A really enjoyable mystery from Chris Hammer that you won’t want to put down.

Trust is the third novel from Australian author, Chris Hammer. Oundle Crime thought his first (Scrublands) was terrific and I’ve continued to read his books since.

This is another story featuring journalist Martin Scarsden and his partner, Mandy Blonde. In chapter one Martin returns home and finds a body in the living room, and because this was almost exactly how the previous novel began I felt a sense of foreboding. But I needn’t have worried. For starters this body isn’t a corpse, just an unconscious man. The real problem is that Mandy has been abducted.

From here the action moves to Sydney and the story really begins. Five years earlier a policeman working undercover at a large investment bank had gone missing, together with millions of Australian dollars. It was believed he’d stolen the money and done a runner, leaving behind his fiancée, Mandy Blonde. And although various employees at the bank lost their jobs as a result of the theft, and one had been imprisoned, there had been no sightings of Tarquin Molloy (the policeman) since. That was until his body was discovered buried in the foundations of a building that was being demolished.

When Martin arrives in Sydney, he also discovers his friend and ex-editor has been killed, although the death has been staged to look like suicide. So, of course, he starts to try and find out what really happened, and why.

Without wanting to spoil anything, you need to know that Mandy is found safe and well and that she and Martin work to unravel what happened to Tarquin Molloy five years earlier. And Martin’s investigation into his friend’s murder throws up some new leads.

It’s a complicated and twisty story. Familiar characters appear, such as homicide detective, Morris Montifore, and the ASIO agent, Jack Goffing, but otherwise it’s a fresh cast of heroes and villains. There are bankers, judges, everyday criminals and organised crime; and the plot accommodates them all. Of course there are bodies as well, in addition to the remains of Tarquin Molloy.

This is another really enjoyable mystery from Chris Hammer. The writing is crisp and the story is told at pace, so you don’t want to put it down. And it’s fun to be in Sydney, and there’s a map at the beginning of the book which helps you work out where you are. I should also add that the story has a seriously unexpected ending, which I never saw coming. I was sad to finish this, so it earns 4.5 Stars from me.
Review by: Cornish Eskimo

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