Book Review: The Dry by Jane Harper

The Dry
Jane Harper

Federal Agent Aaron Falk left his home town of Kiewarra in Victoria, Australia, twenty years ago, right after Ellie Deacon died in the river. Now another of Falk’s childhood friends, Luke Hadler and his family, are dead. Despite the friendship, Falk would rather stay in Melbourne, but when he receives a letter from Luke’s father, he knows he must go back. Gerry Hadler’s words are unsettling: “Luke lied. You lied. Be at the funeral.”

Falk dreads returning to a town that chased him and his father away years ago, all because of an alibi that no one believed. Since then, lies and secrets have crippled the small farming town and a two-year drought has made everyone desperate. Falk wants to get in for the funeral and get out as soon as he can, but at the service, a chilling picture rotates through the slide show. Luke, Falk, Ellie and Gretchen Schoner, a tight teenage foursome and now only two are left. Is there a connection between Ellie’s death and the Hadler murders?

When Luke’s parents ask him to look into the murders, Falk reluctantly agrees. Headed by Kiewarra’s new Sergeant Raco, Falk and Raco follow leads and suspicions as hostility against Falk grows. Nothing is at it seems, however, and Falk will have to dig to the raw core to understand, if he survives the process.

The Dry is a terrific atmospheric thriller in which Kiewarra’s setting on the edge of the bushland and the drought’s devastating effects weigh heavy on the characters. False leads, unclear motives and complex relationships make this story both an entertaining read and a more serious study of human behavior. Why do people keep secrets and what could have been different if the truth were told? Harper may not have the answer, but she shows how lies and secrets can crush.

I recommend The Dry to readers who enjoy mysteries and to anyone who is interested in human behavior. I’m looking forward to reading Harper’s next book, Force of Nature.

I read The Dry as part of my library’s Summer Reading
Challenge to “read a book set in a place you’d like to visit.”

Thanks for visiting – come back soon!

22 thoughts on “Book Review: The Dry by Jane Harper

    1. Oh that’s good to hear. I hear they are very different even though Falk is in both. Thanks for reading and commenting – hope you are enjoying the weekend. A little rainy here, but I don’t mind!

  1. I picked this up on audio and ended up sending it back because I couldn’t get into the narrator. I need to grab the book. Loved your review! Thanks so much for sharing. 😀

    1. Oh I know how the narrators of audiobooks can either make or break the experience. I hope you enjoy the print version. Thanks for reading and commenting, Mischenko. Hope you have a great weekend!

    1. Hi Lorna! Thanks for stopping by and commenting. I did read that Force of Nature is different from The Dry, although Falk is in that one too. Looking forward to reading it. Have a great weekend!

    1. Hi Teri – yes The Dry has been very well received. It’s exciting to read an excellent debut book because there’s the promise of much more to come! Thank you for stopping by!

    1. Hi Stephanie! I had not heard of The Dry, but we read it for the “Whodunits” book club I run at my library job. Everyone liked it and we had a great discussion this week. Thank you for stopping by – just getting back into blogging after some time off. Hope you are well!

    1. I definitely recommend it. I lead a “Whodunits” book club at the library where I work and everyone liked The Dry very much. Thanks for stopping by, Noelle!

  2. This sounds good. I like books that take place in settings that I’m unfamiliar with and the “study of human behavior” is a compliment to the author’s attention to her characters’ reality. Thanks for the great review and the recommendation. 🙂

    1. I thought the book was excellent and I agree with you, it’s fun to read books that are set in different parts of the world. Thanks for reading and commenting!

  3. I tried to think what this book could possibly be about, just from the title (before I read the rest of your post). I failed. :o) Sound interesting. Thanks for the review!

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