Force of Nature
by Jane Harper
Publication Date : February 6, 2018
Synopsis From Publisher:
Five women go on a hike. Only four return. Jane Harper, the New York Times bestselling author of The Dry, asks: How well do you really know the people you work with?
When five colleagues are forced to go on a corporate retreat in the wilderness, they reluctantly pick up their backpacks and start walking down the muddy path.
But one of the women doesn’t come out of the woods. And each of her companions tells a slightly different story about what happened.
Federal Police Agent Aaron Falk has a keen interest in the whereabouts of the missing hiker. In an investigation that takes him deep into isolated forest, Falk discovers secrets lurking in the mountains, and a tangled web of personal and professional friendship, suspicion, and betrayal among the hikers. But did that lead to murder?
Force of Nature was one of my most anticipated reads of 2018. Last year after reading The Dry, the first book in the Aaron Falk series, I could hardly wait to read Force of Nature. Harper’s ability to draw the reader into the atmosphere of the characters is nothing short of amazing. Using vivid descriptions along with relatable feelings, Harper puts the reader in a situation in which they will ask themselves – what would I do if I was in this character’s position?
Five women embark on a corporate retreat in the bushlands of the Giralang Ranges in Australia. After three days, only four women emerge from the wilderness. The missing woman, Alice Russell is supposed to provide key evidence to Federal Agent Aaron Falk. Aaron is investigating Bailey Tennants, Alice’s place of employment. Without Alice’s evidence, Aaron’s case will flounder and it will be difficult to prove any illegal actions done by Bailey Tennants. Aaron finds himself in a race against time and nature to find Alice and salvage his investigation.
We catch up with Federal Agent Aaron Falk shortly after the events in his home town, Kiewerra. Aaron is back in Melbourne, back to work, but he is still on the mend physically. Aaron is in the middle of a tense and high pressured investigation; however he seems more relaxed than he was in The Dry. Aaron is in his element, investigating white collar crimes; he is comfortable and more confident. In Force of Nature we get to see the full scope of Aaron’s investigative abilities. We also learn why chose Aaron chose to investigate white collar crime. The reason is very admirable and noble. The reason reinforced my belief that Aaron is not only a great investigator but a good man as well.
Force of Nature is set deep in the bushlands of Australia. The bushlands are described as dangerous and sometimes deadly. The five women on the retreat are surrounded by forest, water, and mud; as well as extremely cold weather. Harper is able to completely immerse the reader into the character’s environment. Harper expertly captures the feelings of fear felt by the five women as their panic starts to take hold. You can foresee the potential of savage acts as desperation and anger begin to surface.
Force of Nature is told from the alternating perspectives of Aaron’s investigation and each of the five women on the retreat. Harper gives plenty of background into the women. This made the story more relatable and allowed me to be able to connect with the women. Each woman is different - each with a very strong personality- dominant, passive, eager to please, motherly; there are so many personality characteristics, that any reader should be able to connect to one of the five women.
It’s very early in the year, but I feel very confident when stating, Force of Nature is one of my favorite reads of 2018. Harper tells a story of people in a terrifying situation but does so without gritty details and violence. Rather, Harper uses tension and anxiety to convey suspense and fear. After reading Force of Nature, I feel the same I felt after reading The Dry- I am on the edge of my seat waiting for book three.
**Thanks to Flatiron Books for my free copy of Force of Nature**
Murder and Moore Rating:
5 out of 5 Stars