Wednesday, 11 January 2017

The Dry by Jane Harper

We're delighted to be taking part today in the blog tour for a stunning Australian crime debut - The Dry by Jane Harper. All these bloggers will be posting today, Wednesday 11th January, and those for the rest of the week can be found after Maryom's review.

review by Maryom

The small Australian town of Kiewarra is gripped by the worst drought in a century. There's been no rain for two years. Crops and pasture wither away, stock dies, and farmers' livelihoods disappear. So although shocking, it isn't surprising when Luke Hadler takes his shotgun and kills first his wife and six year old son, then himself. It seems like an open and shut case; tragic but understandable, even to be expected with the current economic problems ...
For twenty years, Aaron Falk has kept clear of his hometown - he didn't even return for the wedding of his childhood friend, Luke Hadler - but a funeral is something he feels he can't avoid. Now a Federal policeman in Melbourne, he left in a cloud of suspicion following the suicide of another friend, Ellie Deacon, and Kiewarra's collective memory hasn't forgotten. Aaron's hoping his visit will be as brief as possible, but when first Luke's parents, then the local policeman, start to raise doubts about the Hadler family's deaths, he feels he owes it to his old friend to clear his name.

In a small town (at least in fiction), murder is rarely random but something stemming from hidden secrets and personal motives - and that's the case here, as much as in Miss Marple's St Mary Mead. There are two threads, linked by the actions of Aaron and Luke - as Aaron pursues his investigation into the Hadler family deaths, he's constantly reminded of the death of Ellie Deacon years before. Maybe that, too, wasn't suicide as originally presumed, and maybe the alibi Luke gave Aaron, was actually intended to cover Luke ... It seems Aaron isn't going to solve one crime without solving both, and for both there's a line-up of possible perpetrators and red herrings to keep the reader guessing till the end. The plotting's well thought out, and if you know where to look, and what for, the clues are there along the way.

After so many ice cold Nordic Noir crime novels, The Dry's Australian setting comes as a shock - the air ripples with heat, the ground is parched, and rivers once large enough to swim in have dried up completely. Despite the vast open spaces surrounding the town, within it the atmosphere is claustrophobic and tense. Tempers are already on edge due to the ongoing drought, and not improved by Aaron's presence or the thought that there is a murderer within the community.

It's often said in book reviews, but this really was a case of me being hooked from the first page. I loved the writing style, the characters, the sunburned setting, the nigh on perfect balance between the two threads - I maybe could have done without some of the creepy Australian spiders though, no matter how casually they seemed to be dismissed.

Maryom's review - 5 stars 
Publisher - 
Little, Brown
Genre -adult, crime, Australia

To read more about The Dry check out the rest  of the blog tour as below -

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