Chris Hammer’s The Seven (Lucic & Buchanan #3): Compelling crime

The Seven is the third highly compelling crime mystery novel starring Chris Hammer’s homicide detective pairing Nell Buchanan and Ivan Lucic. Read our review.

The Seven Book Synopsis

The latest stunning thriller from the bestselling author of Scrublands and The Tilt.

Every paradise has its original sin

Yuwonderie’s seven founding families have lorded it over their district for a century, growing ever more rich and powerful. 

But now—in startling circumstances—one of their own is found dead in a ditch and homicide detectives Ivan Lucic and Nell Buchanan are sent to investigate.

Could the murder be connected to the execution of the victim’s friend thirty years ago—another member of The Seven—or even to the long-forgotten story of a servant girl on the brink of the Great War?

What are the secrets The Seven are so desperate to keep hidden?

With the killer still on the loose and events spiralling out of control, the closer Ivan and Nell get to discovering the truth, the more dangerous their investigation becomes. Can they crack the case before more people die?

The Seven is a compelling thriller filled with intrigue, emotional depth and an evocative sense of place—where nothing is ever quite what it seems. Chris Hammer, the acclaimed and bestselling author of the international bestsellers ScrublandsTreasure & Dirt and The Tiltcan take his place among the world’s finest crime writers.

(Allen & Unwin, October 2023)

Also being released as Cover the Bones by Wildfire in the UK.

Genre: Crime- Detective, Mystery, Historical, Thriller, Drama

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Book Review

A new novel from one of my favourite crime writers Chris Hammer is always something to look forward to, and that’s particularly the case when it features homicide detectives Ivan Lucic and Nell Buchanan (Treasure & Dirt #1, Tilt/Dead Man’s Creek #2).

A firecracker of a case in Book 1 brought this wonderful detective pairing together. In Book 2 we learned a lot about Nell and her family history. Now in The Seven (Book 3), we learn more about Ivan’s traumatic past as his own childhood experiences parallel that of a key witness and he receives a dreaded phone call from far away. We are also treated to a cameo from the star of another of Chris Hammer’s bestsellers.

The murder mysteries Nell and Ivan are assigned to investigate are rarely simple, and The Seven is no exception. The setting of Yuwonderie, a thriving inland regional town literally built on the back of a water irrigation scheme conceived and developed by its founding landholders (squatocracy), has quite the ‘Stepford-Wives’ vibe about it. Hammer evokes, and indeed plots, the influence of unseen forces beautifully and believably. This only heightens reader engagement and suspense, as does his use of one of my favourite narrative structures – multiple timeline, alternating character perspectives.

Ivan and Nell’s investigation of a single body on the property of a prominent politician and landholder, sets off an explosive chain of events that unravel the town’s long-kept secrets and ultimately reveal who has really been pulling the strings. In the orbit of The Seven, no one is ever safe…. not even Ivan and Nell, and Hammer skilfully takes readers to the edge-of-their-seat and surprises us on more than one occasion.

The Seven is another thrilling tangled-web and emotionally satisfying read from Chris Hammer. I do not think I’ll ever get enough of Nell and Ivan… more please!

My Rating: Story 4.25 / 5 ; The Writing 4.5 / 5 – Overall 4.4

Get your copy of The Seven from:

Amazon Booktopia AU

More The Seven reviews

“The setting plays a major role in Hammer’s novels and his evocation of place makes you feel like you’re right there in the rich, fertile Riverina district. It’s a disconcertingly picturesque backdrop to the greed and sins of the powerful locals; a place where nothing is ever quite what it seems. Hammer fans, new and old, this is a must-add to your TBR pile.” —BetterReading

“Readers who like gritty crime fiction set in recognisable Australian landscapes will enjoy this one.” — DeniseNewtonWrites

About the Author, Chris Hammer

Chris Hammer is a leading Australian author of crime fiction. His first book, Scrublands, was an instant bestseller when it was published in mid-2018. It won the prestigious UK Crime Writers Association John Creasy Award for a debut crime novel in 2019 and was shortlisted for various awards in Australia and the United States.

Scrublands has been sold into translation in several foreign languages, and a television series based on the novel is scheduled for completion in late 2023. His follow up books – Silver (2019), Trust (2020), Treasure & Dirt (2021) and The Tilt (2022) – are also bestsellers, and all have been shortlisted for major literary prizes. 

Before turning to fiction, Chris was a journalist for more than thirty years, dividing his career between covering Australian federal politics and international affairs. He reported from more than thirty countries on six continents with SBS TV, while in Canberra his roles included chief political correspondent for The Bulletin, senior writer for The Age and online political editor for the Sydney Morning Herald

Chris has also written two non-fiction books, The River (2010) and The Coast (2012). He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Charles Sturt University and a master’s degree in international relations from the Australian National University.

Read our reviews of earlier Chris Hammer book releases:

* My receiving a pre-publication digital copy of The Seven from the publisher for review purposes did not impact the expression of my honest opinions.