Book Review: The Dry, Jane Harper

Jane Harper’s debut novel, The Dry, is as intense from the opening page to the last word.

Last month I published my first ever book review, Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng. As fabulous as that book was (I was thoroughly gripped by the ending), I decided to move on from smaller suburban fires to a raging heat in the Australian Bush.

Jane Harper’s debut novel, The Dry, is as intense from the opening page to the last word. A fiery, powerful narrative centres on the Australian town of Kiewarra and the secrets within. A horrific crime has been committed leaving a young family murdered and as far as some community members are concerned, the case is closed. Protagonist Aaron Falk is brooding, burdened with a secret he’s kept faithfully for 20 years, and looking for closure in a community that rejected him.

Except, as with all good thrillers, Harper’s novel is full of unexpected twists. As characters develop, the heat intensifies. The Dry perfectly illustrates the all-encompassing desperation in a town that hasn’t seen rain in over 2 years. Neighbours are turning on each other and a community is cracking along with the baked ground.

The ending is satisfying and yet (surely as with all good books?) I wanted more. As much as this is a thriller focusing on a gruesome murder, Harper touches on other themes; family relationships, poverty stricken communities and the risks you’ll take to protect a secret. Foolish teenage decisions leave a stark mark on the present investigation and as the tension grows, so did my admiration for the character of Falk.

I did have some lingering questions regarding the plot but it’s probably because Harper has captured so well how confusing a web of lies can become. A small community built on the notion of not rocking the boat doesn’t start telling the truth too willingly…

Jane Harper has written another novel following Aaron Falk, Force of Nature, which is now on my list of future reads. If you’re looking for a fantastic thriller to read in this hot summer, I definitely recommend The Dry. It’s enthralling, enticing, and I read it in a day.

6 thoughts on “Book Review: The Dry, Jane Harper

  1. Love the review! I don’t normally read mysteries, but I might give this one a shot. I love books that explore the intricacies of small towns and their large deceptions. Sometimes the most interesting characters are found in the smallest towns!

    I also definitely agree that all good books leave you wanting more. The book could have had a good ending with closure, but I always miss the characters and the world after finishing a good book.

  2. I tend to be more of a sci-fi and fantasy reader but this book seems to have a neat plot and I have been meaning to expand my reading horizons for a while now!

  3. This looks like a really interesting book, and one that is right up my street. Up until recently, I turned away from books that were labelled as thrillers because I didn’t think they would be for me, but after reading some, I realised that the ‘edge of your seat’ feeling is just right for me. I love ones that explore other themes within them, too, so the fact that this one explores other things sounds perfect. I’m gonna have to add this to my to-read list! Thanks for the review.

    1. I go through phases too of loving or hating thrillers and the tension that comes with them! But this book was fantastic to read πŸ™Œ let me know what you think if you do read it! X

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