Superclub The Dry The Sunday Times Crime Book of the Year 2017:Superclub
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The Dry The Sunday Times Crime Book of the Year 2017:Superclub

Jane Harper
Jane Harper Published in September 23, 2018, 2:31 pm
 The Dry The Sunday Times Crime Book of the Year 2017:Superclub

The Dry The Sunday Times Crime Book of the Year 2017:Superclub


KymH Reply to on 9 December 2017
What a cracking read this is. Police investigator Aaron Falk returns to the small outback town of his youth for the funeral of an old friend and finds himself drawn into the secrets and lies that bind the town's inhabitants into a simmering pot of hatred, frustration and despair. Harper draws on all of the hopes and fears that lie beneath Kiewarra's simmering surface to create a gripping plot that keeps you wondering about motive and opportunity until the final chapters. But even better, she also creates a vivid portrait of small town Australia and this brought back a torrent of memories - the remorseless skin-searing heat, the dry crackling smell that comes from months without rain and the stretches of brown - paddocks, brush, houses, dusty roads - sprawling lazily under the vast, fierce sky. The Dry is a fantastic debut for Harper and a wonderful addition to Australian fiction writing.
Ann Carvill
Ann Carvill Reply to on 27 April 2017
Really enjoyed this book. You really got an idea of what it's like to live in a small town suffering from an economic decline and drought in Australia.
JackMartin Reply to on 29 June 2018
Set in a parched Australian landscape, Jane Harper's The Dry is a real page turner of a crime novel. Much was made of the fact that this was a debut novel, coming from a writer who worked on the book while taking a creative writing course. It's been a massive success, and has turned heads not only in the land down under, but worldwide - it was a Radio 2 Book Choice, named the CWA Golden Dagger Book of the Year, named the Sunday Times Book of the Year for 2017 and is currently optioned for a major film , with none other than Reese Witherspoon attached to the project. The latest news is that the movie will start filming early next year. And before all that it won the Victorian Premier Literary Award for An Unpublished Manuscript.

One of the many strengths of the novel is that it so effectively creates a sense of place, which gives it a lot in common with the Nordic noirs which are so popular with readers, though where the abiding image of Nordic thrillers are the desolate snowscapes, Harper's book operates in the polar opposite. It's Outback noir and the parched desolate landscape of the book goes a long way in creating a sense of dread. The land is dying before our eyes, people are living in a state of poverty and hopelessness so it is no wonder that violence soon flares up.

The novel opens with a swarm of blowflies swarming around the bodies of a mother and son, who were butchered in their own home in a seemingly straight forward murder/suicide. Luke Hadler, driven mad by years of drought seems to have shot both his wife and son before turning the gun on himself.

Melbourne based policeman, Aaron Falk spent his childhood in the town of Kiewarra but he and his father had to leave town after the death of a young girl - actually, they were driven out of town when suspicion regarding the young girl's death fell on Aaron. And now years later Aaron returns to the town for the funeral of Luke and his family and becomes involved in an unofficial investigation into the so called murder/suicide. Why for instance did Luke, assuming he saw a hopeless future for himself and his family not kill his infant daughter before turning the gun on himself? Why just his wife and young son?

Falk teams up with local policeman, Sergeant Raco (as likable a character as you can meet in crime fiction) and together the duo start investigating. At the start of the book there is doubt sown in the reader's mind over the involvement Falk may have played in the death of the young girl all those years ago, and this story in a secondary mystery that runs alongside the main storyline. I've called the book Outback Noir, as to some extent it is but this is basically a crime novel in the classic style with a myriad of twists and turns to throw the reader before the thrilling and logical conclusion plays out.
Pat Cornwall
Pat Cornwall Reply to on 2 April 2017
A good read that takes you along with the detectives. It's easy to picture everything without long winded descriptions . The twists and turns makes you eager to turn the page. Recommend
Sarah-Lou Reply to on 11 February 2017
The Dry by Jane Harper is one of the best reads I have had for a long time.
The main character, Aaron Falk, is a police federal investigator, who specialises in financial crime. Now based in Melbourne, he returns to his outback hometown of Kiewarra, suffering from years of drought, to attend the funeral of his childhood friend, Luke Handler.
Luke apparently murdered his wife and young son before turning the gun on himself. Only his baby daughter was spared.
Jane Harper creates an undercurrent of tension and mystery from the very first pages of her novel. We learn Falk was reluctant to go back to Kiewarra when he produces a note from his pocket only eight words in length ‘Luke lied. You lied. Be at the funeral.’ The letter was written by Luke handler’s father, who has his suspicions about the truth behind the murder-suicide.
Falk begrudgingly agrees to dig deeper into what may have happened. He teams up with local police officer Raco and begins looking into why some of the townsfolk may have wanted Luke dead. He is also forced to consider the possibility of a link to the events which forced him to leave the farming community under a dark cloud over twenty years ago.
Jane Harper’s descriptions of the arid Australian landscape are so realistic they are tangible. She depicts a community struggling to survive, yet it is not all about poverty. All of the characters are bright and vibrant. There are the gossips, the wizened farmers, the young getting through only by drinking, the ex-pat pub landlord, the single mum who was once the school beauty, the teacher. There are no stereotypes. The fears and concerns Harper presents each person as having are relative to any community.
I particularly liked the way Harper presented flashbacks within the book. By making them succinct, at pertinent points and written in Italics gave the feeling of watching a flashback shown in a film. It was cleverly done and pushed events onwards.
The story kept me guessing until the end and I was not at all disappointed at the end, either.
Susie N.
Susie N. Reply to on 6 March 2018
Another Daily Mail recommendation! Enjoyed it very much. Nice to come across a new Detective who, so far, doesn't have loads of ongoing issues compared to some others. In fact liked it so much I've ordered the next one by the Author. Descriptions of Australia were very good and it's easy to picture the settings and town as you go along.
Recommend to any crime loving fan.
Analogue Man
Analogue Man Reply to on 28 March 2018
Slowly the story unfolds and it's difficult to put down. I enjoyed the unfolding and the overpowering heat of the place setting the atmosphere for a good detective page turner. Engaging characters and a winding plot that goes back and forth from present to past, a technique which works well most of the time. I felt there were some weak plot points at the end and it came quickly when it did come and I can't mention those for fear of giving something away but overall a very good read. Recommended.
LuHa Reply to on 18 August 2017
Stunning book - exellently written.
Dialogue is often really difficult to get right, but Harper nails it in The Dry - the characters are complex, authentic, and reminicent of outback towns I've visited and lived in. Harper plays so well on the nuanced exchanges between characters, and puts a lot of weight into what's not said between them, rather than what is.
This book delivers genuine surprise - I thought I'd figured it out at the start and knew 'who dun it' (i.e. Roanoke Girls - also a great book, but super predictable, think it was about 17 pages in I knew what was going to happen), but found myself surprised to be wrong.

Really good read.

Definately needs to be on your list of books to read this year.
Charlie B
Charlie B Reply to on 1 December 2017
I loved this book which I read in only two days. I nearly only gave it 4 stars because I worked out the baddy when I was only half way through but when I got to the end I found I was wrong! It is one of those annoying books that has short chapters so you just keep on reading but it is beautifully described and revived wonderful memories of the year and a half that I spent in Victoria in the early seventies - very evocative.
W. J. Routh
W. J. Routh Reply to on 24 February 2018
Of the novels I've read over the last year I'd say this was the one I enjoyed reading most. The basic idea of a novel that develops two mysteries, linked by person but separated by time, is well-trodden. But this one executed it brilliantly. The tensions focused in the returning central figure, & the years-long drought were put across effectively. There was a genuine sense of place.

The closest comparison I can think of is Peter May's Lewis Trilogy. Similar themes of two time-separated mysteries, a returning investigator central to both, with the place acting as a character in its own right. I loved the Lewis Trilogy ... & I loved the Dry every bit as much. I look forward to Jane Harper's follow-up!
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