Review: THE DRY by Jane Harper


Jane Harper

SeriesAaron Falk #1
Genre: Mystery
Publisher: Macmillan Australia
Pages: 352
Release date: May 31st 2016

Luke Hadler turns a gun on his wife and child, then himself. The farming community of Kiewarra is facing life and death choices daily. If one of their own broke under the strain, well…

When Federal Police investigator Aaron Falk returns to Kiewarra for the funerals, he is loath to confront the people who rejected him twenty years earlier. But when his investigative skills are called on, the facts of the Hadler case start to make him doubt this murder-suicide charge.

And as Falk probes deeper into the killings, old wounds start bleeding into fresh ones. For Falk and his childhood friend Luke shared a secret… A secret Falk thought long-buried… A secret which Luke’s death starts to bring to the surface…

“You’re staring so hard at the past that it’s blinding you.”

The Dry is a fantastic and engrossing crime novel. It has amazing writing, a fast pace, interesting characters, and an incredible atmosphere. Its twists and turns are well-executed, and the story is so engaging that it hooks you in and does not let go.

Jane Harper shows great promise in her debut novel. The plot is well developed and intriguing, and the story keeps you involved until the very end. It is mostly told from the main character’s POV, Falk, with flashback shifts in the voice of other characters. This is a novel that slowly presents you with clues to solve the main mystery, and throws surprises at you when you think you have things figured out.

I actually read this in one sitting! This turned out to be such a great story that I just couldn’t put it down. Harper has a way with words that makes you think you’re right there along with the characters, trying to figure out what happened. There are some rather gruesome descriptions, which can be a little hard to read, but they only add to the eerie and tense atmosphere that colors the entire narrative.

The book focuses on Aaron Falk as he returns to his hometown after the tragic death of one of his childhood friends, Luke, and his wife and child. Due to events from his past, Falk isn’t welcomed back with open arms, and Harper does a very good job translating that into the story. Falk finds himself investigating what happened to Luke, which brings to the surface something Falk thought was long buried.

There are two main mysteries in this novel: that of Luke and his family’s death, and another death that happened when Falk was a teenager. Both threads are addressed and developed throughout the story, and both affected the characters in different ways. They’re compelling in their owns ways, and it’s fun to see how the impact of the twists and turns along the way. I do say that the shifts in POV and from past to present are kind of jarring at times, and disrupt the flow a little bit.

The Dry’s ending is what really got to me. I spent the entire night reading because I wanted to know what happened, and I was not disappointed by the reveals. Harper definitely delivered an amazing ending, and I’m looking forward to see what she has in store for Aaron! Recommended to all fans of Mystery books.



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