Published by Little Brown on January 12th 2017
A small town hides big secrets in The Dry, an atmospheric, page-turning debut mystery by award-winning author Jane Harper.
After getting a note demanding his presence, Federal Agent Aaron Falk arrives in his hometown for the first time in decades to attend the funeral of his best friend, Luke. Twenty years ago when Falk was accused of murder, Luke was his alibi. Falk and his father fled under a cloud of suspicion, saved from prosecution only because of Luke’s steadfast claim that the boys had been together at the time of the crime. But now more than one person knows they didn’t tell the truth back then, and Luke is dead.
Amid the worst drought in a century, Falk and the local detective question what really happened to Luke. As Falk reluctantly investigates to see if there’s more to Luke’s death than there seems to be, long-buried mysteries resurface, as do the lies that have haunted them. And Falk will find that small towns have always hidden big secrets.
Has anyone seen my mind?
Probably because it’s just been blown away! It has been a very long time since a book has kept me in suspense and totally enthralled but THE DRY by Jane Harper ticked all the boxes and hear this, 2017 books? You have a lot to live up to; THE DRY has set the bar high!
THE DRY is Jane’s debut novel and my oh my, what a slick and accomplished one it is! Set against the backdrop of a brittle town on the brink due to a never-ending drought in the Australian Bush, a horrific murder has rocked its inhabitants to their core.
Aaron Falk, who thought he left Kiewarra behind twenty years ago, finds himself drawn back into the fold when the case of his childhood friend’s murder appears to not be quite as simply cut and dried as first thought. Teaming up with the local sergeant in charge, Falk digs deeper into the Hadley murder and finds himself knee deep in old small-town prejudice, secrets and decades-old grudges. Thwarted at every turn by old enemies, Falk is in a race against time to solve the case before the sparks of anger and contempt threaten to ignite the powder-keg of tension in this dusty old town.
THE DRY is very much a character driven novel. From the get-go, we are drawn into the lives of Falk and his supporting cast, each equally well-developed with distinct personalities and motivations that you can’t help but ache to find out more about. Harper intertwines the events of the present with scintillating glimpses into the past, creating a novel that is layered with intrigue and a compelling plot. Throughout the book, with each chapter devoured with an insatiable need to know, I was kept guessing until the very end, each thread, another clue in the plot, intricately woven amongst the fabric of the well-crafted story, revealing itself only when it was time. Never straying into melodramatics, or creating skulking, overly embellished villains, The Harper draws on subtlety, quietly confident in its performance.
The town of Kiewarra and the drought are almost characters in their own right. The blistering heat is felt on every page, the oppressiveness of small town prejudice and animosity is mirrored in the overbearing temperatures. Highly visual, the imagery and description of Kiewarra gave the book a cinematic feel, adding an extra dimension to the experience.
A gritty and polished thriller that is beautifully written and engaging, THE DRY is atmospheric, will keep you guessing and is one to add to your TBRs now!