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The Dry A Small Town Hides Big Secrets In This Atmospheric, Page Turning Debut Mystery By Award Winning Author Jane HarperIn The Grip Of The Worst Drought In A Century, The Farming Community Of Kiewarra Is Facing Life And Death Choices Daily When Three Members Of A Local Family Are Found Brutally SlainFederal Police Investigator Aaron Falk Reluctantly Returns To His Hometown For The Funeral Of His Childhood Friend, Loath To Face The Townsfolk Who Turned Their Backs On Him Twenty Years Earlier But As Questions Mount, Falk Is Forced To Probe Deeper Into The Deaths Of The Hadler Family Because Falk And Luke Hadler Shared A Secret A Secret Falk Thought Was Long Buried A Secret Luke S Death Now Threatens To Bring To The Surface In This Small Australian Town, As Old Wounds In Bleed Into New Ones


10 thoughts on “The Dry

  1. says:

    I know it s early days, but I have a feeling this will be a top read of 2017 for me I ll go as far as saying if I had read it last year it would have been in my top 2016 reads The writing is excellent, the pacing was quick with fully fleshed characters, and the ending was satisfying without being too cut and dry Half the fun of this story is, even if you guess at the who, you probably won t guess the why until it s revealed This was a perfect example of a book being extremely dark and terrif I know it s early days, but I have a feeling this will be a top read of 2017 for me I ll go as far as saying if I had read it last year it would have been in my top 2016 reads The writing is excellent, the pacing was quick with fully fleshed characters, and the ending was satisfying without being too cut and dry Half the fun of this story is, even if you guess at the who, you probably won t guess the why until it s revealed This was a perfect example of a book being extremely dark and terrifying without being overly graphic for the shock valueIt 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 Your attention I have it, right Those are powerful opening lines, and when placed within the full fledged prologue you have one of the most intriguing and gripping introductions to a book I have ever read Please don t misunderstand, this isn t a break neck thriller that you rush to read in one sitting it sthe slow, delicate sipping of a fine wine that you tend to gradually chugquickly as you reach the bottom of the bottle If someone asked me how I felt a police procedural should be written and what details should be included I would simply hand them a copy of this book and tell them to read it I feel privileged to have found such a golden story to catalogue in my mind so early in the year the complex web of deceit and lies in this farmland of Australia completely captivated me to the point I actually found myself trying to piece together the various mysteries while doing other daily activities.While the writing was excellent and the mysteries were well done, what placed this book in 5 star land for me was the depth and beauty given to the characters I was so engrossed in these people that I actually felt present for each conversation the descriptions of the setting were so incredible that I thought I would break out into a sweat at any moment from the drought I was mentally present for I honestly can t think of a single complaint of what I would change about this book While you may guess correctly on the whodunnit in both present day and past mysteries due to a limited pool of characters to choose from you likely won t guess why I had missed a tiny clue, just as our characters did, which caused me to go down the wrong path and find myself just as shocked as the police officers I adored the way the author chose to slowly unravel the plot and how she really ramped up the tension and action near the end where I felt my heart about to beat out of my chest I m attaching a footnote regarding the triggers in this book, so feel free to browse it at the end of this review if it s a concern for you As I was browsing on Goodreads, I noticed this is set to be the first installment in a series featuring our main character Falk I m really torn on this, as I felt the ending was perfect as it was I m one of the few who doesn t like everything neat and tidy, and while The Dry gave us plenty of closure, it left a few things open which I felt gave the book that final umpf of power to shine above the rest I m a little worried that a series will continue to focus on beating that particular openness to death to the point nothing is left vague On the other hand, I m dying forAaron Falk I d love to see him handlingcases and I would really love to see a return of many other characters like Raco and Gretchen, but also some minor ones like Jamie and the doctor Rambling now, but needless to say highly HIGHLY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED Please put this on your radar folks if you haven t yet If you enjoy an excellent mystery that is a police procedural not heavy on the mundane details, this is for you Incredibly well done and I m absolutely FLOORED that this is a debut novel I believe we ll be seeing muchof Harper to come Thanks Lisa Jordan for sending me your personal copy last year She mailed it all the way from Australia and it s been a blast discussing the creepy crawlies read monsters that live read prowl in the area there You all are brave soulsTrigger warning if you ve read the plot summary then you know the premise is a father shooting his family and then himself the mystery is whether he truly was the guilty party or if someone else was and framed it to appear that way While the author did a fantastic job of writing with respect and caution on such a disturbing subject, there is brief discussion of the shooting of the young son that may be disturbing for some readers Overall, the story isn t graphic and the violence is mainly implied


  2. says:

    Luke Hadler may have had a light on waiting for him when he came home, but something else from this wretched, desperate community had seeped through that front door and into his home And it had been rotten and thick and black enough to extinguish that light foreverThe Dry actually makes me feel vindicated in my rating and review of Ritter s Bonfire last year I got some criticisms that I was being too harsh toward a debut author that a lot of thrillers follow a familiar format but that d Luke Hadler may have had a light on waiting for him when he came home, but something else from this wretched, desperate community had seeped through that front door and into his home And it had been rotten and thick and black enough to extinguish that light foreverThe Dry actually makes me feel vindicated in my rating and review of Ritter s Bonfire last year I got some criticisms that I was being too harsh toward a debut author that a lot of thrillers follow a familiar format but that doesn t make them bad Then, in swoops Harper here, a debut novelist, writing a mystery thriller story whose foundations are very similar to Bonfire and other works in the genre and yet it is utterly gripping.You know how the bare bones of these stories go The protagonist is a small towner who leaves and becomes a cop lawyer, P.I., etc in the big city, then returns to his her hometown to figure out some unfinished business from the past and solve a new crime They, of course, get caught up in the small town politics and tensions Bonfire tried on this premise unsuccessfully, in my opinion Flynn did something very similar in Sharp Objects The whole notion of genre generally relies on authors playing by a certain set of rules Whether these recycled narratives work, however, depends on the details Are the characters interesting Is the writing compelling Do we care I think Harper did a great job on all three.Firstly, The Dry is atmospheric to an intoxicating extent Harper uses really evocative description to make you feel the burning heat and the suffocating lack of moisture amid the drought in this rural Australian community The sun blazes The blowflies hover It s the perfect place for a murder.Aaron Falk returns to his hometown after twenty years away to attend a funeral The funeral is for his old friend Luke Hadler, Luke s wife Karen, and his six year old son Billy The story goes that Luke cracked under the stress of financial pressure and shot his family, leaving only baby Charlotte alive, before putting a bullet in himself But there s just enough doubt to make Falk question this popular verdict.Along with local police newbie, Raco, Falk finds himself drawn into the case, as well as the lives, tensions and conflicts of the people in the town His own past gets dragged up and Falk is forced to question whether there might be some connection between what happened to Luke s family and what happened all those years ago.The author expertly leads us down several roads that turn out to be red herrings and manages to pull out a dramatic and surprising conclusion If you re a suspicious mystery reader like me as in, you suspect everyone then you might guess who did it, but I doubt very much you will guess the whys And I personally think this is what makes a good mystery the unveiling of the tale and the whys of the crime are good enough to make it okay if you guess whodunnit.A really impressive start to this new series starring Aaron Falk Sign me up for the next book Blog Facebook Twitter Instagram Youtube


  3. says:

    This is an astonishingly good crime fiction debut by Jane Harper set in Australia Aaron Falk and his father were run out of their home in Kiewarra over twenty years ago over rumours of Aaron s hand in the death of Ellie Deacon It was ruled a suicide and Aaron had an alibi, his best friend Luke Aaron has returned to Kiewarra for the funeral of Luke, his wife, Karen and his son, Billy It appears that Luke shot his family and then himself due to their poor financial state caused by the unrelent This is an astonishingly good crime fiction debut by Jane Harper set in Australia Aaron Falk and his father were run out of their home in Kiewarra over twenty years ago over rumours of Aaron s hand in the death of Ellie Deacon It was ruled a suicide and Aaron had an alibi, his best friend Luke Aaron has returned to Kiewarra for the funeral of Luke, his wife, Karen and his son, Billy It appears that Luke shot his family and then himself due to their poor financial state caused by the unrelenting drought Aaron is now a financial investigator with the Melbourne Police and Luke s parents do not believe their son is responsible for such unforgivable acts They ask a reluctant Aaron to see what he can find out.There is a mean and nasty streak running through the local community compounded by the never ending and relentless heat Led by Mel and Dow Deacon, the old rumours about Aaron having a hand in Ellie s death are resurrected and a vociferous campaign against him begins They are determined to hound him out for a second time and are not above using underhand and dirty tactics to achieve their aim Aaron joins forces with local cop, Sergeant Raco, who has his own doubts about Luke s guilt Evidence soon accrues that suggests Luke is innocent of wiping out his family Aaron s memories of the past come to the fore and the mystery of Ellie s death runs as a concurrent thread Aaron and Raco slowly begin to uncover the secrets, lies and fears buried in Kiewarra The closer they come to the truth, thethey unsettle a killer willing to ignite a conflagration in a place ill equipped to handle it The truth behind Ellie s death also begins to become clear.The author does an excellent job in bringing Kiewarra alive and the disparate characters that inhabit the place It is a closed and intense community where people hold on to grudges and feelings with such fervour, as though letting them go would result in the disintegration of the self The drought threatens livelihoods, and the heat raises stresses sky high This is a well written story with a compelling narrative The character development is so well done The tension and suspense keep the reader totally enthralled Cannot wait to see what Jane Harper writes next Highly recommended and brilliant read Thanks to Little, Brown for an ARC


  4. says:

    4.5 stars What a book I had to sleep on this one Not like, right on top of it, it was just a little to the left of my pillow, but I needed time to process It s not as though this read was so incredibly intoxicating that I couldn t wrap my head around it quite the contrary, actually The pace is steady and slow, verging on dull at times but never quite crossing that line The plot itself is packed with twists, but they felt gentle and weren t especially shocking So what did it for me The a 4.5 stars What a book I had to sleep on this one Not like, right on top of it, it was just a little to the left of my pillow, but I needed time to process It s not as though this read was so incredibly intoxicating that I couldn t wrap my head around it quite the contrary, actually The pace is steady and slow, verging on dull at times but never quite crossing that line The plot itself is packed with twists, but they felt gentle and weren t especially shocking So what did it for me The atmosphere The mood this author was able to ignite within me through words alone The setting The conditions of the dry land and the desperation of a small Australian town facing the disastrous effects of a two year drought All of this came alive Even the school kid s artwork in this story displays a dire tone brown grass and dead cows Talk about getting a message across Now pile onto that a young girl s unresolved death lingering in the stale air the recent murder of a mother and son the suicide of a husband, and a town full of suspects I d say the tone is expertly set, and yes, it s bleak and dreary and despairing and you can feel it You can see it You can almost taste it And that s how well this author has created this world As for the intricacies and puzzles of the plot, I d say they were decent and held my interest fairly securely throughout However, nothing wow d me as much as the visuals drawn out and the theme solid, creative, and original keeping present until the very end Definitely recommend to thriller readers seeking a slower pace, but one that still delivers some substance


  5. says:

    I was drawn to this arid Australian crime thriller by a desert storm of five star reviews, not to mention the fact that this was The Sunday Times Crime Book of the Year.Hmmm Fold his arms and sighs I m not saying that this was a bad book it was OK though the storyline for me was flat, improbable, slow paced and bereft of suspense.Apart from that, it was fine Bland federal agent, Aaron Falk, returns to the small Outback town of his childhood for the funeral of his best friend and also his I was drawn to this arid Australian crime thriller by a desert storm of five star reviews, not to mention the fact that this was The Sunday Times Crime Book of the Year.Hmmm Fold his arms and sighs I m not saying that this was a bad book it was OK though the storyline for me was flat, improbable, slow paced and bereft of suspense.Apart from that, it was fine Bland federal agent, Aaron Falk, returns to the small Outback town of his childhood for the funeral of his best friend and also his best friend s immediate family and is drawn into an unofficial investigation as to how they really met their deaths.Here is a list of just some of the things that niggled me 1 The book is titled The Dry It s set in the swelter of the Outback in middle of the worst drought to hit Australia in a century Yet I didn t get any real sense of the suffocating heat, nor do I remember flies being swatted from any number of sweaty faces.2 Aaron Falk is in town and just happens to be on the financial intelligence side of criminal investigation how very convenient for the purpose of the story 3 The dialogue was unconvincing I mean, don t rough, tough, leather necked Aussie men in the middle of the Outback ever use the f word I know Crocodile Dundee didn t, but come on 4 I guessed who the killer was the moment he she was introduced As subterfuge goes, that s pretty average.5 I found it difficult to connect with any of the characters most were portrayed as being small minded and insular.So, for me and I seem to be swimming against the tide , this novel was several shrimps short of a barbie But almost everyone else likes it, so please, please don t take a blind bit of notice of anything I ve said


  6. says:

    5 unflinchingly bright hot stars for The Dry Love having reading friends to share books with Thanks Mel Very glad to have unexpectedly stumbled across this one, considering I d had a recent conversation with my local bookstore manager where she d mentioned it s their top seller I always ask her what is the current best seller Best seller it is.A dazzling debut where again I am left wondering, what s debut ish about this work The entire read I was chopping and changing my mind about who kil 5 unflinchingly bright hot stars for The Dry Love having reading friends to share books with Thanks Mel Very glad to have unexpectedly stumbled across this one, considering I d had a recent conversation with my local bookstore manager where she d mentioned it s their top seller I always ask her what is the current best seller Best seller it is.A dazzling debut where again I am left wondering, what s debut ish about this work The entire read I was chopping and changing my mind about who killed this young family in cold blood I was wary of Gretchen, wondering why the school Principal was so often at the local pub Loved the writing, soft hearted at times washed down with a decent shiraz he felt he was a little bit in love with her himself This reader was a bit in love with protagonist Faulk, love a character that is capable and a teeny bit flawed My 18 year old self would have warmed to him, as did a young Ellie here in this story.The harsh landscape explained to a tee It was terrifying It was a flash of hell The land was drier now than it had been then This would be no slow burn They rolled and burned for a thousand hours until a pair of thick gloved hands reached down and hauled Faulk back by the shoulders This is an author to watch out for, and I smiled to read her dedication To my parents, Mike and Helen, who always read to me So to you all, I wholeheartedly recommend this non put down able book to Australian fiction lovers, thriller lovers and supporters of Australian Women Writers Would love to know what you think


  7. says:

    The Dry by Jane Harper is a 2017 Flatiron Books publication This is my kind of mystery thriller When Aaron returns to his hometown to attend the funeral of his childhood friend, Luke, he intends to make a retreat back to his life as a federal agent, as quickly as possible But, Luke s grieving parents ask him to use his talents to look into Luke s financial affairs, in hopes of finding answers as to why their son killed his wife and son and then shot himself The chances are slim to none that A The Dry by Jane Harper is a 2017 Flatiron Books publication This is my kind of mystery thriller When Aaron returns to his hometown to attend the funeral of his childhood friend, Luke, he intends to make a retreat back to his life as a federal agent, as quickly as possible But, Luke s grieving parents ask him to use his talents to look into Luke s financial affairs, in hopes of finding answers as to why their son killed his wife and son and then shot himself The chances are slim to none that Aaron would find anything to ease their pain, but he feels he owes them a favor, so he agrees to stick around a fewdays Before long, Aaron finds himself partnered up with a local investigator in an all out search for clues that would shed light on the events leading up to the murder suicide In the process, they uncover startling evidence that will change everything they thought they knew The Australian location, in a town suffering through a severe drought, where the heat is nearly unbearable, has the entire town unusually edgy, which paints a combustible atmosphere riddled with irritable tension from start to finish The shocking murder suicide is a compelling mystery full of unexpected revelations and surprising twists, but the secondary thread that takes up equal space in the novel, is a haunting cold case story centered around the death of a friend of Luke s and Aaron s back in their youth Aaron and his father were both suspects in the girl s death, and left town under a cloud of suspicion Can Aaron find out what really happened after all this time Dual storylines can be tricky, but both stories weave between the past and present with amazing fluidity The story is bleak, almost gloomy at times, with little or no relief along the way, but the characterizations are so vivid and the story so taut, the heaviness became an asset and is part of what made the story so absorbing and moody, along with all the hidden small town motives, suspicions and secrets that came roiling to surface While the subject matter may not be for the faint of heart, with such dark and emotional themes at play, the story has practically everything fans of this genre could ask for It s a police procedural in some ways, a twisty psychological thriller in others, with strong suspense and thriller elements added into the mix for good measure The exceptional writing provides a wealth of depth, which sets this one apart from the typical mystery thriller I am tingling with anticipation for the next book in this series I think Aaron Falk is going to be big hit 5 stars


  8. says:

    4.5 STARS First things first, applause for author Jane Harper, who s put together this cracking storyline set in the Australian farming community of Kiewarra Luke Hadler allegedly killed his wife Karen and young son Billy before turning the gun on himself, but is this tragedy as cut and dried as it appears Federal Police Investigator Aaron Falk returns for the funeral of his childhood friend Luke, but he faces animosity and threats regarding the suicide of Ellie Deacon some twenty years ago E 4.5 STARS First things first, applause for author Jane Harper, who s put together this cracking storyline set in the Australian farming community of Kiewarra Luke Hadler allegedly killed his wife Karen and young son Billy before turning the gun on himself, but is this tragedy as cut and dried as it appears Federal Police Investigator Aaron Falk returns for the funeral of his childhood friend Luke, but he faces animosity and threats regarding the suicide of Ellie Deacon some twenty years ago Ellie was a friend of Aaron and Luke, but there were rumours that the teenage boys were complicit in her death.Luke s mother pleads with Aaron to investigate thisrecent tragedy as she believes Luke was innocent and that someone else carried out the murders Aaron joins forces with local cop Sergeant Raco, and so begins this riveting and complex investigation.Kiewarra is a small community where memories are long and grudges even longer The characters serve the story well, the plot is compelling, and the fact that the community is suffering a drought of epic proportions only adds to the simmering tensions already in place I can unreservedly recommend this excellent debut novel Thank you to Netgalley, Little, Brown, and Jane Harper for my ARC in exchange for an honest and unbiased review


  9. says:

    Succumbing to some of the biblio peer pressure surrounding Jane Harper s debut novel, I thought I ought to make a little time and see what she had to offer Australia has been hit with one of its worst droughts ever, turning fertile lands into blobs of brown In the community of Kiewarra, rain has not fallen in upwards of two years, only adding to tensions An emergency call is made and authorities arrive at the Hadler farm to find a bloodbath Luke Hadler appears to have killed his wife and son Succumbing to some of the biblio peer pressure surrounding Jane Harper s debut novel, I thought I ought to make a little time and see what she had to offer Australia has been hit with one of its worst droughts ever, turning fertile lands into blobs of brown In the community of Kiewarra, rain has not fallen in upwards of two years, only adding to tensions An emergency call is made and authorities arrive at the Hadler farm to find a bloodbath Luke Hadler appears to have killed his wife and son, before turning the gun on himself The town chalks this up to extreme duress and a cloud of murder suicide hangs over the town, which accompanies the scorching sun When Aaron Falk returns to his hometown to attend the funeral of his childhood best friend, townsfolk whisper Falk is forced to remember what happened two decades before, when a friend, Ellie Deacon, was found dead in the river and a note addressed to him turned up His alibi is flimsy and turns out to have been concocted with the help of Luke, though they thought the secret would prove impenetrable While Falk has made a name for himself in the Federal Police, he remains that teenager whose name was bandied around as having been responsible Falk faces those awkward memories as he tries to better understand what could have pushed Luke to kill his family, with whom he was apparently very proud when last they chatted Falk works with some of the local authorities to investigate the deaths, turning up small inconsistencies Could someone have harboured animosity for twenty years and finally sought revenge for Ellie s untimely death Could Falk be next on the list Working to uncover what might have happened on the Hadler farm, Falk must clear his friend s name, while standing firm as the past rears its ugly head A wonderful first novel that allows Harper to show that she is someone to be taken seriously in the genre Perfect for mystery fans and those looking for a superior story to enthral and entertain.Harper has made a wonderful first impression on me with this novel, developing a strong police procedural alongside the complexities of small town Australia Aaron Falk serves as a wonderful protagonist as he keeps the narrative moving forward with his investigative skills, though the darker past that he has been forced to revisit keeps readers wondering about this man until the final sentence This hint at a less than pristine Falk allows Harper to introduce a number of other characters whose importance varies, while pushing the narrative forward Kiewarra proves also to be effective as a setting, as it mixes that proximity to big city life with the quaint farm living that has become destroyed with the current drought A community that holds grudges while wanting to envelop its citizens away from prying eyes, Harper uses these traits to further enrich her narrative Harper s use of flashbacks throughout, rather than straight recounting dialogue, gives the reader a great deal of insight and provides a true revelation perspective throughout the story, as if the reader were witnessing some of the events that had been mentioned in passing The reader learns much from these glimpses into the past and it provides a telling connection to the larger story Overall, a wonderful piece that should provide momentum for a series, should that be the route Harper wishes to pursue Curious readers should not take the title to be indicative of the quality or presentation of the novel, but that stocks at booksellers will disappears as swiftly as an Australian brushfire Get your copy today and you will not be sorry Kudos, Madam Harper for such a great start you your published career I can see that many others have come to like this work and I cannot wait to get my hands on whatever you have coming.Love hate the review An ever growing collection of others appears at


  10. says:

    I blame Aaron Falk He just made me add a new shelf on Goodreads Series. You see, I don t like book series With a few exceptional characters preceding Aaron Falk Harry Potter, Christian Grey, Edward Cullen, Kinsey Milhone have I read an entire series It s just too much of a commitment and then I feel guilty if I miss a book in the series I will not be missing any book that Aaron Falk is in Ever No way, no worries, mate.I am so late to THE DRY party that I almost didn t read it Finally, I blame Aaron Falk He just made me add a new shelf on Goodreads Series. You see, I don t like book series With a few exceptional characters preceding Aaron Falk Harry Potter, Christian Grey, Edward Cullen, Kinsey Milhone have I read an entire series It s just too much of a commitment and then I feel guilty if I miss a book in the series I will not be missing any book that Aaron Falk is in Ever No way, no worries, mate.I am so late to THE DRY party that I almost didn t read it Finally, feeling caught up and proud of myself for all my ARC reading, I picked up one of the few hardbacks I have actually bought and opened upIt 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 corpseJane Harper, The DryWhat a terrific first sentence Jane Harper, you hooked me at page 1, sentence one.As a reader, I am immediately FEELING this dusty, angry, Australian farm town as it reels from one of the worst droughts in history I could hear the flies buzzing, see the rabbits eating the last bits of vegetation and smell the despair of the townspeople as they try to hang on to their livelihoods without any rain I have not experienced this type of magical transportation in a long time It is perfectly intoxicating.Stay with me, because that is just the setting of the book Now, add a hardworking federal cop, Aaron Falk, who has relunctantly come back to his hometown for the funeral of his best friend Aaron Falk is not a perfect hero, he has issues and secrets, but he tries to do right by his friends and he knows something is wrong here Aaron s childhood friend, Luke, has been accused of murdering his own family before turning the gun on himself Aaron and Luke shared a secret many years ago which we learn of during the investigation of the family murder Does this old secret have anything to do with Luke killing his family Aaron Falk is a tough nut to crack The author shares just enough about him to make you wantHe is interesting, smart A loner, a good guy, but what makes him tick Oh, I m a devoted fan I will follow Aaron Falk through every one of his next books, even if there are fiftyto come Is this a character or plot driven mystery BOTH Plus, that Aussie setting It is so real, you better keep your chapstick handy for the parched lips you develop while reading Sidenote As I was reading THE DRY, Oregon s beloved Columbia Gorge was on fire for weeks still is Portland was enveloped in smoke, ash and heat So hard to breathe My own atmospheric reality definitely contributed to the transforming ability the book had on me haha Not to diminish this captivating story in any way It stands on it s own, even if you read it at the North Pole


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