New Release Book Review: The Tilt by Chris Hammer

New Release Book Review: The Tilt by Chris Hammer

Title: The Tilt

Author: Chris Hammer

Published: October 5th 2022

Publisher: Allen & Unwin

Pages: 496

Genres: Fiction, Contemporary, Crime, Mystery

RRP: $32.99

Rating: 4.5 stars

A man runs for his life in a forest.

A woman plans sabotage.

A body is unearthed.

Newly-minted homicide detective Nell Buchanan returns to her home town, annoyed at being assigned a decades-old murder – a ‘file and forget’.

But this is no ordinary cold case, as the discovery of more bodies triggers a chain of escalating events in the present day. As Nell starts to join the pieces together, she begins to question how well she truly knows those closest to her. Could her own family be implicated in the crimes?

The nearer Nell comes to uncovering the secrets of the past, the more dangerous the present becomes for her, as she battles shadowy assailants and sinister forces. Can she survive this harrowing investigation and what price will she have to pay for the truth?

Gripping and atmospheric, The Tilt is a stunning multi-layered novel by the acclaimed and award-winning author of the international bestsellers ScrublandsSilverTrust and Treasure & Dirt.


The king of Australian rural noir is back with another thrilling treat. A story set in the thick red gum forest surrounds and mighty wetlands, The Tilt is the latest Aussie crime spectacular from Chis Hammer.

Nell Buchanan heads The Tilt, the latest dark noir from Scrublands fame Chris Hammer. We last met detective Nell in Hammer’s last thrill ride, Treasure and Dirt. Nell has recently been promoted and her new role sees this homicide detective return to her roots. Sent in to investigate a cold case murder mystery in her old home town, Nell will uncover many dark secrets in this familiar location. When Nell beings to probe further into this decades old case, the unearthing of bodies connected to this crime has drastic implications for her present-day investigation. As Nell works to put the pieces of this complex puzzle together, she is forced to scrutinise those who are closest to her. As Nell makes tracks towards closing this intricate case, the past comes to the surface with a shocking amount of force. With high risk, danger, suspicion, enemies with a grudge and malevolent parties at work, Nell’s quest for the truth becomes treacherous. Will Nell be able to escape the clutches of this dangerous operation unscathed?

It was a welcome surprise to be featured in the praise list of Chris Hammer’s new release. I have had the pleasure of reading this acclaimed author’s work since his debut title Scrublands. I felt incredibly grateful to be offered an opportunity to review Hammer’s latest crime noir, which I anticipate will be another international success story.

In The Tilt Hammer reintroduces us to Nell Buchanan, who last featured in Treasure and Dirt. It was great to reconnect with Nell and I celebrated with her when she found out that she had been promoted. However, this new promotion takes her to some old ground as Nell must return to her home town in this latest Chris Hammer chapter. My connection and admiration for Nell was constant in The Tilt. I liked Nell’s approach, dedication and work ethic. I also found Nell’s interactions with the various players in this book to be absorbing, especially her links to her colleagues and superiors. This was an authentic component of the novel, demonstrating Hammer’s commitment to getting the policing and investigation efforts of his tale on point.

Hammer’s writing is always deeply reflective of the setting in which his novel is based. The Tilt expands on this author’s natural repertoire for describing the beautiful but harsh Australian landscape. I was immersed in Hammer’s stage from the first chapter. The thick forest surrounds and the waterways burst to life on the pages of The Tilt. Everything is lit up in Hammer’s latest offering and the vivid descriptions of the rural panama fully entrench the reader in the events of the novel. Nobody can equal Chris Hammer when it comes to Australian landscape based prose, he is the overlord. With plenty of references to the expansive red gum forest area and the Murray River catchment, we are left in awe of this masterful tribute to Australia’s rural platform.

In this fifth Chris Hammer release, a multi thread novel with a number of sub plots emerges. These different story tags initially appear completely unconnected, but Hammer’s aptitude for producing a highly intelligent crime thriller novels ensures that these seemingly individual plots merge into one big mystery showcase.  It might seem overzealous, but Hammer takes this significant undertaking in his stride. What emerges is a story filled with pockets of investigative clues from the past, a Second World War thread (I loved this POW area the most) and a shifting present-day caseload. This is an astute and highly satisfying read that kept me bound to my reading spot for two days. I loved the extras included in The Tilt, such as the map at the beginning of the novel, thanks Chris Hammer!

A potent and intricate novel, The Tilt ensures that Chris Hammer’s name is synonymous with the category of Australian crime noir.

The Tilt by Chris Hammer was published on 5th October 2022 by Allen & Unwin. Details on how to purchase the book can be found here.

To learn more about the author of The Tilt Chris Hammer, visit here.

*Thanks extended to Allen & Unwin for providing a free copy of this book for review purposes.


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