A scintillating crime thriller, set in the South Australian outback town of Cutters End. A mysterious death on New Year’s Eve 1989 leads to a shocking murder investigation 32 years later…
A desert highway. A remote town. A murder that won’t stay hidden.
New Year’s Eve, 1989. Eighteen-year-old Ingrid Mathers is hitchhiking her way to Alice Springs. Bored, hungover and separated from her friend Joanne, she accepts a lift to the remote town of Cutters End.
July 2021. Detective Sergeant Mark Ariti is seconded to a recently reopened case, one in which he has a personal connection. Three decades ago, a burnt and broken body was discovered in scrub off the Stuart Highway, 300km south of Cutters End. Though ultimately ruled an accidental death, many people – including a high-profile celebrity – are convinced it was murder.
When Mark’s interviews with the witnesses in the old case files go nowhere, he has no choice but to make the long journey up the highway to Cutters End.
And with the help of local Senior Constable Jagdeep Kaur, he soon learns that this death isn’t the only unsolved case that hangs over the town…
Cutters End isn’t your average rural crime novel. Told in sparse, straightforward prose, this a slow burn thriller you won’t forget anytime soon. The town of Cutters End, rife with secrets and mystery, is brought to life so vividly that you’ll feel the scorching heat wafting off the pages. Between the unnerving mystery and the haunting setting, it was so easy to get lost in the story.
One thing that really stood out to me was how easy it was to connect with the characters. The story is told from the perspective of Mark, a relatable, flawed detective who’s stuck in the middle of a town ready to blow. With the pressure on Mark to solve the murders, we really see the depths of his character; He’s a compelling and capable protagonist who struggles under the weight of his own expectations.
For fans of The Dry and Scrublands, Cutters End is a pitch-perfect outback noir, set against a vivid and atmospheric desert landscape. Hickey expertly builds the tension to an explosive finale that will linger with you for days.