Dirt Town by Hayley Scrivenor [5/10]

In Dirt Town, in a rundown town of dirt and faded aspirations, in a town named Durton (get it?), a twelve-year-old girl goes missing at the start of this century. Two detectives are sent from Sydney and for the next week or so, they circle the town’s residents, attempting to uncover the truth, hopefully to find the missing girl. It turns out that small-time secrets abound, and suspects arise, and witnesses to events on the day of disappearance lie to protect their own infelicities or reputations. Joining the ranks of Australia’s bush crime fiction bonanza, debut novelist Hayley Scrivenor spins a convincing yarn from multiple points of view. I suspect many readers will enjoy Dirt Town and its secrets and revelations, but this reviewer experienced the plot to be as familiar as many before it, familiar enough that the climactic revelations fell flat.

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