Thursday, January 18, 2018

The Dry by Jane Harper

4 Stars

FADE IN: EXT. FARM – LATE AFTERNOON – ESTABLISHING – The camera pans across dry, caked ground, shimmery sunlight indicating extreme heat before zooming in on its target – a large blow fly. The fly’s flight path is tracked above the cracked earth as it heads toward its destination – the front door of a farmhouse – or more specifically, the eyeball of the dead body lying in the doorway who has been decimated via shotgun blast. OPENING CREDITS ROLL

Aaron Falk has been summoned back to Kiewarra after being gone for decades. The reason? The apparent murder/suicide by his childhood best friend Luke of Luke’s wife and two children followed by himself. Falk, now a member of the feds in Melbourne, is asked to conduct an informal look-see into the crime by Luke’s parents since they can’t imagine their son ever doing something so heinous. Or can they? Wrapped in the present are secrets from the past and an alibi from when Aaron and Luke were teens that has never stood up to scrutiny.

If you enjoy books that play like movies in your head while reading, look no further than The Dry. Jane Harper truly paints the scenes (especially that doozy of an opener) and, even though it was negative temps where I live, I was nearly sweating reading about the scorching heat and drought in Kiewarra. A dual storyline that works via flashback snippets rather than the usual wibbly wobbly back and forth between chapters type of storytelling, The Dry is a real page turner of a book that will hold your attention for the duration. Added bonus is this is one of those books where either, both or neither of the “mysteries” could have ended up as real mysteries or not mysteries at all and it would have still been a satisfying read. More than a handful of my GR friends have read this and none have given it less than 4 Stars so yay me for reading it right! And apparently this is a debut. To that I say to Ms. Harper . . . .

I would love to be able to include this on the library's Winter Reading Challenge, but alas it was due to expire the day before the challenge began and instead it became a "CHALLENGE ACCEPTED!" type of read that I had one afternoon to start and finish : )

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