Title: The Dry
Author: Jane Harper
Published by: Flatiron Books
Published on: January 10, 2017
Pages: 326 [hardcover]
“It wasn’t as though the farm hadn’t seen death before, and the blowflies didn’t discriminate. To them there was little difference between a carcass and a corpse.”
Jane Harper’s remarkable debut novel brings readers to a small farming town in southern Australia. The Kierwana locals are struggling; their farms are failing, their debt is rising, and it hasn’t rained in two years.
“They all had the same visions of breathing fresh, clean air and knowing their neighbors. The kids would eat homegrown veggies and learn the value of an honest day’s work.” (page 182)
Federal Agent Aaron Falk grew up in Kierwana, but hasn’t been back in over a decade. Now, his childhood best friend, Luke, has been found dead and his entire family murdered. Everyone assumes that the stress of an unavailing farm got to him, and he took his family with him.
Falk must return to his hometown for the funeral and he inevitably gets pulled into the investigation. As the past gets intertwined with the present, secrets reveal themselves, and rumors spread like wildfire, Falk is confronted with the notion that his best friend was capable of murder-suicide.
Harper has a remarkable understanding of human nature. Every action is depicted with fluency and without question. The characters are well-developed, the imagery is outstanding, and the sense of a struggling community comes through in every page. This book just MADE SENSE!
I’ve read countless mystery novels and watch crime television, admittedly too much. With that said, The Dry gripped my emotions in an incomparable way. I can read a murder mystery without missing a beat, but this one hit me with ALL THE FEELS!
I read a lot, yet rarely read books set in Australia. Bonus points to originality.
“Pan Macmillan has snapped up The Dry in a three-book deal from agent Clare Forster at Curtis Brown.
The deal followed a seven-way auction for the novel, involving every major publisher in Australia.” (janeharper.com.au)
CLICK HERE for the BlondeVsBooks review of the second book in the series, featuring Federal Agent Aaron Falk, Force of Nature.