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
WHO REALLY KILLED THE HADLER FAMILY?
Luke Hadler turns a gun on his wife and child, then himself. The farming community of Kiewarra is facing life and death choices daily. If one of their own broke under the strain, well ...
When Federal Police investigator Aaron Falk returns to Kiewarra for the funerals, he is loath to confront the people who rejected him twenty years earlier. But when his investigative skills are called on, the facts of the Hadler case start to make him doubt this murder-suicide charge.
And as Falk probes deeper into the killings, old wounds are reopened. For Falk and his childhood friend Luke shared a secret ... A secret Falk thought long-buried ... A secret which Luke's death starts to bring to the surface ...
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 Winner of the Victorian Premier's Literary Award for an Unpublished Manuscript, The Dry is her first novel with rights sold to over twenty territories.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.