Luke Hadler turns a gun on his wife and child, then himself. The farming community of Kiewarra is facing life and death choices daily. If one of their own broke under the strain, well…
When Federal Police investigator Aaron Falk returns to Kiewarra for the funerals, he is loath to confront the people who rejected him twenty years earlier. But when his investigative skills are called on, the facts of the Hadler case start to make him doubt this murder-suicide charge.
And as Falk probes deeper into the killings, old wounds start bleeding into fresh ones. For Falk and his childhood friend Luke shared a secret… A secret Falk thought long-buried… A secret which Luke’s death starts to bring to the surface…
Sometimes a book comes along (not too often) and I just know from the first sentences that I’m going to like it! This was the case with The Dry, Jane Harper’s debut novel. Try this for yourself and see if you’re not eager to keep reading….
It 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.
The words are pitch perfect, the writing evocative and the tone just menacing enough that I had to read on to find out about that corpse. Read on I did and I was rewarded with one of the best prologues I’ve read in recent memory! Don’t you love when that happens?
The deaths of the Hadler family were tragic, heartbreaking, and once law enforcement delved deeper past the initial scene, they became suspicious. There were aspects of the crime scene that just didn’t make sense to local police sergeant Greg Raco. Federal investigator Aaron Falk, who was childhood friends with Luke Hadler was also left questioning aspects of the crime scene and at the request of Luke’s parents decides to stay in town a little longer to delve into the deaths with Raco. I really enjoyed these two characters. I thought they were intelligent, insightful and well-written. I especially found Aaron’s backstory compelling as we discover very early on that he has a long history with the town and with Luke Hadler.
Of the many things I loved about this book, the main mystery surrounding the deaths of the Hadlers was just one part. There was a second mystery which I won’t spoil for you but I will say the author did a fantastic job of incorporating both mysteries into the narrative without flipping perspectives or jumping back and forth between time periods. This was such a refreshing surprise to read a linear narrative structure that allowed you to stay present with the mysteries but still provided just the right amount of backstory at the perfect times in the story. In fact, about halfway through the book, I was enjoying it so much I headed to Goodreads to find out what else Jane Harper had written so I could see check with my library and request the books. Imagine my shock when I discovered this is her DEBUT! All I can say is WOW! I wish every debut was as strong and well-written as this one. That being said, the only critique I have and it’s a small one, is that I felt a slight disconnect with the ending and the resolution of the Hadler’s deaths. I won’t say more but when others read this I’d love to discuss! Hats off to Jane Harper for writing such a wonderful story to kick off 2017! One thing is for sure, I’ll be auto- buying whatever she writes next.
This book will be published January 10th, 2017 so hit your preorder buttons now or get on your library website and request this!
Many thanks to Netgalley, Flatiron Books, and Jane Harper for my advanced copy. I’m happy to provide an honest review