The Dry: The Sunday Times Crime Book of the Year 2017 Paperback – 1 Jun 2017
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My crime novel of the year is Jane Harper's The Dry...The savage beauty of the landscape makes an unforgettable setting' (Joan Smith, Sunday Times Crime Book of the Year 2017)
A book that has atmosphere to spare, as well as a pleasing number of twists and turns. Elegant and gripping (Ian Rankin, Guardian Best Books of 2017)
Australian first-timer Jane Harper suggested a potential torrent of talent with The Dry (Abacus), in which a man returns to the outback town from which he had been summarily exiled as a teenager. He is there to attend the funeral of a childhood best mate who is believed to have killed his wife and son, before turning the gun on himself. But the case is clearly not as simple as that and, in the tense setting of a landcape where it hasn't rained for two years, Harper slowly but thrillingly reveals where the truth lies. (Mark Lawson, Guardian Best Crime Books and Thrillers of 2017)
Jane Harper's The Dry (Little, Brown, £8.99) has a protagonist returning from a self-imposed exile to a tiny hometown riven with fear, though the backdrop here is the drought-plagued Australian outback. Harper depicts it so well that the book would have reduced me to a sweaty, crumpled heap on the floor had I not been energised by her diabolically clever plotting (Jake Kerridge, the Best Thrillers and Crime Fiction of 2017, Telegraph)
It is hard to believe that this accomplished piece of writing, which returns again and again to the savage beauty of the landscape, is Harper's first novel (Sunday Times, Crime Book of the Month January 2017)
Harper's debut novel is The Dry, a crime thriller making its way up The Sunday Times Bestsellers charts as steadily as the mercury rises each day in the stricken agricultural town of Kiewarra, in which it is set...It feels like an Ur-Australian novel, a whodunit that evokes the punishing landscape and searing aridity so convincingly, you expect a heat haze to shimmer above the page (Patricia Nichol Culture, Sunday Times)
Wonderfully atmospheric, The Dry is both a riveting murder mystery and a beautifully wrought picture of a rural community under extreme pressure (Mail on Sunday Thriller of the Week, January 2017)
I devoured it in just over 24 hours...Spellbinding (Ian Rankin)
A stunningly atmospheric read (Val McDermid, bestselling author of Out of Bounds)
A cracking small-town thriller wound tight by desperation in a deadly Australian drought (Hilary Spurling, Spectator Books of the Year)
In a town without rain, some secrets are never washed away...See all Product description
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What familiarity with the cafes and service stations of the foregoing have not given me is a sufficient appreciation of the variety of experiences and intrigues brought out in the subtle mix of personalities and motives that so characterize the individuals whose combined stories make this novel so captivating.
Attributable to the worst drought fin Australia for a century, with no rainfall in Kiewarra for two years, the tensions in the town have become unbearable. Three members of the town's well-known Hadler family have been brutally murdered. Blame for the tragically brutal deed has been placed on Luke Hadler, the father of the family, who, it is alleged, committed suicide after slaughtering his wife and six year-old son.
A former resident of the town, a Melbourne-based policeman, Aaron Falk, has made the six hour car journey from the big city to attend the funeral of the family. Luke Hadler was his best friend in childhood. Falk is inevitably drawn into the investigation and re-involvement with the town and its people, a community that, for reasons detailed in the story, had rejected him twenty years earlier. That rejection has to do with a secret that Aaron Falk and Luke Hadler had shared. That secret is now threatened with exposure. Sweat is not always induced by the heat of the sun!
The story unfolds with excruciating tension as Falk probes deeper into the killings and, inevitably, is drawn further into relationships of both hate and romance with several of the townsfolk. So too, Falk is forced to face some secrets from his personal past as he seeks the truth behind his friend's crime - all the time wrestling with the tension "how someone like him (Luke Hadler) could do something like this (murder his own family)".
As describe by various journals, this crime book of the month is a "riveting page-turner" as the plot advances inexorably towards the truth of "who killed the Hadler family"? This is the first novel of Jane Harper and it has rightly been described as a "most assured crime debut" that "grips like a vice". "The Dry" is a movie just waiting for to be made and there are a number of Australian producer-directors and actors who would make a marvellous murder-mystery thriller of it.
If you have enjoyed reading those cold Nordic crime novels from the northern hemisphere, then be sure to read "The Dry" and feel the relentless and uncompromising heat of the southern hemisphere!
The plot consisted of a triple murder, and a supposed suicide by drowning 20 odd years before. Falk, an AFP officer from the finance unit has gone back to the small outback town he and his father hurriedly left years before, to attend a funeral of an old friend who is suspected of murdering his family. He gets embroiled in trying to find the real murderer, and turns some of the towns people against him. All the while the supposed drowning from years ago comes back to haunt him.
This was a real page turner, and I'm already looking forward to reading more from this author.
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