The Dry : A Book Review

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This is the debut novel written by Jane Harper won the Victorian premier’s unpublished manuscript award in 2015 and the British Crime Writers’ Association Gold Dagger award for the best crime novel of the year. It was not unexpected then that this book turned out to be a page turner.

Federal Agent Aaron Falk returned to his childhood town to attend the funeral of his friend Luke who had shot his wife and one child before turning the gun on himself. As a favour to Luke’s mother Aaron agreed to stay on to try to find why Luke had done it. In doing so his past ( a questionable death of a friend) came back to haunt him – the reason his father had removed them from the small town. With the use of flashbacks the two deaths are examined in tandem. I don’t intend to give anything away when it comes to the plot but it held my interest to the end and I didn’t suspect who did the who dunnit.

One aspect Jane Harper did extremely well was her description of the outback country town that is the setting. You can feel the dry, the heat, and the depression that goes along with drought in Australia. She also develops her characters well although I didn’t like that many of them, which is not necessarily a bad thing.

I would recommend this book to those that like crime thrillers – this was well written and kept you in suspense until the end — and those that want to get a feel for what it is like to live in a small-minded country town in Australia suffering from two years of drought. I saw it as predominantly a crime genre novel and as such I doubt that for me at least it will be memorable in years to come. As a good read for the moment – great.


About Irene Waters 19 Writer Memoirist

I began my working career as a reluctant potato peeler whilst waiting to commence my training as a student nurse. On completion I worked mainly in intensive care/coronary care; finishing my hospital career as clinical nurse educator in intensive care. A life changing period as a resort owner/manager on the island of Tanna in Vanuatu was followed by recovery time as a farmer at Bucca Wauka. Having discovered I was no farmer and vowing never again to own an animal bigger than myself I took on the Barrington General Store. Here we also ran a five star restaurant. Working the shop of a day 7am - 6pm followed by the restaurant until late was surprisingly more stressful than Tanna. On the sale we decided to retire and renovate our house with the help of a builder friend. Now believing we knew everything about building we set to constructing our own house. Just finished a coal mine decided to set up in our backyard. Definitely time to retire we moved to Queensland. I had been writing a manuscript for some time. In the desire to complete this I enrolled in a post grad certificate in creative Industries which I completed 2013. I followed this by doing a Master of Arts by research graduating in 2017. Now I live to write and write to live.
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5 Responses to The Dry : A Book Review

  1. This is a very interesting review – a book to hold one’s interest for the moment but maybe not one’s heart. Still, what an achievement for Jane Harper. I wish her well on future endeavors.

    Liked by 1 person

    • She has published a second with the main character Aaron Falk as the detective. We have it circulating around a group of friends and it will come my way soon so it will be interesting to see how she further develops the character. I have, since writing this review, worked out my hesitation. She has shown the black side of rural living well but has totally overlooked the generosity of spirit that seems to pervade our country towns so although I couldn’t fault her description of place I knew something wasn’t quite right. What was missing was a true description of people. However, that aside it was a good page turner and I’m looking forward to reading the next one.

      Liked by 1 person

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