Book Review: The Dry

THE DRY | Jane Harper
01.10.2017 | Flatiron Books
Rating: 5/5 stars

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Kiewarra, a small country town is Australia, is plagued by a drought that just won’t quit. The residents of this sleepy town base their lives on their farms and their ability to produce livestock and crops. Tensions are running high throughout the town and some residents are willing to go to great lengths to put a bit of money in their pockets. It looks as though one resident, Luke Hadler, finally had enough with Kiewarra and all the problems the town brought to him and his family. In order to deal with his hardships Luke Hadler decided to come home one day and commit suicide after brutally murdering his wife and son.

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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.

Aaron Falk, is a federal cop specializing in financial crimes. He grew up in Kiewarra and called Luke Hadler his best friend up until the day he and his father were forced to flee town. Aaron is now begrudgingly back in Kiewarra to attend Luke’s funeral. Luke’s parents don’t for a second buy the story surrounding their son and his family’s deaths and plead with Aaron to look in to the case. With the aid of local police, Aaron begins to uncover a mountain of suspicions and evidence that doesn’t add up. Ever present to stop Aaron from finding the truth are his past, his shared secret with Luke Hadler, and a town that wants him gone. Can Aaron find out what really happened to the Hadler family or will his past and the town of Kiewarra run him off before he can bring them justice?

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The body in the clearing was the freshest. It took the flies slightly longer to discover the two in the farmhouse, despite the front door swinging open like an invitation. Those that ventured beyond the initial offering in the hallway were rewarded with another, this time in the bedroom. This one was smaller, but less engulfed by competition.

Jane Harper creates a masterful story of past and present colliding through the search for truth in THE DRY. Interspersed throughout the novel are flashbacks to scenes from the past that shed light on Aaron’s secret and the impact it may have brought to Luke and his family’s demise. Each chapter draws the reader closer to uncovering the truth while getting to know the ins and outs of Kiewarra over the last two decades. There are surprising revelations and heartbreaking truths hidden in the lives of a town struck by tragedy, both in loss of people and loss of income. Harper’s debut novel is a symphony of emotions drawing the reader to a heart pounding and shocking finale. THE DRY is easily one of the best books I have read in 2017 and I cannot wait until the second installment of this series is released next year.

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