About The Dry
Published: 12th January 2017 (Little, Brown)
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.
Aaron Falk is begrudgingly back in Kiewarra,a town he has not been back to in a very long time. He is attending the funeral of Luke Hadler, his old best friend who has seemingly shot his wife and son before turning the gun onto himself because of money worries. However not everything quite adds up so Luke’s father has reached out to Aaron, a policeman who specialises in financial crime, to help look into the deaths. Aaron isn’t keen to get involved because, there are secrets which may come out as a result and the community is not particularly pleased to see Aaron back in town however he feels obliged too so initially agrees to look into their finances.
This is Harper’s debut novel, but it doesn’t read like one! With well-rounded characters and a tightly woven plot which only reveals itself when ready, it is a fantastic read. I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and Harper’s writing style, the reader uncovers the clues at the same time as Falk so feels part of the investigation rather than being privy to information that the police are not. The voices of the deceased are also heard through flashbacks which is a great touch as these gave context to the information that was slowly being unravelled as the story went on.
Whilst the investigation into the Hadler’s deaths in investigated, on the quiet so as to not stop on the toes of the police force dealing with the suspected murder/suicide, Australia is being crippled by a terrible drought which adds to the tension of the narrative as the community are stressed, highly strung and quick to judge – there is certainly a small-town mentally in Kiewarra!
This is a wonderful, atmospheric novel that draws you in early on and doesn’t let you go until the last page!
About Jane Harper
Jane Harper has worked as a print journalist for thirteen years both in Australia and the UK. She lives in Melbourne and currently writes for the Herald Sun. Jane is originally from the UK and moved to Australia in 2008. The Dry is her first novel.