Tuesday, July 14, 2020

The Dry by Jane Harper

photo courtesy of Amazon.com
Released: January 2017

The Dry is the first novel by Jane Harper and also the first book in the Aaron Falk crime series. If you like the HBO show True Detective, you might really like The Dry, because that's exactly what this book reminded me of!

In The Dry, federal police agent Aaron Falk travels from Melbourne to the small Australia town of Kiewarra to attend the funeral for Luke Hadler — Falk's best friend from childhood who murdered his wife and son before turning the shotgun on himself. Falk's visit to Kiewarra is personal and unofficial, but once he arrives, he feels something is off about the way the murder-suicide was committed and teams up with local police sergeant Greg Raco to further the investigation.

In addition to investigating the deaths of Luke and his family, Falk faces extreme prejudice and mistreatment from Kiewarra locals who still blame Falk for the death and possible murder of a teenage girl named Ellie 20 years earlier. Falk reunites with many ghosts from his past as he tries to quell nasty rumors surrounding the death of Ellie while also trying to solve the mystery behind his best friend's untimely death.

The Dry starts out slowly, but quickly picks up and becomes more interesting when Falk arrives at Luke's farmhouse to peek at the crime scene in chapter 4. It's there that Falk is introduced to Sergeant Raco and the two partner up to embark on their crime solving. I felt that the dialogue and rapport between Falk and Raco is similar to that between the detectives featured in each season of HBO's True Detective, complete with explicit gory crime details. This novel read really well, and was fast-paced and interesting enough to keep me glued to the pages until the very end. I read this book within 2 to 3 days with plenty of activities in between.

As a reader, the crime and mystery-solving aspects of The Dry were rather simple, as its cast of characters wasn't too expansive. It was easy to figure out whodunit, but the "why" wasn't revealed to readers until the end of the novel. Regardless, it was an excellent, fun, and well-written crime novel. I wasn't too into Falk's character and most likely won't pursue other Falk novels in this series, but I do like Jane Harper's writing style and wouldn't turn away any of her novels if I happened to stumble upon any one of them in the future.

Here are other novels by Jane Harper, which are featured and available on Amazon.com:

Did you read The Dry, and if so, what did you think? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!

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