The Dry (Aaron Falk # 1)
by Jane Harper
Publication Date : January 27, 2017
Pages : 336
I am very late to the party on this one since this book was published almost one year ago. However I enjoyed the story so much, I had to post a review. From page four, I was drawn into the story, invested in the characters, and felt compelled to continue.
Times are very hard for the town and people of Kiewarra; a small farming town about 4 hours from Melbourne. The town is in the middle of a drought which as destroyed most of the land. To say Kiewarra’s citizens are on edge would be an understatement. To make things worse, a well-known figure within the community, Luke Hadler has died under tragic circumstances.
Aaron Falk, Luke’s childhood best friend, now Federal Agent reluctantly returns for the funeral. Upon his arrival, Falk is drawn into an unknown yet familiar set of circumstances. He is soon reminded why he left Kiawarra. Many long-held secrets are coming to the surface, some of them involving Falk and Luke. Falk joins the local police in the investigation surrounding Luke’s death.
Once Aaron arrives in his home town for the funeral, he is literally counting down the hours until he can leave. Despite his eagerness to leave, he does not need much convincing to stay. As the investigation heats up, some of his allies tell him to go, he stays. It seems as if he is in a battle with his heart and mind. His mind is telling him to go but his heart is leading him to stay to get to the bottom of Luke’s death. This made me wonder what his true motives were for staying, was he trying to prove a point or did really want to answers for Luke?
All the ingredients for my idea of a perfect crime book are found in The Dry. It is fast paced, full of mini cliff hangers, a police procedural, and full of suspense. There is also an element I have never come across in the past. Throughout the story there are flash backs, but these flash backs are told by a neutral narrator, not from the perspective of the character. The story is told from one character’s perspective and the flash backs tell you what really happened. I really enjoyed the flash backs, they provided additional insight into Luke’s death as well as objective character development.
The most compelling aspect of this book is the atmosphere Harper has created. The heat that has engulfed this small community is a central character in the story. Harper is able to capture the desperation and sadness the citizens of Kiawarra are experiencing. In the local school children draw pictures with sad faces, landscapes with brown grass, and pay tribute to pets that have died. The depiction of hot wind and dry leaves allow the reader to become completely immersed in the book. These depictions created feelings of sympathy and understanding for many of characters.
For almost a year this wonderful book sat on my bookshelf unread. I so regret not reading it sooner. Harper vividly illustrates a desolate community where many of the citizens seem to be on the verge of financial and emotional ruin. This illustration kept me hooked until the very last page and has made book two of this series (Force of Nature) one of my most anticipated releases for 2018.
Murder and Moore Rating:
5 out of 5 Stars