Books

Review: The Dry by Jane Harper

book review the dry by jane harper

Jane Harper’s debut novel, The Dry, is like a tidal wave that builds and builds before finally crashing down on the unsuspecting shore.

My name is Krish and I am a true-crime watching, SVU-solving, thriller-holic.

If you were to examine my Netflix history you would be spoilt for choice. From Forensic Files and classic thrillers, to A Killer in the Family and true crime documentaries. Plus some Full House, because you know, balance.

I blame my mother really. I think the condition is hereditary. Well anyway, The Dry is the perfect page-turner for a crime-fiend like myself.

Set against the backdrop of arid Victorian landscape, the tensions in the little town of Kiewarra are rising as rapidly as the temperature. I had to Google this town to see if it actually existed, because I have to say I was genuinely concerned for their safety. You know, droughts and what not.

You will be relieved to hear (or you might not care…) that it is in fact a fictional town. However, it is based on towns in Victoria and, most surprisingly, the United Kingdom! Who knew?

I digress.

You will be hard pressed to find a single wasted word amidst the pages of The Dry. Harper’s every word is like a carefully chosen brush stroke, slowly bringing the canvas to life.

From the harsh sun burning through the pages to the secrets whispered conspiratorially into your ear; Harper places the reader square in the outback, with all the tools needed to solve the puzzle.

Federal officer Aaron Falk is back in his hometown for his childhood best friend’s funeral. He finds the small town shimmering under the relentless blue sky; a stark contrast from the idyllic country lifestyle so many of its residents first sought.

As Falk soon learns, travelling back to Kiewarra is like travelling back in time. Same town, same people, same lies.

“Luke lied. You lied. Be at the funeral.”

It seems like an open-and-shut case. Luke Hadler finally crumbled under the stress of the drought and murdered his wife and child, before turning the gun on himself.

Life, however, is rarely so clear cut. The waters may appear crystal clear, but they are often muddied beneath the surface. As the layers of the Hadler family are slowly peeled back, history comes spilling out.

As Aaron’s past comes crashing into his present, he is forced to revisit the death of his friend a decade earlier. Was it really a suicide? Kiewarra, it seems, is a small town with big secrets.

With a cliffhanger urging you forward in each chapter, The Dry is sure to bring out every reader’s inner Sherlock.

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Book review - The Dry by Jane Harper

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