The Dry – Jane Harper
31st May 2016, 352 pages, 4/5 stars
PanMacmillan didn’t pull any punches when they called this book ‘The Book of the Year 2016’. While I wasn’t too impressed with the ending, Jane Harper’s The Dry has the MOST AMAZING first lines of any book I have ever read – and I read A LOT!
Just let it sink in:
It wasn’t as though the farm hadn’t seen death before, and the blowflies didn’t discriminate. To them there was little difference between a carcass and a corpse.
THE SHIVERS, PEOPLE!
The story is set in a small country town, Kiewarra, and how its inhabitants deal with the aftermath of a horrific murder. Luke Hadler has turned a gun on his wife and child, then himself. Only their infant has been left alive.
Aaron Falk has come back to the town, after fleeing years before in the wake of a different murder. Falk is a policeman in the city, and is determined to do what he can for Luke’s parents, and determine what might have driven his former best friend to commit such an atrocious act.
It was incredibly shocking to discover that Jane Harper has never lived in a country town herself – she was evoked an incredibly well-rounded setting with a fantastic population of characters. As it becomes apparent that the murder-suicide might have just been a straightforward murder, no one is above suspicion. Except for maybe Sergeant Raco, who I hope all policeman are like!
The town is reluctant to accept Falk’s assistance, due to his rumoured involvement with the death of a teenage girl, Ellie, years ago. She had been one of Falk’s closest friends, and her father led the witch-hunt against him, leading to Falk and his father leaving Kiewarra behind them forever.
I would have liked there to be a little bit more parallelism between the two murders – though that is just my own personal preference for crime stories! I still think Harper has written an absolutely fantastic novel which I truly couldn’t put down!
I was a teeny tiny little bit disappointed with the outcome – I didn’t like that none of my guesses came to fruition; I wanted a little bit more foreshadowing!
However, this book has definitely made me reconsider my general stance on crime. I will really have to try harder to read widely from this genre! I cannot wait to see what else Jane Harper comes out with, because this was truly impeccable!
WHO REALLY KILLED THE HADLER FAMILY?
Luke Hadler turns a gun on his wife and child, then himself. The farming community of Kiewarra is facing life and death choices daily. If one of their own broke under the strain, well …
When Federal Police investigator Aaron Falk returns to Kiewarra for the funerals, he is loath to confront the people who rejected him twenty years earlier. But when his investigative skills are called on, the facts of the Hadler case start to make him doubt this murder-suicide charge.
And as Falk probes deeper into the killings, old wounds are reopened. For Falk and his childhood friend Luke shared a secret … A secret Falk thought long-buried … A secret which Luke’s death starts to bring to the surface …
Do you like guessing the ending to crime stories, or do you like to be completely surprised?