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…
This was a truly excellent example of what crime fiction should be. Right from the start, this story grabbed me and it continued to hold my interest all the way through.
I particularly enjoyed the way the story was set up. While the present day narrative was told from Detective Aaron Falk’s point of view, the story from the past was told from the perspective of whoever was more invested in that scene, a technique I appreciated and enjoyed immensely. It added a lot of depth overall and made certain scenarios a whole lot more believable.
I will confess that I did not pick the murderer, but generally speaking, while I enjoy crime fiction and crime TV, I am not that great of a detective myself! I did find the whole crime scenario highly believable and authentic to its rural setting.
For me, perhaps the most brilliant aspect of this novel was its heavy atmospheric bearing. Jane Harper skillfully brought a small rural town stricken by drought to life in such a vivid and realistic manner that as I read, I could certainly feel the heat, the dry, and the dust. The desperation of a town dying from the elements was captured to perfection.
The Dry is the perfect novel to give as a gift, and it’s ideal as a bookclub pick. I highly recommend it to anyone and everyone, whether they are fans of crime fiction or not. It’s a fantastic piece of Australian fiction that delivers literary satisfaction with every single sentence.
I first read The Dry when it was released last year as part of my 2016 Australian Women Writers Challenge and for my local bookclub. My original review appeared on Facebook and Goodreads and has been rewritten for publishing to this blog.