The Lost Man
by Jane Harper
Publication Date : February 5, 2019
Pages : 352
Synopsis From Publisher :
Two brothers meet at the border of their vast cattle properties under the unrelenting sun of outback Queensland, in this stunning new standalone novel from New York Timesbestseller Jane Harper
They are at the stockman’s grave, a landmark so old, no one can remember who is buried there. But today, the scant shadow it casts was the last hope for their middle brother, Cameron. The Bright family’s quiet existence is thrown into grief and anguish. Something had been troubling Cameron. Did he lose hope and walk to his death? Because if he didn’t, the isolation of the outback leaves few suspects…
I will start this review out with a bit of advice: if you have never read a book by Jane Harper you are truly and completely missing out and you should remedy this immediately. Each new release by Harper immediately becomes my new favorite, cementing Harper as one of my favorite authors of all time. The Lost Man tells the story of an isolated family and they're extremely complex dynamic. Filled with shocking revelations, enduring and relatable characters; The Lost Man will have readers longing to know the conclusion but also craving more, not wanting the story to end.
The Bright brothers Nathan, Cameron, and Bub are heirs to a cattle station in Queensland Australia. Although the brothers are neighbors, they live four hours apart. When Cameron fails to meet up with Bub to complete some repairs on the property as planned, the family requests help finding Cameron. Cameron’s body is found near a grave on the family’s property. Cameron’s body is examined, but there are no obvious injuries and no witnesses. Nathan, the oldest of the Bright bothers has his qualms and begins to consider Cameron’s life. Did the hard life of the outback drive his brother to suicide or is something more sinister at play?
Life is hard for the Bright family and all those who live in the outback of Queensland Australia. A landscape so unforgiving that skin cancer scares are normal, flooding can trap people in their homes for months, and small periods of time in the sun can lead to death. As always, Harper does a fantastic job transporting readers into the lives of her characters. Not only with graphic descriptions of the outback but also descriptions which invoke readers to feel what the characters are experiencing.
Could I survive in the outback? This question lingered while I read The Lost Man. Your closest neighbor four hours away, stores and gas stations three hours away - this seems almost unimaginable. The constant isolation would be suffocating. I also wondered if the Bright’s could survive in a major city. After living life so long set apart, how would the Bright’s react to walking down a busy street, a traffic jam, a long line a grocery store?
At the center but also in the background of The Lost Man is the story of the stockman. In the middle of the Bright’s cattle station is the grave of a stockman. He died back in the 1800’s and his story has become legend. People in the area tell different stories of his death, his story is spun as a cautionary tale, a ghost story, or a story of sacrifice and love. Harper leaves the story of the stockman unresolved, readers are left to draw their own conclusions regarding the his death. I have yet to form an opinion on what I think happened to the stockman, but his story added an element of folklore/legend which was quite enjoyable. It served as a connecting piece for the community. No matter how far apart the residents of the outback are from each other, they are joined together by the story of the stockman.
With each new novel Harper raises my standards for crime fiction. After reading The Lost Man I am doubtful I will love any book I read this year as much as I loved The Lost Man. The plot, the pacing, the characters, and the setting are perfection. If you are in the mood for a captivating and atmospheric read, The Lost Man should be on your list of must reads.
*Thanks to Flatiron Books for my free review copy of The Lost Man*
Murder and Moore Rating :
5 out of 5 Stars