Dirt Town by Hayley Scrivenor @panmacmillan @al_saunders #DirtTown22 #DirtTown #Booktwt #TheClqrt #BookTwitter #BookReview

Pan Macmillan 23rd June 2022

Book Description

When twelve-year-old Esther Bianchi disappears on her way home from school in the small town of Durton in rural Australia, the local community is thrown into a state of grief and suspicion.


As Detective Sergeant Sarah Michaels begins her investigation, she questions those who knew the girl. Attempting to unpick the secrets which bind them together.


The girl’s mother, Constance, believes that her daughter going missing is the worst thing that can happen to her. But as the search for Esther develops, she learns that things can always get worse.


Ronnie is Esther’s best friend and is determined to bring her home. So when her class mate Lewis tells her 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 keeping quiet about what happened to Esther?

My Thoughts

Thank you to Emma at Bookbreak for the gifted proof copy of Dirt Town, I knew I was going to like this book, I hadn’t realised how much! Set in small town Australia I loved the vibe of this book, a small community; everyone knows each other and everyone has a past, people stick around in this small town and there is history, with a dark undercurrent!

Esther does not come home from school on Friday, someone knows what happened to her, but no one is saying anything. Excellently written from multiple perspectives we, the reader learn about the characters and what may have happened as the story builds, different people know different things, about the past and the present. Told over the course of the weekend while the hunt for the missing girl is going on, we hear a lot from DS Sarah Michaels as she seeks to locate the child, whilst also learning about the people of Durton.

It’s no secret that this is exactly my sort of book, I loved The Dry by Jane Harper, Tall Bones by Anna Bailey and on TV, Mare of Easttown and this book had a similar vibe. I love the secrets people hold about each other, the knowledge gleaned from living and working alongside those you grew up with, went to school with, got drunk with and Dirt Town capitalises on all of this.

A great read which is recommended by me and available to buy now, will you be buying this one? Does it sound like your type of book?

About the Author

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 Unpublished Prize and won the Kill Your Darlings Unpublished Manuscript Award.

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