Silver (Chris Hammer, A&U)
Silver is Chris Hammer’s follow-up to his bestselling debut Scrublands. In Hammer’s second novel, journalist Martin Scarsden, fresh from turning the events of Scrublands into a book, follows his new partner Mandy to the town where she’s just inherited a property—a place where they can start a new life. But Port Silver has a firm grasp on Martin’s past as the location of the traumatic childhood he survived and then decisively ignored. His arrival dovetails gruesomely with the murder of his old friend Jasper in Mandy’s rented home, and any hope of their fresh start is replaced with the need to clear Mandy of the crime—and unearth the truth about what is happening in this picturesque town simmering with tensions over land ownership and long-soured relationships. It’s a complex tale, with Scarsden, an ex-foreign correspondent, trying to work through his past. Unable to let go of his journalistic background, he complicates things further by putting himself in the story. The immediacy of the writing makes for heightened tension—Hammer doesn’t let up, even when his descriptions of the town’s beauty slows the story down—and the book is as heavy on the detail as it is on conveying Scarsden’s emotional state. Silver is a dramatic blood-pumper of a book for lovers of Sarah Bailey and Dave Warner.
Fiona Hardy is bookseller at Readings