My Thoughts & Review
The setting is Kiewarra, a small outpost in rural Australia during months of drought caused by the effects of El Niño months of warming in the central and eastern tropical Pacific. Reduced rainfalls for raised temperatures meant failing crops and added hardship to farming families in an already impoverished area.
The land was tinder dry and the risk of bush fire ever present. The Hadler family, except for one toddler child, have apparently been killed in a murder suicide by Luke the husband and father. Speculation was rife that the drought was responsible for Luke Hadler’s frame of mind when he killed his family. It was a cut and dried case, but was it and his parents didn’t agree. Hadler senior sent for an old childhood friend of Luke’s Aaron Falk, now a police officer in Melbourne in the fraud division. The cryptic message he sent was ‘Luke lied’
Aaron arrived back in town in the middle of the simmering tension surrounding the case and started assisting the local police officer, but Aaron and his father had been hounded out of town some years ago under suspicion of involvement in the death of a young girl, a friend of both Luke and Aaron who had alibied each other.
The narrative goes back and forth between the present day and back in time to the teenage years of the boy’s life and the circumstances are revealed bit by tantalising bit until we get to the conclusion that is so totally unexpected I didn’t see it coming.
I was totally immersed in this book from the first page to the last. I could feel the tension, see the almost barren dry land and experience the whole atmosphere of the place. It’s a breathtaking read and I can understand why it received such accolades.
About The Author
Jane Harper is the author of The Dry, winner of various awards including the 2015 Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for an Unpublished Manuscript, the 2017 Indie Award Book of the Year, the 2017 Australian Book Industry Awards Book of the Year Award and the CWA Gold Dagger Award for the best crime novel of 2017. Rights have been sold in 27 territories worldwide, and film rights optioned to Reese Witherspoon and Bruna Papandrea. Jane worked as a print journalist for thirteen years both in Australia and the UK and lives in Melbourne.