Gordon, Scrublands competition by Jan 17.
BETWEEN THE LIES Michelle Adams Headline £8.99
A crushing feeling of panic cleverly pervades this story of a young woman wakening in hospital from a coma, but with no memory. The people at Chloe Daniels’ bedside say they are her parents and sister, but she doesn’t recognise them, or remember the blanks before the near-fatal crash they try
THE RUMOUR Lesley Kara Bantam Press £12.99
Gossip can create a rumour, spreading like rust through a community, corroding trust and creating fear. A school gate huddle changes estate agent and single mum Joanna’s life when there’s a whisper, notorious Sally McGowan the child killer may be living amongst them and fill in. Later, trapped in her parents’ home to recover, her domineering psychiatrist father interferes in her treatment, Chloe recognises they are keeping secrets, hiding things. But, what? This nail-biter keeps you guessing as it twists and turns. in a safe house under a new identity. No one knows how McGowan looks 40 years after she killed. She could be anyone Joanna meets. Even the frosty client she dealt with today. You’ll be gripped by the paranoia, feverishly guessing what’s next as Joanna fears