Jane Harper is coming to AWF this year. I will miss her session as it clashes with mine but her debut novel is a top read. Now based in Melbourne, Jane has worked as a print journalist in both the UK (her first home) and Australia. The Dry won the 2015 Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for an an unpublished manuscript and was an international bestseller. Her second novel, Force of Nature, awaits me – I got it in the revitalised Paradox Books in Devonport this week.
This is what Ron Rash says on the back cover: ‘The Dry is a marvelous novel that once begun is hard to put down, and once finished even harder to forget’.
Federal Agent Aaron Falk goes back to his small home town after the shocking murder of his childhood best friend and his family. He enters a spider’s web of suspicion and recrimination that is sticky with revelation and side swerves. To be snared in a weblike plot, with no idea of how things will unfold, with writing that is both fluid and evocative, is utterly satisfying. On the one hand you get a thrilling story, but on the other hand, you move deep into the humanity of place. People struggle to survive; they mourn, they fight, they deceive, they aid and they love.
I read this book in one afternoon and for the rest of the day it stuck to everything I did. Highly recommended.
Jane Harper website here