ABOUT THE BOOK:
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 start bleeding into fresh ones. 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...
The Dry by Jane Harper
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
The Dry by Jane Harper is a 2017 Flatiron Books publication.
This is my kind of mystery/thriller!
When Aaron returns to his hometown to attend the funeral of his childhood friend, Luke, he intends to make a retreat back to his life as a federal agent, as quickly as possible.
But, Luke’s grieving parents ask him to use his talents to look into Luke’s financial affairs, in hopes of finding answers as to why their son killed his wife and son and then shot himself. The chances are slim to none that Aaron will find anything to ease their pain, but he feels he owes them a favor, so he agrees to stick around a few more days.
Before long, Aaron finds himself partnered up with a local investigator in an all-out search for clues that would shed light on the events leading up to the murder/ suicide. In the process, they uncover startling evidence that will change everything they thought they knew.
The Australian location, in a town suffering through a severe drought, where the heat is nearly unbearable, has the entire town unusually edgy, which paints a combustible atmosphere riddled with irritable tension from start to finish.
The shocking murder/ suicide is a compelling mystery full of unexpected revelations and surprising twists, but the secondary thread that takes up equal space in the novel, is a haunting cold case story centered around the death of a friend of Luke’s and Aaron’s back in their youth. Aaron and his father were both suspects in the girl’s death, and left town under a cloud of suspicion. Can Aaron find out what really happened after all this time?
Dual storylines can be tricky, but both stories weave between the past and present with amazing fluidity. The story is bleak, almost gloomy at times, with little or no relief along the way, but the characterizations are so vivid and the story so taut, the heaviness became an asset and is part of what made the story so absorbing and moody, along with all the hidden small town motives, suspicions and secrets that came roiling to surface.
While the subject matter may not be for the faint of heart, with such dark and emotional themes at play, the story has practically everything fans of this genre could ask for. It’s a police procedural in some ways, a
The exceptional writing provides a wealth of depth, which sets this one apart from the typical mystery thriller. I am tingling with anticipation for the next book in this series! I think Aaron Falk is going to be big hit.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
The novel won the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for an Unpublished Manuscript in 2015 and rights have since been sold in more than 20 territories.
The Dry was a No.1 bestseller in Australia and has been optioned for a film by Reese Witherspoon and Bruna Papandrea's production company, Pacific Standard.
Jane worked as a print journalist for 13 years both in Australia and the UK and lives in Melbourne with her family.