The Dry – Jane Harper

After hearing so much about this award-winning crime fiction I had to find out what the fuss was for myself. The Dry sees Aaron Falk, Federal Policeman return to his hometown, Kiewarra, for the funeral of his childhood best friend, his wife and young child. It hasn’t rained in Kiewarra for two years and the farming community are doing it tough in this devastating drought – but would that drive a man to murder his family and then turn the gun on himself in desperation? Falk finds himself drawn into the investigation all the while searching for his own answers. Answers to explain why he was driven out of town twenty years earlier.


Firstly, let me say this book has a great opening. The prologue had me hooked from the beginning with the simple, yet evocative writing. The plot was fascinating, a unique twist on the old small town secrets trope. I found the storyline interesting with the two intertwined mysteries, both unsolved, perhaps connected. In fact I was curious to see how Harper would come to a conclusion that did not seem far-fetched but she more than delivered.


The characters were good – not too stereotypical for your typical small town story but incredibly believable. As a child growing up in Australia I was a huge fan of classic Aussie TV show Blue Heelers (I mean, who wasn’t?) and I was delighted to discover that one of the characters had the last name as an actor from the show. Whether this was by chance or planned (I’m betting on planned as even the physical description matches) I loved the little connection and found myself thinking of the character fondly. The tone and descriptive writing was a highlight of the novel, placing the reader right there in the drought with the characters. The writing is really what makes this such a memorable crime novel.


I have already discovered that Harper has thr second Falks novel, Force of Nature, due for release very soon that sounds just as interesting. This was a great crime thriller that was believable and realistic, a bit more of a slower-burn than most thrillers but oh so rich and evocative. Definitely worth a read in my books, I give The Dry four drops of rain – poor Kiewarra needs it.



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