Friday, 13 January 2017

Review for The Dry by Jane Harper

The Dry by Jane Harper
Publisher: Little Brown
Release: 12th January 2017
Genre: Crime Fiction
Source: Copy received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

"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."

In the small dried up country town of Kiewarra Australia, three gunshots are fired on another blisteringly hot day. Three lives are taken and the smoking barrel is found next to the corpse of Luke Hadler, the husband and father of the other two victims. All evidence points to Luke Hadler killing his family before turning the gun on himself.

When policeman Aaron Falk returns to his hometown for his childhood best friend Luke’s funeral he can’t help but get caught up in the case, but Kiewarra is a ghost town of bad memories for Aaron after him and his father were run out of town many years ago when Aaron was a suspect in the death of local teen girl Ellie Deacon.

Despite being hounded by the locals upon his return, Aaron is determined to find out what really happened to the Hadler family, because in a town as desperate as Kiewarra everyone has a motive to kill.

The Dry was such an accomplished crime debut, Jane Harper’s writing is so vivid that I could almost taste the dirt and feel the heat of the sun on my skin as I was reading. The setting was so clear and vivid to me that it made the reading experience feel cinematic. The farming town of Kiewarra practically becomes a character in itself, it’s a place where desperation hangs heavy in the air making you feel like anything could happen.

The plot is incredibly well crafted intertwining the build up to the death of Ellie Deacon all those years ago and the fall out of the Hadler murders in the present day with effortless ease. Every character in this book felt so well developed with their own agendas and secrets which made me suspect everyone at some point or another.

Overall The Dry was an atmospheric and compelling study on what people are capable of when they’re pushed to the brink.

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