Red Dirt by E.M. Reapy
Three young Irish people have come to Australia, running from the economic ruins of their home country and their own unhappy lives. In this promised land, stunned by the heat and the vast arid space of the interior, they each try to escape their past in a chaotic world of backpacker hostels, huge fruit farms and squalid factories, surrounded by new friends who are even more damaged and dangerous than they are themselves. Endless supplies of cheap drink and drugs loosen what little sense of responsibility they have, and a spiral of self-destructive behaviour forces each of them to face up to the reality of their lives.
This is a story of the consequences of impulsive choices and of the places where they lead. A vulnerable young man is left alone by his friends in a remote wilderness; a desperate girl puts herself into the hands of violent sex traffickers; a once-privileged favourite son lets a drunken quarrel escalate to murder. An utterly compelling, readable novel that hooks from the first page and immerses us in an all-too topical nightmare.