'A heart-wrenching mystery . . . A stellar debut.' Jane Harper
My best friend wore her name, Esther, like a queen wearing her crown at a jaunty angle. We were twelve years old when she went missing.
On a sweltering Friday afternoon in Durton, best friends Ronnie and Esther leave school together. Esther never makes it home.
Ronnie's going to find her, she has a plan. Lewis will help. Their friend can't be gone, Ronnie won't believe it.
Detective Sergeant Sarah Michaels can believe it, she has seen what people are capable of. She knows more than anyone how, in a moment of weakness, a person can be driven to do something they never thought possible.
Lewis can believe it too. But he can't reveal what he saw that afternoon at the creek without exposing his own secret.
Five days later, Esther's buried body is discovered.
What do we owe the girl who isn't there?
Character-rich and propulsive, with a breathtakingly original use of voice and revolving points of view, Hayley Scrivenor delves under the surface, where no one can hide. With emotional depth and sensitivity, this stunning debut shows us how much each person matters in a community that is at once falling apart and coming together.
Esther will always be a Dirt Town child, as we are its children, still.
'You will not be able to put it down.' Hannah Kent
'Masterful. Australian crime has a new star.' Chris Hammer
Praise for Dirt Town:
'A heart-wrenching mystery, Hayley Scrivenor's remarkable sense of place brings Dirt Town to life. A stellar debut.' - Jane Harper
'Dirt Town is a remarkable debut, Hayley Scrivenor masterful in her deft handling of the tensions underpinning a small, regional town, and the complex characters that populate it. You will not be able to put it down.' - Hannah Kent
'I loved this. What wonderful writing. Scarily good! . . . Masterful. Australian crime has a new star. The characters of Dirt Town are rich, raw and beautifully realised. One of the crime books of the year. Intelligent, nuanced and compassionate.' - Chris Hammer
'Beautifully written, compassionate, with an entirely credible but heart-breaking ending. A stunning debut.' - Ann Cleeves
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
The rural Australian town of Durton—nicknamed “Dirt Town”—is left reeling when a 12-year-old girl disappears in late 2001, only to be found dead a few days later. The tragedy immediately grips the girl’s best friend as well as a local police detective and a reluctant witness. Their rich individual perspectives fill out this character-driven mystery, along with narration from the town itself as a kind of Greek chorus. A slow-burn crime story with an unswerving moral compass, Hayley Scrivenor’s debut novel will appeal to fans of Jane Harper’s The Dry and Sarah Bailey’s The Dark Lake. It’s also a potent time capsule of the recent past that exudes an authentic sense of place.