Tuesday, 10 January 2017

The Dry - 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.

The Dry is Jane Harper's debut novel and very much doubt it will be her last. The Dry draws you in from page one and doesn't let go until the very last word of the last page. The Dry is the story of Aaron Falk and his childhood friends, Luke, Ellie, and Gretchen. Ellie was found 20 years ago in the river and, suspected of her murder, Falk and his father leave town. Twenty years later, Falk is back, this time as a police officer in town for the funeral of his best friend, Luke, and his wife and son who were all found shot to death in their farmhouse. The only reason Falk has returned is because Luke's father doesn't believe that Luke could be capable of killing his family and wants Falk to investigate.

Little does Falk know that he's about set a match to a powder keg, quite literally as Kiewarra is suffering from its worst drought ever. The townspeople haven't forgotten about Ellie or Falk's possible involvement in her death and the tension is palpable. Given the terrible state of the town, the suspicious nature of its residents, and their struggle to eke out a living it's not going to be too long before things come to a head.

With a motley cast of characters, you're never quite sure who to believe or who might have pulled the trigger. Was it Luke, desperate to find a way out of his struggle? If so, why did he leave his 13-month-old daughter alive and why can't his father let things rest? What follows is a twisty tale of greed, terror, and betrayal with a good old sting in the tail for an ending - and plenty of mentions of poisonous spiders too...

Jane Harper is definitely an author to watch, The Dry has one of the tightest storylines I've read in a thriller recently and her characters (in which I include the Australian countryside which is so forcefully brought to life you can almost feel the heat rising from the pages) are all multidimensional, complicated humans, each with their own secrets to hide. The best thing about The Dry? I didn't guess why certain things were happening until I was smacked in the face with a hefty dose of obviousness! If Ms. Harper's debut is this good I cannot wait to read her next effort. If you're at all a fan of intelligent, well-written thrillers then read this book and I guarantee you will not be disappointed!

The Dry - Jane Harper
ISBN - 9781408708170
Publisher - Little Brown
Release date - January 12th, 2017

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