I just can’t understand how someone like him could do something like that.
Amid the worst drought to ravage Australia in a century, it hasn’t rained in small country town Kiewarra for two years. Tensions in the community become unbearable when three members of the Hadler family are brutally murdered. Everyone things Luke Hadler, who committed suicide after slaughtering his wife and six-year-old son, is guilty.
Policeman Aaron Falk returns to the town of his youth for the funeral of his childhood best friend, and is unwillingly drawn into the investigation. As questions mount and suspicion spreads through the town, Falk is forced to confront the community that rejected him twenty years earlier. Because Falk and Luke Hadler shared a secret, one which Luke’s death threatens to unearth. And as Falk probes deeper into the killings, secrets from his past and why he left home bubble to the surface as he questions the truth of his friend’s crime.
First book read of 2017 and it’s a corker. The Dry is set in the town of Kiewarra, a small farming community which hasn’t seen rain for two years. Aaron Falk is back in town for 18 hours to attend the funeral of his friend Luke, but soon gets embroiled in the investigation. After all, he and Luke grew up together and some secrets shouldn’t ever come to light…
The Dry is a gritty, superbly atmospheric crime noir where the heat and tension in the small tight-knit community practically ooze off the page and the pages demand to be turned. Jane Harper weaves a net of intrigue packed with twists and turns, secrets and lies more than the odd red herring along the way. There’s a deft sleight of hand going on as the plot unfolds leaving you thinking that you’ve finally figured it out, only for the cards to be turned over one by one and, of course, the lady has vanished.
The story reveals itself through the current day investigation by Falk and local cop Raco into the murders, but also via a series of flashbacks to Falk’s younger days growing up in the town with his best friend Luke. It’s neatly done and each time we jump back in time, something new is revealed which alters our perception on events both past and present.
All the more spectacular for being a debut, The Dry should be quite firmly on your list of books to read in 2017. I will be very surprised if it doesn’t grace my books of the year list come December.
Many thanks to Grace at Little, Brown for the review copy of this book.