Published: 31st May 2016
Publisher: Pan Macmillian Australia
Pages: 352 or 9 hrs 37 mins (audio)
RRP: $ 32.62 (Audio book)/
A small town hides big secrets in this atmospheric, page-turning debut mystery by award-winning author Jane Harper.
In the grip of the worst drought in a century, the farming community of Kiewarra is facing life and death choices daily when three members of a local family are found brutally slain.
Federal Police investigator Aaron Falk reluctantly returns to his hometown for the funeral of his childhood friend, loath to face the townsfolk who turned their backs on him twenty years earlier.
But as questions mount, Falk is forced to probe deeper into the deaths of the Hadler family. Because Falk and Luke Hadler shared a secret. A secret Falk thought was long buried. A secret Luke’s death now threatens to bring to the surface in this small Australian town, as old wounds bleed into new ones.
The Dry by Jane Harper … I am still so much in awe with, and fascinated by, this book. Despite being Harper’s debut novel, and the first in her Aaron Falk series, this book absolutely blew me away.
Set in a small outback town during the worst drought the country has ever seen, Federal Police investigator Aaron Falk returns home for the funeral of his childhood best friend and finds himself amid a cesspit of boiling tensions, suspicions and allegations. With the drought crippling everyone financially, emotionally and mentally, tensions are high in the town of Kiewerra.
Right from the start this book grabbed my attention and held me captive right to the very end. Although I guessed some of the events before they happened, I was constantly guessing motivations and potential criminal masterminds for the two crimes the book focuses around (the present murder of an entire family in cold blood and the past murder of one of the town’s teenagers some thirty years prior).
Despite being her debut book, Harper has cleverly and masterly crafted an edge-of-your-seat criminal/mystery thriller that leaves you guessing and suspecting everyone. With expert storytelling, she weaves the reader through a story of deceit, lies and scandal some thirty years in the making. What’s more, she reveals only the barest of facts at the crucial moment for the story, leaving the readers and characters hanging for more information as their world is rocked from under their feet time after time.
Her characters were on point with small towns and the Australian outback setting was the most perfect background for this novel. The setting is uniquely Australian and strangely universal all at once, and tensions and conflict explored in this book are both uncomfortable, devastating and intriguing, making you both disgusted by the actions, but unable to look away. Jane Harper deserves all the praise she gets (and more!) for this murder mystery and I’m stunned that it’s taken me so long to devour this. Because devour it, I did.
The audiobook I listened to was narrated by Steve Shanahan, and his voice was perfect for this story. Ironically dry, his voice conveyed the exact emotion and tone for this narrative, that I seriously could not imagine a better person suited for the book. I found his performance enthralling as much as the book was, and binge read as much as I could as fast as I could!
I highly recommend The Dry if you like thriller and mystery books. It’s not a police procedural by any means, so if that’s not your cup of tea, you really should give this book a go. Devastating, this book captures a wide range of emotions and the human psyche, bringing the best and worst of mankind to the readers forethought. I’m not ashamed to admit, I cried during this book, I felt sick to my stomach and completely shocked by the events that unfolded. It was brilliant!
I can see myself singing The Dry high praise for a long time to come and can’t wait to get stuck into the second book in the series, Force of Nature, and her latest standalone The Lost Man.
To purchase a copy of The Dry, visit the following online retailers:
To learn more about Jane Harper, visit the following social media pages: