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Hardcover / ISBN-13: 9781472295712

Price: £20

ON SALE: 4th January 2024

Genre: Fiction & Related Items / Thriller / Suspense

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A small town.

A closely guarded secret, stretching back decades.
And blood in the water.

‘A masterful, stunning thriller. A twisting mystery epic in scale yet intricate in detail. Irresistible.’ Chris Whitaker

‘Epic. Shakespearean in depth and range’ The Times

‘Fierce, gripping and spine-chilling.’ Daily Mail

A body has washed up in an irrigation canal, the artery running through Yuwonderie, a man-made paradise on the border of the Outback. Stabbed through the heart, electrocuted and dumped under cover of night, there is no doubt that detectives Ivan Lucic and Nell Buchanan are dealing with a vicious homicide.

The victim is Athol Hasluck, member of one of the seven dynasties who have controlled every slice of bountiful land in this modern-day Eden for generations.

But this is not an isolated incident. Someone is targeting the landed aristocracy of this quiet paradise in the desert. Secrets stretching back decades are rising to the surface at last – but the question remains, who stands to gain most from their demise?

Can Ivan and Nell track down a killer before the guilt at the heart of these seven families takes the entire town down with it?

Praise for Chris Hammer:
‘My favourite Australian detective is Nell Buchanan.’ – Ann Cleeves

‘Hammer is a great writer – a leader in Australian noir’ Michael Connelly

‘Shimmers . . . A tortured tale of blood and loss’ Val McDermid

‘Stunning – a page-turner which stays long in the memory’ Sunday Times

‘Utterly brilliant, a darkly simmering mystery.’ – Dervla McTiernan

‘Chris Hammer is at the height of his power here.’ – William Shaw

‘This novel is Hammer’s best work yet.’ The Times

‘This may well be Hammer’s best work yet. Atmospheric and thrilling. I was gripped.’ Victoria Selman

‘A vivid and gripping thriller’ Gytha Lodge

‘A complex, twisty thriller, with nuanced characters and a winding plot all set in the oppressive Australian heat.’ Lisa Hall

‘This slice of Australian noir sparkles like an opal in the blistering sun.’ Lisa Gray

‘Top-notch Aussie Noir with real heat coming off the pages.’ Christopher Fowler

Scrublands was named Sunday Times Crime Book of the Year 2019 and won the CWA John Creasey Dagger Award in the same year.

Dead Man’s Creek was named the Times Crime Book of the Year in 2023.


A masterful, stunning thriller. A twisting mystery epic in scale yet intricate in detail. Irresistible.
Chris Whitaker
Chris Hammer-the absolute master of setting, is at it again with his latest, Cover the Bones, a twisting mystery that spans decades. Immersive, taut, and exquisitely written, I couldn't put it down.
Ashley Tate, author of Twenty-Seven Minutes
A searing, seamlessly plotted thriller - complex and compelling, powered by a sense of anger, injustice and compassion. Hammer may hail from 'down under', but he's head and shoulders above most writers in the genre.
Robbie Morrison, author of Edge of the Grave
An ambitious, masterfully told story of both scope and intimacy. Keenly picks through the bones of a nation's past, while deftly sketching the personal dramas of its characters. The consistency of his excellence elevates him into that top tier of Australian crime with Peter Temple and Garry Disher.
Dom Nolan, author of Vine Street
Chris Hammer is creating a magnificent portrait of modern Australia through his stories of crimes committed in different parts of the country. Terrific.
Literary Review
An immersive, sweeping and vivid read that has everything you look for in a murder mystery. Chris Hammer is one great storyteller.
Live and Deadly
A complex storyline handled masterfully, it's a gripping mystery with a very satisfying conclusion. Another fantastic mystery from Chris Hammer.
Harriet Tyce
A hefty thriller that is Shakespearean in depth and range. Epic.
The Times - Crime Book of the Month
Fierce, gripping and spine-chilling.
Daily Mail
Terrific. A magnificent portrait of modern Australia.
The Literary Review
Expertly plotted and utterly absorbing, this nails down Hammer's reputation as one of the finest new voices in Australian Noir.
Irish Independent
Crime Scene Magazine
Complex and twisty with a genius finale.
Woman's Weekly
A compelling crime saga with masterful plotting and a thrilling finale.
Sunday Express

Detective Nell Buchanan