The Dry by Jane Harper #TheDry @janeharperautho @LittleBrownUK

I was on the blog tour for this book back in January and it has now been released in paperback so what a good time to share my review again of this fantastic book!

About this book…

I just can’t understand how someone like him could do something like that.

Amid the worst drought to ravage Australia in a century, it hasn’t rained in small country town Kiewarra for two years. Tensions in the community become unbearable when three members of the Hadler family are brutally murdered. Everyone thinks Luke Hadler, who committed suicide after slaughtering his wife and six-year-old son, is guilty.

Policeman Aaron Falk returns to the town of his youth for the funeral of his childhood best friend, and is unwillingly drawn into the investigation. As questions mount and suspicion spreads through the town, Falk is forced to confront the community that rejected him twenty years earlier. Because Falk and Luke Hadler shared a secret, one which Luke’s death threatens to unearth. And as Falk probes deeper into the killings, secrets from his past and why he left home bubble to the surface as he questions the truth of his friend’s crime.

My review…

Well what an amazing start to 2017 with this absolutely brilliant debut by Jane Harper. As soon as I saw the cover I knew I needed to read it, the dark and stormy sky with that promise of rain and the tagline that draws you in immediately “Who Really killed the Hadler family?” As although it seems that Luke Hadler murdered his family then committed suicide, when his friend Aaron Falk starts digging the case doesn’t quite seem as clearcut as it first did.

Every little piece of information that is drip fed to the reader here draws you deeper into the mysteries of a small town in Australia that is suffering the effects of a major drought. The setting is practically another character here with its cruel grip on everyone’s life. I don’t think I’ve read another book in a very long time where I actually felt I was there within the pages with the townsfolk-hot, sweaty and depressed by the dry and dusty landscape.

I connected with all the characters here but weirdly the strongest connections I felt were with two characters that were both already dead at the start of the book-Karen Hadler and Ellie Deacon. Both women are shown in flashback throughout and their both their stories affected me but for different reasons. With Karen it was watching a strong woman fighting to keep the wolf from her family’s door due to a force of nature that no one could possibly hope to win against and knowing we were watching the last few hours of her life but powerless to prevent her fate. And the same with Ellie-except she was fighting a personal battle that she had a chance of winning.

Aaron was a closed book most of the way through. We don’t get too much background information on his time since he fled the remote township but it’s like he somehow comes back to life once he returns, unlike the rest of the dying landscape and hope, as little by little he uncovers the lies hidden by nearly everyone who lives there.

This is a deeply atmospheric and involving storyline that had me gripped far quicker than I had expected to be. It is an exquisite debut novel that will stay with me for quite some time. Definitely one of my favourite books of 2017 so far! I’ve heard the film rights have been acquired and I have to say it’s ripe for a big screen adaptation.

Very highly recommended by me!

The Dry was published by Little Brown Books UK in hardback on 12th January 2017 and is also available as an ebook from Amazon UK.

Meet the author…

Jane Harper has worked as a print journalist for 13 years both in Australia and the UK. She lives in Melbourne and currently writes for the Herald Sun. Jane is originally from the UK and moved to Australia in 2008. The Dry is her first novel.


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I am a Norfolk girl living in leafy Cheshire with my grumpy Scotsman. A mum and nana who lives for my family but who is also addicted to reading (and Marmite!) I will read almost anything but my preferred genres to review are psychological thrillers, crime procedural novels or women's fiction. My kindle is my life but I also have a substantial bookshelf in my cosy reading room where I can go to escape the stresses of family life with plenty of tea and chocolate. I am a member of netgalley and bookbridg. I review on Amazon, where I'm a Top 500 reviewer, and Goodreads. You can always find me over on Twitter @jocatrobertson for any review requests.

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