Saturday, September 7, 2019

Book Review: The Dry by Jane Harper

The Dry
Author: Jane Harper
Publication: Flatiron Books (January 10, 2017)

Description: A small town hides big secrets in The Dry, an atmospheric, page-turning debut mystery by award-winning author Jane Harper.

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.

My Thoughts: Federal Agent Aaron Falk arrives in his rural small town for the first time in twenty years for the funeral of his childhood friend Luke. He probably wouldn't have come if not for the pressure and threat from Luke's father.

Luke and his father left town for Melbourne after the drowning death of Ellie Deacon. He, Luke, Ellie, and Gretchen Schoner were good friends but the relationships between them all were changing as they reached their teen years. Luke was the charismatic but also thoughtless leader, Luke the more thoughtful follower, Ellie the troubled teen who might have been abused by her family, and Gretchen was the new member of the group.

When Ellie's body was found, suspicions were that she was murdered rather than dying by suicide. And a cryptic note with the word Falk on it pointed the finger at Aaron or his father. Luke and Aaron agree to say that they were together when Ellie died despite the fact that they were not. Aaron has never been able to get Luke to tell him where he really was. Ellie's father was a powerful man in the area who wasn't above playing mean tricks to get advantage over his neighbors. He and his nephew were instrumental in building suspicions toward the Falks.

Aaron wonders if Luke's death - another apparent suicide - after he murdered his wife and six-year-old son didn't have some roots in the past. Of course, there are plenty of current reasons for the deaths too. His farm is failing after years of the worst drought in Australia's history.

Aaron coming back resurrects all the old issues from the time when Ellie died. Her father is suffering from dementia but hasn't lost any of his meanness. And Ellie's cousin Grant Dow is more than willing to point suspicion at Aaron too.

Aaron teams up with the new cop in town to look into the deaths even though he would much rather leave the town and the events of the past as soon as he can. Their investigation digs up lots of secrets about a number of the residents.

I really enjoyed this thriller. The writing was excellent and the descriptions of an area unknown to me made me feel like I was there. The story had multiple twists and turns. I liked the flashbacks to the time of Ellie's death which helped build the story and fill in some of the details.

Favorite Quote:
"Deacon didn't do it," Raco said. "He didn't kill the Hadlers. You need to open your eyes, and fast. You're staring so hard at the past that it's blinding you."
I bought this one. You can buy your copy here.

1 comment:

  1. I’m glad you enjoyed this Kathy, I’d suggest Scrublands by Chris Hammer too.


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