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Reviews of Dirt Creek by Hayley Scrivenor

Dirt Creek

A Novel

by Hayley Scrivenor

Dirt Creek by Hayley Scrivenor X
Dirt Creek by Hayley Scrivenor
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    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Aug 2022, 336 pages

    Paperback:
    May 2023, 336 pages

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About this Book

Book Summary

In Hayley Scrivenor's Dirt Creek, a small-town debut mystery described as The Dry meets Everything I Never Told You, a girl goes missing and a community falls apart and comes together.

When twelve-year-old Esther disappears on the way home from school in a small town in rural Australia, the community is thrown into a maelstrom of suspicion and grief. As Detective Sergeant Sarah Michaels arrives in town during the hottest spring in decades and begins her investigation, Esther's tenacious best friend, Ronnie, is determined to find Esther and bring her home.

When schoolfriend Lewis tells Ronnie that he saw Esther with a strange man at the creek the afternoon she went missing, Ronnie feels she is one step closer to finding her. But why is Lewis refusing to speak to the police? And who else is lying about how much they know about what has happened to Esther?

Punctuated by a Greek chorus, which gives voice to the remaining children of the small, dying town, this novel explores the ties that bind, what we try and leave behind us, and what we can never outrun, while never losing sight of the question of what happened to Esther, and what her loss does to a whole town.

WE

TUESDAY, DECEMBER 4, 2001

We were waiting for things to converge.

It was still dark. Even if the sun had been up, we would not have needed to look around us. It was the same dirt, lazily punctuated here and there by dry grass, the same rust-ringed cement water trough close to the fence line, the same white cypress pines that dotted our own families' properties. A landscape as familiar to us as the backs of our own eyelids. And we knew we'd found the spot again by the smell. It pushed its way into our nose and throat like a rod of twisted tissue rammed so far it hurt. It was the smell of dead lambs left to rot in the sun.

The stitches in the man's arm tugged as he turned the steering wheel of his ute. From his vantage point in the driver's seat, the main house was just a smudge in the distance. The sun was coming up now. He was checking the fences after his time away from the farm. If he'd driven just a meter closer to the fence line—a meter was nothing on a property like ...

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Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

I don't usually read mysteries but Dirt Creek is an excellent read! I did not want to put it down until I found out what really happened to Esther (Mary Jane D). It is interesting for its structure and amazing for its beautiful prose and engaging storytelling. While a murder mystery on the surface, it is also a story about a small town and its people (Janine S). I have read quite a few novels about how the death or disappearance of a child affects a community but this one is a cut above. It takes place in a small Australian town where everyone is connected to each other, creating a claustrophobic atmosphere of doubt and suspicion (Margot P)...continued

Full Review (693 words)

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(Reviewed by BookBrowse First Impression Reviewers).

Media Reviews

New York Times Book Review
A novel of sharp-edged tempers, accidents waiting to happen and dark inheritances…politically savvy, cleverly plotted.

Booklist, starred review
The book brims over with head-spinning and mind-bending surprises. It will draw the inevitable comparisons to Jane Harper's The Dry, but it proceeds boldly under its own unique power. A brilliantly crafted debut.

Publishers Weekly
Australian author Scrivenor's stunning debut blends a taut psychological thriller with a suspenseful police procedural...Fans of Liane Moriarty and Jane Harper won't want to miss this page-turner.

Author Blurb Ann Cleeves, internationally bestselling author of the Vera Stanhope and Detective Matthew Venn novels
Beautifully written, compassionate, with an entirely credible but heart-breaking ending. A stunning debut.

Author Blurb Hannah Kent, internationally bestselling author of Burial Rights
Dirt Creek 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.

Author Blurb Jane Harper, internationally bestselling author of The Survivors
A heart-wrenching mystery, Hayley Scrivenor's remarkable sense of place brings Dirt Creek to life. A stellar debut.

Reader Reviews

Jesia

Love this book
I love this book.
Anupama jena

Crowd of mystery
"Dirt creek", by Hayley Scrivenor;   A heart- wrenching mystery, Hayley scrivener masterful in her deft handling of a regional town and characters that populate it. Beautifully written,  with an entirely credible, compassionate. It is a...   Read More
Suzanne G. (Tucson, AZ)

Great mystery
"Dirt Creek" is a mystery with an ending that I never guessed. The characters were many and often. Sometimes I'd have to revisit previous pages to put a character in its place. This book has such a rhythm with words, I often reread a part aloud just ...   Read More
Lynne S. (The Woodlands, TX)

Dirt Creek characters shine
Dirt Creek by Hayley Scrivenor is a coming of age story wrapped in a mystery that kept me turning the pages. All of the characters are well developed, but I think the author has a special talent for making the reader feel the many different emotions ...   Read More

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Beyond the Book

Novels Set in Rural and Remote Australia

Location is key for Hayley Scrivenor's debut novel Dirt Creek, which is set in a rural Australian town in the southeastern state of New South Wales. The tight-knit atmosphere is pervaded by suspicion after the disappearance of a 12-year-old girl, and the ensuing mystery takes place during a particularly hot summer. Below, we'll take a look at a few other novels that are set in rural and remote Australian settings — across a variety of climates and communities — including small inland and seaside towns, the Outback and islands off the continent's coast.

Covers of novels set in rural and remote Australia

Our First Impressions reviewers drew multiple comparisons (and pointed out some important differences) between Scrivenor's work and the novels of bestselling author ...

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Read-Alikes

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