Trust by Chris Hammer (Blog Tour)

Title: Trust (Martin Scarsden #3)
Author: Chris Hammer
Published: October 2020
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Readership: Adult
Genre: Crime-Mystery
Rating: ★★★★
RRP: $32.99

I received a copy of Trust from the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

She breathes deeply, trying to quell the rising sense of panic. A detective came to her home, drugged her and kidnapped her. She tries to make sense of it, to imagine alternatives, but only one conclusion is possible: it’s the past, come to claim her.

Martin Scarsden’s new life seems perfect, right up until the moment it’s shattered by a voicemail: a single scream, abruptly cut off, from his partner Mandalay Blonde.

Racing home, he finds an unconscious man sprawled on the floor and Mandy gone. Someone has abducted her. But who, and why?

So starts a twisting tale of intrigue and danger, as Martin probes the past of the woman he loves, a woman who has buried her former life so deep she has never mentioned it.

And for the first time, Mandy finds denial impossible, now the body of a mystery man has been discovered, a man whose name she doesn’t know, a man she was engaged to marry when he died. It’s time to face her demons once and for all; it’s time she learned how to trust.

Set in a Sydney riven with corruption and nepotism, privilege and power, Trustis the third riveting novel from award-winning and internationally acclaimed writer Chris Hammer.

There are many Australian authors that appear to be household names that I have yet to read many books from, and Chris Hammer is one of them. I’ve seen his first book Scrublands everywhere, and it’s been on my future reading list for a while. So when I was asked if I was interested in participating in the blog tour for his latest novel, Trust, I jumped on the opportunity to explore a new-to-me author.

Trust is the third book in the Martin Scarsden series, and opens with Martin enjoying a peaceful morning on the beach with future stepson, Liam – only to have that peace shattered when he discovers a voicemail of a scream from his partner, Mandy. Upon returning home, Scarsden discovers that Mandy is missing and there’s the body of an unconscious man lying on the floor. As Scarsden investigates Mandy’s disappearance he becomes caught up in the strange death of a close friend, and how the two seemingly separate occurrences are linked to the disappearance of a con-man years earlier.

I have a lot of respect for Australian authors – I truly believe the talent we have hear shines through in the books that are published each and every year. Chris Hammer’s work is no different.

Trust was, to me, a bit of a slow-burn crime-mystery book that slowly drip-feeds the reader small pieces of the puzzle on each page. While the action gets going on the first page, it’s not a book that you can race through because you’ll miss all the clues along the way. Instead, Hammer builds the tension until you just have to keep turning the pages to find out what is going on.

Scarsden is a fascinating main character, who – at the beginning of the book – appears to have found some peace in domestic life away from his former life as an investigative journalist. He’s been able to adapt to the slower pace, but is suddenly thrust back into his old life in order to figure out what is going on. We alternate most chapters with those of his partner, Mandalay, and her story, which unfolds parallel to the story Scarsden is investigating.

This is a crime story about greed, corruption and how a secret society among the elite in Sydney can have ramifications to everyone below them. There are a lot of side characters to keep track of, but Hammer does a wonderful job of making them all feel like fully-fleshed out characters. They feel real.

At no point did I guess who was truly behind all the events that were unfolding and that made for a compelling read.

I am definitely intrigued to go back and read the first two books in the series (Scrublands and Silver) to fill in some of the backstory that is hinted at in this book.

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