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My Progress:

10 / 30 books. 33% done!

2024 Literary Escapes Challenge

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18 / 51 states. 35% done!

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24 / 26.2 miles. 92% done!

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49 / 104 books. 47% done!

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39 / 52 books. 75% done!

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44 / 165 books. 27% done!
Saturday, January 20, 2018

Assured Debut an Engrossing, Atmospheric Thriller

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

Aaron Falk has zero desire to return to Kiewarra, the tiny village of his birth.  Twenty years ago, he was accused of killing a local girl there, condemned by his neighbors, and run out of town.  Now a federal police agent in Melbourne, the 36-year-old is being summoned back for the funeral of his childhood best friend, Luke Hadler.  Despite the tragic circumstances (Luke killed himself after murdering his wife and young son), Aaron doesn't plan to go back.  Until he gets a message he can't ignore:  Luke lied.  You lied.  Be at the funeral.  

Ravaged by drought and despair, Kiewarra is a dying town full of the same small minds and explosive tempers Aaron remembers from two decades ago.  His presence in town only adds fuel to the fire, creating a tension so thick it smolders in the dusty air.  All Aaron wants to do is pay his respects and high-tail it back to Melbourne, but Luke's parents have another idea.  Although Aaron's specialty is financial crimes, the Hadlers implore him to look into Luke's death.  They don't believe for a minute that their son would commit such a brutal act.  Despite mounting evidence proving otherwise, Aaron can't bring himself to let the Hadlers down.  With the help of a local policeman, he starts digging.

As Aaron investigates, Kiewarra's long-buried secrets start to surface.  The closer he gets to the answers he's seeking, the more dangerous Aaron becomes to someone who wants to keep the past firmly in the past.  He was expelled from Kiewarra once; will he be silenced again—this time permanently?  Aaron must find out what really happened both in the present and in the past before it's too late.

The Dry, a debut novel by Australian author Jane Harper, has received a lot of buzz since its publication in January of last year.  And deservedly so.  It's a tense, atmospheric thriller written with such vividity that I could almost taste Kiewarra's dusty desperation.  Aaron is a sympathetic hero, brave and determined, but also understated and humble.  The mystery at the novel's center remains compelling throughout.  The identity of the killer surprised me, which always helps to make this kind of novel feel truly satisfying.  I enjoyed this assured debut and am looking forward to reading the forthcoming sequel, Force of Nature

(Readalikes:  I'm really bad at this.  I can't think of anything.  You?)


If this were a movie, it would be rated:

for language (no F-bombs), violence, blood/gore, disturbing subject matter, mild sexual content, and depictions of underage drinking

To the FTC, with love:  I bought a copy of The Dry with a portion of the millions I make from my lucrative career as a book blogger.  Ha ha.
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