Title: The Dry
Author: Jane Harper
Genre: Adult Fiction – Mystery
Synopsis: 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…
*I was provided this book in exchange for an honest review*
I have to admit that this book started out slow for me and for a while there it was touch and go but I’m very happy that I stuck it through because at the end I ended up really enjoying this. This is a debut novel from Australian writer Jane Harper and the best thing that she gets right in this story is the feeling of dryness that comes from this little town in the middle of the Australian desert that is suffering through a very bad dry spell. Federal agent Aaron Falk goes back when his childhood best friend shoots his wife and child and then turns the gun on himself. It looks like a straight open shut murder suicide but as the days go by more things start coming up that do not make sense.
Twenty years ago when Aaron left town the rumors that he had something to do with a girl being pulled from a river haunted him and he receives an icy reception. There is a lot of flashbacks which I didn’t particularly like how they were done and that held the book back from being five star read. However this is the debut novel and I think that as Harper hones her craft she will work out those kinks that I didn’t particularly enjoyed in this novel. That being said I really look forward to reading more from her because I liked her prose.
I liked the mystery, I liked our characters and I like the overall sense of desolation in this little town. Despite the multiple murders been interesting, to me the story that was most compelling was the one of 20 years ago with the girl and the river. In the late summer I read All the Missing Girls which has a very similar premise; a murder in the past and a murder in the present, person that once left town comes back and tries to solve the murder however this book delivers what AtMG did not. Despite this not being an original premise it was well told, it was enjoyable and the suspense kept you going. A good read and I recommend it if you enjoy a murder mystery genre, plus it is set in Australia!