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Bookmarked Blog
Australian crime legend Chris Hammer answered a few questions about his new thriller, Treasure & Dirt. Find out about how Chris decides on his truly unique settings, constructs his memorable characters, and his favourite books of 2021 (so far).   

Can you tell us about Treasure & Dirt in 1-2 sentences?

CH: Imagine an outback mining town, populated by opal thieves and cross-dressing miners, with a fanatical religious cult and a couple of take-no-prisoner mining billionaires. And then imagine an opal miner is found crucified down his mine. And then imagine a couple of homicide detectives, with their own careers hanging in the balance, uncovering secret upon secret. That’s Treasure & Dirt.

Hear Chris speak more in depth about Treasure & Dirt in the video below! Q&A continues underneath.


 

Locations play a major role in Chris Hammer thrillers, how did you decide the location for Treasure & Dirt?

CH: I was intending to travel to South Australia, but Covid closed the borders. Then, by chance, I saw a woman wearing an opal pendant and I thought what a great location an opal-mining town would be. So I went to Lightning Ridge instead. It was perfect – so atmospheric - and just right for a tale of skulduggery!

 

Treasure & Dirt starts with quite a unique murder – what comes first when you begin your writing - the murder, location, characters etc?

CH: All my books start with the seed of an idea and grow from there. In Scrublands, the initial idea was the journalist Martin Scarsden arriving in a dying town. Only after that did I think of the crime. With Treasure & Dirt, it was the idea of one victim but two unconnected crimes and two unconnected perpetrators. And I also had another idea about a mining town and corporate subterfuge. So I combined them all. It was only afterwards that I had the idea of the actual crimes.

 

The two main characters in Treasure & Dirt are Homicide Detective Ivan Lucic and Constable Nell Buchanan. How did you come to develop these characters, and can you tell us a little of their dynamic?

CH: Ivan and Nell are both intriguing characters, carrying their own pasts. Ivan is intense and private, trying to distance himself from a troubled childhood. Nell is more outgoing, confident and kick-arse – or she is until her own past start catching up with her.

Soon enough, they realise their respective careers are under threat, so they need to cooperate and support each other. Their relationship is an important part of the story, as they work out how far they can rely on each other.

I also wanted to have two point-of-view characters, something that I tried for the first time with Martin and Mandy in Trust and which seemed to work well.

 

Favourite books (so far) of 2021?

CH: Mayflies by Andrew O’Hagan, Before You Knew My Name by Jacqueline Bublitz and The Housemate by Sarah Bailey.


Treasure & Dirt is available in store and online.

Treasure & Dirt
Chris Hammer
$24.99$32.99
  

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