Chris Hammer: Opal Country

I reviewed Opal Country as part of the readalong with THE Book Club (TBC). My review is written with thanks to the publisher for my copy of the book.



In the desolate outback town of Finnigans Gap, police struggle to maintain law and order. Thieves pillage opal mines, religious fanatics recruit vulnerable youngsters and billionaires do as they please.


Then an opal miner is found crucified and left to rot down his mine. Nothing about the miner’s death is straight-forward, not even who found the body. Homicide detective Ivan Lucic is sent to investigate, assisted by inexperienced young investigator Nell Buchanan.

But Finnigans Gap has already ended one police career and damaged others, and soon both officers face damning allegations and internal investigations. Have Ivan and Nell been set up, and if so, by whom?


As time runs out, their only chance at redemption is to find the killer. But the more they uncover, the more harrowing the mystery becomes, and a past long forgotten is thrown into scorching sunlight.

Because in Finnigans Gap, nothing stays buried for ever.


I’ve never read anything by Chris Hammer before but I am definitely encouraged to read more after finishing Opal Country. Hammer’s writing is brilliant. It is so descriptive that I could picture absolutely every scene, something which is important for a novel set in a remote part of Australia, somewhere with which I wasn’t at all familiar. The description of the mining practices are also very detailed and I enjoyed learning more about this subject which was previously completely unknown to me. 

I enjoyed meeting Ivan and Nell and I liked the way they seemed to bounce off each other. Both characters have colourful pssts and interesting secrets and I loved delving deeper into their back stories. I’m not sure if there are plans for a series but there are definitely plenty of places where the author could take these characters. 

Hammer’s plotting is very intelligent and I loved being taken on a journey through all the different twists and turns. I really enjoyed trying to piece everything together to work out what had happened – and got it completely wrong! 

Opal Country is available from Amazon.

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