Year 2 / Book 15: The Dry

 15) The Dry by Jane Harper

 I heartily recommend reading Laura Wilson’s monthly crime/thrillers round up in the Guardian: a great route to finding authors and books you might otherwise not run across. I regularly read through, pick ones that sound interesting, add them to a Wish List for future reference, and then buy one when the price comes down….And that is how I found The Dry by Jane Harper.

It’s set in rural Australia in a drought-hit farmland where opportunity has dried up as well for pretty much everyone there. Aaron Falk, who left the town as a teenager, comes back for the funeral of an old friend, who is suspected of having killed his wife and kid before committing suicide. Falk doesn’t believe it and gets drawn into the investigation, along with a stubborn local constable. In doing so, we find out both more about his past, and how characters from that past have grown up (or not).

It’s very well done: the bleak backdrop of a town with no hope, where ‘pokies’ and booze are the only respite; the interweaving of an old crime with the new one; the emergence and re-emergence of characters and suspects from the past and present; and a neat plot which only veers into slight unbelievability right at the end.

That too rapid and neat denouement aside, this is a great read – hugely evocative and engrossing, and with surprising depth of emotion. Well worth a few hours of your reading time if you’re feeling parched of a good story.

Score: 7.5/10


The Dry

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