A Book Spy Review: ‘The Dry’ By Jane Harper

51RqiTyZklL._SX328_BO1,204,203,200_.jpgFederal Agent Aaron Falk returns to his Australian hometown for the first time in twenty years to investigate the death of his childhood best friend. But things quickly turn personal for Falk when old demons come back to haunt him.

What starts as an emotional thriller about family, friends, and the apparent mental breakdown of a farmer named Luke Hadler, who supposedly shot his wife and young son before eating a bullet himself (leaving behind one child too young to talk), takes a sharp and abrupt turn when the hero is revealed to have a questionable past.

Aaron returns to Kiewarra, a small farming town that hasn’t seen rain in years, to attend the funeral of his old friend, Hadler. Two decades prior, Aaron was accused of murdering his girlfriend–whose body was recovered after what appeared to be a drowning incident. He was able to beat the charges thanks to Luke’s insistence that he and Aaron were together at the time of the girl’s death. 

That alibi kept Aaron out of jail, but it turns out that Luke’s testimony wasn’t completely honest. Until now, Aaron believed only he and Luke knew the truth about what really happened. But while investigating his friend’s death, he realizes that somebody else in the godforsaken town he fled from knows his darkest secret.

Or do they know, exactly what happened?

After initial paranoia, Aaron begins to wonder if he’s seeing things that aren’t there, solely because of his past. Specializing in finances, he switches tactics and investigates Luke’s business, where he discovers that his farm was failing. Maybe that was enough of a reason for him to kill his family and himself, but Aaron cannot shake the feeling that someone is out to right past wrongs.

The story bounces around between the past and present, continuously revealing new things about Aaron’s whereabouts twenty years ago and his friend’s recent death. The author knows how to set a scene, and wastes no time getting readers used to their surroundings. Characters feel real and authentic, and the town itself plays a definitive role in this high-tension thriller. 

For a debut novel, Jane Harper absolutely dazzles. There’s a little bit of something for everyone here, and the list of potential antagonists is long and diverse. Harper’s cunning style will lead to readers forming multiple assumptions before she pulls the rug out from beneath their feet, providing a shocking final reveal that will stay with readers long after they finish her book. 

Brilliantly written and full of suspense, The Dry is a fantastic mystery with lots of moving parts and misdirection. A total rush from beginning to end! 

Book Details

Author: Jane Harper
Pages: 336 (Hardcover)
ISBN: 1250105609
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Release Date: January 10, 2017 (Order Now!)

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