"I love Jane Harper's Australia-based mysteries." —Stephen King
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“A breathless page-turner, driven by the many revelations Ms. Harper dreams up…You’ll love [her] sleight of hand…A secret on every page.” —The New York Times
“One of the most stunning debuts I've ever read… Every word is near perfect.” —David Baldacci
A small town hides big secrets in The Dry, an atmospheric, page-turning debut mystery by award-winning author Jane Harper.
After getting a note demanding his presence, Federal Agent Aaron Falk arrives in his hometown for the first time in decades to attend the funeral of his best friend, Luke. Twenty years ago when Falk was accused of murder, Luke was his alibi. Falk and his father fled under a cloud of suspicion, saved from prosecution only because of Luke’s steadfast claim that the boys had been together at the time of the crime. But now more than one person knows they didn’t tell the truth back then, and Luke is dead.
Amid the worst drought in a century, Falk and the local detective question what really happened to Luke. As Falk reluctantly investigates to see if there’s more to Luke’s death than there seems to be, long-buried mysteries resurface, as do the lies that have haunted them. And Falk will find that small towns have always hidden big secrets.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Federal police officer Aaron Falk returns to the drought-stricken agricultural town he fled as a teenager to attend the funeral of an old friend who is believed to have committed a horrific murder/suicide. As he’s reluctantly drawn into investigating the tragedy, he bears witness to a fractured community teetering on the brink. Exquisitely written and plotted, journalist Jane Harper’s Australian crime novel is a knockout, earning praise from genre heavyweights like Michael Robotham and David Baldacci.
At the start of Australian author Harper's devastating debut, Melbourne-based federal agent Aaron Falk returns to his drought-stricken hometown, Kiewarra, for three funerals those of popular school aid Karen Hadler; her six-year-old son, Billy; and her husband, Luke, Aaron's childhood best friend. Luke apparently murdered Karen and Billy before turning the shotgun on himself. Falk knows better than anyone that his charismatic mate may have had a darker side two decades earlier as teens they gave each other bogus alibis for the afternoon of high school crush Ellie Deacon's suspicious death by drowning. When Luke's brokenhearted parents beg Falk to investigate, he can't refuse. But as Falk begins digging with the help of recently arrived Sgt. Greg Raco, including looking into a possible connection to the earlier tragedy, he swiftly discovers that a badge may not protect him from a town driven to the brink. From the ominous opening paragraphs, all the more chilling for their matter-of-factness, Harper, a journalist who writes for Melbourne's Herald Sun, spins a suspenseful tale of sound and fury as riveting as it is horrific.
Starts off quite slowly. Once it picks up, one has developed a knowledge of the characters and a familiarity with the location. Finishes with an unexpected result, even for someone who knows this genre well. Highly recommend this book.
Great book about murder in Australia. The story was fantastic and kept me guessing. Small town people with small town ideas make this book a great read.
I enjoyed reading this book, and loved the ending. The author presented real characters and gave the reader an idea of the harsh realities of life in a small, impoverished community. Alcoholism, gambling addiction, domestic abuse, loss and abandonment destroy lives, families, and communities. Aaron Falk was a good guy, and I'm glad he finally understood Ellie's domestic nightmare -- she was stronger than I thought, but her monstrous father was even more evil than I imagined. I hope there was justice for Ellie, and Falk understood how much he meant to her. Great writing!!