The latest stunning thriller from the bestselling author of Scrublands and Treasure & Dirt.
'Chris Hammer is in the platinum class of Australian Detective writers. He is an undeniable master of the carefully layered novel, which unfolds remorselessly to reveal the perpetrators of murder on the arid frontier.' - The Weekend Australian on Treasure & Dirt
A man runs for his life in a forest.
A woman plans sabotage.
A body is unearthed.
Newly-minted homicide detective Nell Buchanan returns to her home town, annoyed at being assigned a decades-old murder - a 'file and forget'.
But this is no ordinary cold case, as the discovery of more bodies triggers a chain of escalating events in the present day. As Nell starts to join the pieces together, she begins to question how well she truly knows those closest to her. Could her own family be implicated in the crimes?
The nearer Nell comes to uncovering the secrets of the past, the more dangerous the present becomes for her, as she battles shadowy assailants and sinister forces. Can she survive this harrowing investigation and what price will she have to pay for the truth?
Gripping and atmospheric, The Tilt is a stunning multi-layered novel by the acclaimed and award-winning author of the international bestsellers Scrublands, Silver, Trust and Treasure & Dirt.
Praise for The Tilt
'Chris Hammer at the height of his powers ... absolutely not to be missed!' Hayley Scrivenor, author of Dirt Town
'A darkly simmering mystery, gorgeously told ... Utterly brilliant.' Dervla McTiernan, author of The Ruin and The Murder Rule
'Ominous, pacy and intricately plotted. The Tilt hits the ground running and never lets up. Hammer's best yet!' Emma Viskic, author of Those Who Perish
'It would be unfair to say Chris Hammer is at the top of the crime writing game. Chris Hammer IS the game. Full Tilt may be a better title, given the speed with which readers will devour Chris Hammer's exceptional novel.' Benjamin Stevenson, author of Everyone in My Family Has Killed Someone
'Like everything Chris Hammer writes, The Tilt is a rich, complex thriller, packed with detail and intrigue. There's a reason why this guy is on my auto-read list!' Christian White, author of The Nowhere Child
'Chris has an another absolute cracker on his hands here. Chris is without a doubt one of the best active Australian crime writers, and a new book from him is always an unmissable event. I'm glad I started reading it on my day off, because it's one of those stories you don't want to put down once you've started. The way he weaves three different timelines without ever losing focus, and creates such a broad cast of compelling and emotionally complex characters is truly impressive.' Shelley Burr, author of Wake
Praise for Chris Hammer
'Chris Hammer is a great writer ... a leader in Australian noir.' - Michael Connelly
'If you haven't read Hammer before, this is the perfect time to experience one of the best writers Australia has to offer. Rife with intrigue, murder, and small-town secrets, Treasure and Dirt is a spectacular thriller that delivers some unforgettable characters with twists and turns you won't see coming. Hammer has raised the bar for Australian crime, and this is a must-read.' - Better Reading
'Chris Hammer has excelled himself with Trust...a thriller strong on character development, social insights, ethical issues and dramatic action.' - The Weekend Australian
'The best Australian crime novel since Peter Temple's The Broken Shore.' The Times on Silver
'Shimmers with heat from the sun and from the passions that drive a tortured tale of blood and loss.' - Val McDermid on Scrublands
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
In The Tilt, Chris Hammer has given us another engrossing pageturner. The three main narrative threads—set across the 1940s, ’70s and in the present day—centre around the beautiful but mysterious Barmah-Millewa Forest on the banks of the Murray River. Stoic Nell Buchanan (the smart sidekick in Hammer’s Treasure and Dirt) has been newly promoted to homicide detective and is keen to prove she’s up to it. When she’s sent back to her home turf because an old skeleton has turned up in a section of the river, Nell is initially disappointed to be investigating a cold case. But as more bodies are found, Nell’s frustration turns to fear when all leads seem to point to her family. We loved Hammer’s use of letters, reports and news stories to build layers of authenticity, as well as his portrayal of the unknowable nature of the Australian landscape.
Twisty whodunnit tale
Great book told over three times.
Complex and arresting. Terrific characterization. Will read it again.
Tilting at red gums
Australian journalist turned author. Two non-fiction titles to his credit before he turned his hand to fiction. Scrublands (2018), Silver (2019), and Trust (2020) all featured investigative journalist Martin Scarsden. Treasure and Dirt (2021) introduced Sydney homicide detective Ivan Lucic and eager rural uniform cop Nell Buchanan. This is what they, mainly Nell, did next.
The book opens with our heroes heading south from Dubbo to the Riverina, specifically the area around the Cadell Fault (aka the titular Tilt — see footnote) in the otherwise flat lands of red gum forest adjacent to the Murray River. Our gal, who has recently been promoted to homicide, hails from the area and has mixed feelings about returning (family issues etc). However, a body, more specifically a skeleton, has been found in the pond behind one of the “regulators,” which are small weirs built to prevent the creeks that flow into the Murray from inundating the surrounding land rather than stopping Adelaide and environs from turning into the Sahara. Before long, they find another one not far away. The cold case investigation gets heated (sorry) by contemporary considerations: drugs, environmentalists, preppers, the Riverina mafia (Donald McKay gets a few mentions), longstanding family disputes in the McCoy-Hatfiled tradition, and genealogic surprises for Nell.
The writing is crisp, and the plot moves along at reasonable pace considering how many threads Ms H has in play by the end. Too many IMHO.
The Choke (2017) by Sofia Laguna is set in the same area, the choke being the part of the Murray that narrows markedly due to the underlying geology. At the risk of being drummed out of the brotherhood, I have to say I think Ms Laguna made better use of the setting.