This is Hayley Scrivenor’s debut novel and brings a refreshing take on the small town noir crime genre. Scrivenor is a former Director Director of Wollongong Writers Festival and is originally from a small country town herself with this lived experience bringing depth and authenticity to Dirt Creek. An earlier version of Dirt Creek was shortlisted for the Penguin Literary Prize and won The Kill Your Darlings Unpublished Manuscript Award so we already know this will be a seriously well written story.
What elevates Dirt Town from the deluge of Australian small town noir novels is the exploration of how the bad things that happen to children are viewed by the children left behind. Told from different perspectives we explore the effects of a missing child on the town, a marriage, on a mother, on a friend and on the Detective tasked with finding Ester.