The Dry

After feeling a little stuck with reading (I know, unbelievable. I should get help), I returned to my love (and hate) of mystery/thrillers. And Jane Harper didn’t disappoint.

The Dry is set in the Australian outback. A small town is in the middle of an awful drought, and every one assumes the hard times led Luke Hadler to kill his family and himself. But Federal Agent Aaron Falk, run out of town decades ago, isn’t so sure. A cryptic note tells him, “Luke lied. You lied. Be at the funeral.”

Naturally, returning to the town that cast him out brings up a lot of history. Though Falk just wanted to attend the funeral and run back to the city, somehow he finds himself staying and poking around the supposedly open and shut case. Somehow he can’t shake the feeling that it’s all connected to the past, and the town isn’t quite ready to let things lie.

Harper’s story moved along at a fast pace, introducing ideas and allowing the reader’s mind to be anticipating each new reveal. She weaves the drama of small town living together with the drama of the tragedy, creating a layered story that engages readers from the get-go.

I found this book to be the perfect blend of being just lost in the story and occasionally trying to figure out the end. Though my few ideas were ultimately wrong, that was OK because I wasn’t trying so hard to work it all out. I was satisfied to just go along at the author’s pace and enjoy the story.

The book does need a few trigger warnings, though. The deaths at the beginning of the book are pretty gruesome, even though the author leaves a lot to the imagination. It also includes references to abuse and hints at sexual abuse as well.

All in all, it was a good crime thriller with a solid mix of procedural story telling mixed with drama.

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