As reviewed in our May newsletter:
Set in a small town in a large land, the novel opens with an apparently open-shut case of murder-suicide. However, all is not what it seems. When policeman and former resident, Aaron Falk returns to attend the funeral of his childhood friend, he asks a few questions; did Luke really kill his wife and son or was there malfeasance – some wrongdoing?
The tension here is set against the relative peace of the outback so the very suggestion of homicide is alarming because the landscape itself then suddenly takes on a malevolent aspect. The dry is a term for drought and after two years without rain the local community is mired in poverty and particularly fraught.
Aaron himself is not welcome because he was implicated in the death of a young woman who was his girlfriend – twenty years earlier. Two people, Raco, the local cop, and Gretchen, a friend who remained, assist and between them provide pieces of the puzzle. Aaron finally discovers a grave site and is then suddenly confronted by his nemesis. From this confrontation, Aaron believes he has the final piece of the puzzle. All I can say is that the author handles the ending well. Time spent reading this story is time well spent. Highly recommended. Mike
A small town hides big secrets in The Dry, an atmospheric, page-turning mystery by New York Times bestselling author Jane Harper.
Everyday life in one small, rural town is about to take a shocking turn. . .
Federal agent Aaron Falk hasn't been back to the place where he grew up ever since he and his father were run out of town twenty years ago. Even now, when Falk first gets word that his childhood best friend Luke is dead, he has no intention of going back. But then he gets a note: Luke lied. You lied. Be at the funeral. And, just like that, Falk is swept back into the world he vowed to leave behind--for good.
Back in his hometown, Falk is asked by Luke's parents to find the truth about what really happened to their son. Because something about the stories people are telling about Luke just doesn't add up. . .Soon, amid the worst drought in a century, a series of long-buried mysteries rises to the surface. Falk knows that life--and death--is never quite as it appears. Still, nothing could have prepared him for this. . .
"Devastating...riveting."--Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"Thrilling. . .pays off on every level."--Shelf Awareness
"One of the most stunning debuts I've ever read."--David Baldacci
"A breathless page-turner, driven by the many revelations Ms. Harper dreams up...You'll love her] sleight of hand...A secret on every page." --The New York Times
Shortlisted for Australian Independent Booksellers Indie Awards: Debut Fiction 2017.
Jane Harper has worked as a print journalist for thirteen years both in Australia and the UK. Winner of the Victorian Premier's Literary Award for an Unpublished Manuscript, The Dry is her first novel with rights sold to over twenty territories. Jane lives in Melbourne.