The majority of Pageturners enjoyed Scrublands by Chris Hammer but a few questioned some of the characters, the storyline and overall believability. But for most of them it was a rolling fast-paced story that kept you reading, wanting to know what was going to happen next and how it was going to be resolved. The funny thing was once we got going everyone talked about it as if all the events and characters were real!
There was general discussion about the media, life in small towns, landscape, the range of criminal events – shooting, car crash, fire, kidnap, assault; the character names, the diverse range of people in the small town, and character motivations.
And there was also great discussion about the number of issues covered in the book – here are a few – murder, mass shooting, drugs, sex, pedophilia, domestic violence, single mothers, nakedness, affairs, ASIO, fake newsroom, false identity, soldiers, orphanages and more.
And discussion about the range of characters – backpackers, bikies, spies, priests, police, journalists, bookshop owner, publican, motel owner, con-man etc that could be found in a small town.
Comments included: “it would make a great TV mini-series, the characters were believable, the story was at full-speed, it was a blender/smoothie book with everything mixed up together, red-herrings everywhere, setting was oppressive, we got our money’s worth, he was obsessed by his hands, journalist bits realistic, loved how it all unfolded, cliffhangers abounded, it was Cedar Valley on steroids, I wanted to know what happened, insightful, the towns were believable, there were no indigenous people and only one ethnic person who spoke ‘Australian’, many characters, too many characters with huge backstories, it was a big bucket of clichés, it was a deadly hostile environment, I enjoyed the rolling story, there was some dry humour, the ending was tied up in a nice bow, very visual, I hope he writes another one.”
Star ratings out of five ranged from 2 through to the majority of 3s, 3.5s and 4.
Podcast Interview with Chris Hammer by Better Reading.
It is interesting to note in the Better Reading interview Chris says he was lectured by the late Miles Franklin Literary Award winning crime writer Peter Temple. Some inspiration there perhaps?
The next read will be a change of pace with Normal People by award-winning Irish author Sally Rooney. The meeting will be held on Wednesday 8th May at Orange City Library at 5.30pm. Don’t forget to RSVP online via eventbrite or call the Library on 6393 8132. This helps with catering and seating. Thank you. See you then.