In Jane Harper's The Dry, readers are given two mysteries to solve: who killed Aaron's friend Ellie twenty years ago, and who killed Luke and his family now. In this debut that certainly doesn't read like a first book, both mysteries held my interest throughout. On multiple occasions I thought I knew what the solutions were going to be, but I was always wrong. Harper doesn't take the obvious way out when it comes to solving crime.
The setting was claustrophobic: a small town filled with people who take everything at face value and never look for a deeper meaning (let alone the truth). A town that just might be a little crazed from the never-ending drought, dust, and heat. With this backdrop, Aaron Falk shows himself to be an extremely stubborn man who sticks to his investigation even when the townspeople show him repeatedly that he's not wanted. The local detective, Sergeant Raco, is new to the area, so he hasn't formed any strong attachments yet to Kiewarra or the people living there, but he does have a strong attachment to the truth, and this makes him an excellent partner for Falk.
Jane Harper combines strong characterizations, a vivid setting, and a compelling mystery with a fast-moving pace that relentlessly uncovers many of Kiewarra's nasty little secrets. I hear that Aaron Falk will be making another appearance, and that's just the type of news I like.
Wow! This is a fantastic read if you are a mystery lover (though tragic and heart wrenching, too). If real life and a need for sleep had not interfered, I would have just read this straight through. I did not want to put it down and could not wait to pick it up again. There are two mysteries (and other secrets) playing out in this sad, desperate little town-one in the present and one 20 years in the past. No, you won't figure it all out. I love a book that surprises me and a mystery that lives up to being a mystery. I will be looking for the next book I can read by this author as fast as I can!
This book was set in rural Australia during a drought. Jane Harper has created a novel with great sense of place as I could actually feel the heat and dust in my throat while reading The Dry. The characters were believable and I especially loved the interaction between Falk and Raco, the two police investigators. The excellent plot moved very well with great use of flashbacks for telling the back story from 20 years ago. There were many twists and turns that kept me changing my mind about who the murderer could be. This is a fabulous debut from Jane Harper and I hope to read more books by her in the future. I would highly recommend this book for those who enjoy complex murder mysteries.