Review: The Tilt by Chris Hammer


Title: The Tilt (DS Ivan Lucic & DC Nell Buchanan #2)

Author: Chris Hammer

Published: 5th October 2022, Allen & Unwin

Status: Read October 2022 courtesy Allen & Unwin



My Thoughts:


The Tilt is the second stunning crime fiction novel from bestselling author Chris Hammer to feature Detective Sergeant Ivan Lucic and Detective Constable Nell (Narelle) Buchanan, who were introduced in Treasure and Dirt (Opal Country).

“A skeleton in the bottom of the regulator. All this time. I couldn’t believe it when I read about it. A skeleton. Who could have known that?”

Following their successful resolution of their case in Finnegan’s Gap, Detective Sergeant Ivan Lucic and Detective Constable Nell (Narelle) Buchanan have been partnered to form a rural homicide flying squad. Though they are to be based in Dubbo, Lucic and Buchanan are required to respond to any case in regional or remote NSW the brass deem appropriate. Their first assigned case coincidentally sends them to Nell’s hometown near the Victorian border along the Murray River, where the skeleton of a homicide victim has been unearthed after a river regulator was blown up.

Ivan takes a step back in The Tilt, leaving Nell to take the lead in what becomes a very personal investigation after a second skeleton is found. Old grudges are revived and dark secrets are exposed revealing tales of theft, assault, corruption, love, loss, betrayal and revenge. Weaving through the narrative of Nell’s present day investigation is the transcript of a statement made to the police by an elderly man, and the account of a romance between a teenage girl and a young charismatic journalist in the 1970’s. As the novel unfolds the links between the seemingly disparate threads grow clearer, in what is an impressive and compelling feat of plotting.

While I missed Ivan’s presence, I enjoyed gaining more insight into Nell’s character. She’s not entirely comfortable with being back in her hometown, convinced her family, especially her mother, doesn’t support her career choice. Things only grow more complicated for Nell when her investigation seems to indicate the involvement of members of her family.

Readers familiar with Hammer’s Martin Scarsden series will recognise one of the characters who makes an appearance in the novel, playing the part of a ‘twitcher’, he’s keeping an eye on the growing camp of ‘cookers’ nearby. Hammer also introduces another character in The Tilt Senior Constable Kevin Mackangara, the lone residential officer in Tulong, who it seems will join Ivan and Nell in future books.

Though the investigation plays out over only a week, the story spans decades. Hammer touches on historical events of note such as the diversion of the Murray River, and the POW labour camps established during WWII.

With its gripping, multi-layered mysteries, vivid characters and atmospheric setting, The Tilt is an immersive read, I highly recommend.


Available from Allen & Unwin

RRP AUD$32.99


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3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #SundayPost #SundaySalon | book'd out
  2. Tina
    Oct 13, 2022 @ 01:39:12

    This sounds great. I haven’t read Treasure and Dirt yet but I do love the earlier books he’s written.



  3. Trackback: The Tilt (aka Dead Man's Creek) by Chris Hammer, Book Review

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