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Scrublands (Martin Scarsden, #1)
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Group Read - Scrublands > Group Read - Scrublands chap 22-28 End Spoilers Welcome

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Ann (annrumsey) | 14201 comments This topic is to discuss chapters 22-28 to the end of Scrublands by Chris Hammer. *Spoilers welcome*
If the first to post, please briefly summarize to guide the discussion.

message 2: by Ann (last edited Sep 21, 2019 10:44PM) (new) - added it

Ann (annrumsey) | 14201 comments Chapter twenty-two - Thirty
Martin finds a radiant Mandy at the Oasis with a lawyer, Winifred Barbicombe, her firm has represents the Snouch family and wants Martin to be a witness, Eric Snouch has left his considerable estate to Mandy upon her 30th birthday. Harley does not inherit more than an allowance. Martin suggests a paternity test to answer Mandy's question if he is 'her father. The lawyer gives a circumspect answer about Harley and prison. A con man recently released from prison, Terrence Michael McGill. Martin asks Bethany to research him.

Chapter twenty-three The Cell
Jack Goffing has news that a senior investigator with the ACIC has been investigating the motorcycle gang, the Reapers for organized crime. Claus Vandenbruk is also a lifelong friend of Herb Walker and coming to Riversend; and Jamie Landers wants to talk to Martin.
Nervously Martin visits Jamie in his jail cell.
Jamie has no remorse for killing the hitchhikers, Jamie lied and told Herb that Byron abused him. Byron had found something or the dead girls. They were going to kill him "in self-defense" and the priest would be blamed if the hikers' bodies were discovered. They had called in a tip to help that along.
Craig Landers had been calmed by Jamie telling him the abuse was a lie the morning of the massacre .Jamie attacks Martin.

message 3: by Ann (last edited Sep 12, 2019 10:09PM) (new) - added it

Ann (annrumsey) | 14201 comments Chapter twenty-four The Corpse
D'Arcy gives Martin his sympathy and contact info for an editor who would likely publish a longer piece., Martin thinks he might have a book. Codger Harris guides Martin out to the scrublands to find the local biker Jason. Quoting Codger: "this place is like waiting for Godot. Without the conversation."
The buildings are all gone from the fire, a shed has the evidence of a large hydroponic operation water probably routed from Snouch's spring. Shazza, Jason's girlfriend is alone, out of water. Jason and Herb Walker attempting to arrest him had been taken by the Reapers abandoning her there. Jack arrives with the ACIC (Criminal Intelligence Commission) investigators .Jason is alive. Swift and Avery Foster worked with the bikers.
Bigger news, Bethanie sent a clip identifying Harley Snouch as a con man - Terrence Michael McGill, recently released from prison.

Chapter twenty-five Wired
Jack has Martin wear a wire when they visit Harley to confront him.
Martin tells him a DNA test is ok with Mandy. Harley has a kit ready. No more blackmail, but Martin calls him Terry. Martin suggests he wanted the drug money to keep flowing without Swift and Foster in the way. Harley does not know why Swift shot the five men.
Martin s suspicious, Harley was convicted as a master forger. Harley pulls a shotgun. Codger hits Harley in the head before Harley can shoot Martin.
Harley was forging a letter from the testing company stating Harley was Mandy's half brother. (Framing his father for the rape)

message 4: by Ann (last edited Sep 13, 2019 11:16PM) (new) - added it

Ann (annrumsey) | 14201 comments Chapter twenty-six. Bonfire
Martin works out Snouch's probable scheme, an intricate con to get his inheritance from Mandy and keep the drug money.
Fire. The hotel fully engaged. Robbie is rescued from the fire by the ACIO men. The hotel falls.

Chapter twenty-seven The Bridge
Wellington Smith calls Martin offering a magazine piece and a book deal. The newspapers have stories about Jamie Landers being one of the hitchhikers' murders and the hotel fire, the building will have to come down. Robbie being rescued is inaccurately touted as a hero in D'Arcy's story.
Claus Vandenbruk angry over Herb's death still has questions, loose ends as the Reapers are being arrested. Robbie was probably looking to destroy any evidence that would incriminate him for the drug operation in the hotel. Not suicide, the Reapers killed Herb Walker and Robbie was asked by Herb to investigate the crime stoppers tip about the hitchhikers.
Vandenbruk plays some recorded phone conversations Byron Swift made from the church the morning of the shooting. He was leaving, be was panicked about what would happen to Mandy after he left. He says Craig Landers is an animal.
Martin tells Mandy who Byron really was and his war crimes in Afghanistan. She already knew about the drug operation and that Robbie knew, the money came from something (it helped the entire town) though Robbie was not directly involved, the details ripped from her diary. Martin tells Mandy of Harley's planned DNA con, and his plan to write it all breaks them apart.

Martin is not the same man he was before the car trunk, he finally realizes the reason for the profound impact the three days made on him. He is as no longer only an observer, only reporting. In Gaza be became the story, now he's brought himself to the story.

Martin sees Fran Landers praying in the church, he tells her Jamie's message he is sorry. Martin persuades Fran to tell what really transpired the fateful morning. Craig Landers, angry about Byron Swift's relationship with Fran and Mandy was going to mess with his mind. Fran told Byron in desperation that Craig and his friends were abusers. Byron thought the men had killed the hitchhikers. He was determined to save Mandy and Fran from such horrors after he was gone.

Chapter twenty-eight - Life
Martin returns to Riversend. He's written his magazine piece, 'The Truth'. He's protected the innocent, some by omission - Mandy, Jack, Fran, Claus, the townspeople. The innocent victims were confirmed beyond reproach restoring Martin's sense of himself. And Mandy has asked him to help her pack up to leave.
Codger, now the manager of the bookshop has more to tell. The day his family was killed he had been trying to help th e pregnant Katherine leave the abusive rapist Harley. Eric Snouch had been a kind man, helping Codger and he'd told Eric about Harley's brutality leading to his exile. Katherine had visited Codger in the scrublands weekly with books and food.
And it rains.

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Ann (annrumsey) | 14201 comments Wow.

Carol/Bonadie (bonadie) | 7781 comments Something, huh? There was so much in these final chapters that my head spun. I always wondered if Mandy and Martin were going to make it, she seemed to grow cold on a dime and he kept talking about their age difference. I hope they've figured it out.

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Ann (annrumsey) | 14201 comments Carol: Yes! my head was definitely spinning! What a book! The skill to reveal and plot the clues behind so many mysteries while subtly telling Martin's story of finding himself was amazing.
Martin as a journalist considering his profession, passionate about his writing and struggling with PTSD was fascinating.

Carol/Bonadie wrote: "Something, huh? There was so much in these final chapters that my head spun. I always wondered if Mandy and Martin were going to make it, she seemed to grow cold on a dime and he kept talking about their age difference...."

Janice Elliott-Howard (jyhoward1066) | 62 comments The story turned into sex, lies, drugs and I am shocked there was no rock and roll. I guess the band of bikers take the place of that. Almost the whole town was implicated in some form or fashion with the drug ring indirectly. I knew that Herb Walker did not commit suicide. I figured that Martin would wind up with a book deal. Harley Snouch was a piece of work, but what an elaborate plan to remain at Springfield in some capacity. In the end, he still loses everything and all the accusations against him are proven true. My faith in Katie Blonde is restored. I am happy that Martin and Mandy wind up together. The multitude of storylines was almost too much for me. It joins together nicely at the end, but it is a bit extra for my taste.

message 9: by Ann (last edited Sep 30, 2019 09:53PM) (new) - added it

Ann (annrumsey) | 14201 comments Janice: The bikers could cover a rock and roll aspect! The town being involved, and the local police were implicated too. They always say everyone in a small town knows everyone else's secrets. These secrets were deep, dark, and toxic after the hiking girls were murdered.
It does join nicely in the end. Too nicely, maybe, but like you I was happy for Mandy and found hope for Martin's recovery. His experience was fascinating.

Janice wrote: "The story turned into sex, lies, drugs and I am shocked there was no rock and roll. I guess the band of bikers take the place of that.
Almost the whole town was implicated in some form or fashion with the drug ring indirectly..."

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