'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
Hayley Scrivenor is a former Director of Wollongong Writers Festival. Originally from a small country town, Hayley now lives and writes on Dharawal country and has a PhD in Creative Writing from the University of Wollongong on the south coast of New South Wales. Dirt Town is her first novel. An earlier version of the book was shortlisted for the Penguin Literary Prize and won The Kill Your Darlings Unpublished Manuscript Award.
||a place of comfort... and cruelty