The dry: A novel by Jane Harper

cover image

Pan Macmillan Australia , 2016. ISBN 9781743548059
(Age: 15+) Highly recommended. Mystery. A very suspenseful and engrossing Australian mystery thriller The dry perfectly portrays life in a small country town in the middle of a devastating drought. When Luke is found dead in an apparent suicide after killing his wife and small children, Federal Agent Aaron Falk returns to his hometown for the funeral. Luke's parents beg him to investigate as they can't believe that their son was depressed and would do such a thing. Falk feels obliged to look into the matter because Luke had been his alibi when he was accused of murder as a teenager and with the help of a young local policeman begins to turn up hidden secrets from the past.
Falk is most reluctant to look into the deaths but evidence keeps turning up that makes him convinced that something is going on. Harper paints a compelling picture of what life in a small country town can be like particularly during the hardship of a drought. Her characters are all really well developed and believable and the plot is very cleverly crafted. Harper revs up the suspense and the reader is kept guessing all the way through, not only about Luke's apparent murder/suicide, but the disappearance of the young girl in Falk's past.
This is a stunning debut from Jane Harper with an appealing protagonist in Aaron Falk. I look forward to hopefully reading more books from this author.
Pat Pledger