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The Dry (2016)

by Jane Harper

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Aaron Falk (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,9902323,714 (3.99)326
"A small town hides big secrets in The Dry. After getting a note demanding his presence, Federal Agent Aaron Falk arrives in his hometown for the first time in decades to attend the funeral of his best friend, Luke. Twenty years ago when Falk was accused of murder, Luke was his alibi. Falk and his father fled under a cloud of suspicion, saved from prosecution only because of Luke's steadfast claim that the boys had been together at the time of the crime. But now more than one person knows they didn't tell the truth back then, and Luke is dead. Amid the worst drought in a century, Falk and the local detective question what really happened to Luke. As Falk reluctantly investigates to see if there's more to Luke's death than there seems to be, long-buried mysteries resurface, as do the lies that have haunted them. And Falk will find that small towns have always hidden big secrets."--… (more)
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» See also 326 mentions

English (224)  German (2)  Dutch (1)  Italian (1)  French (1)  Catalan (1)  Swedish (1)  All languages (231)
Showing 1-5 of 224 (next | show all)
Ok, I read this five years ago so my review is based on my memories from then. This was a cracking read with a sadly pretty ludicrous ending. Endings are hard, I know, so I am pretty forgiving. I liked the main plotting, mystery, characterisation very much and looked forward to reading future novels by Jane Harper. ( )
  Vivl | Jun 7, 2022 |
Not a cheery book, but very good. ( )
  kvoldstad | Jun 6, 2022 |
Jane Harper (1980) is a British-Australian journalist and writer, who has by now published 4 thrillers. The Dry is the first of these, and was a huge success immediately after publication. The edition I read was filled with lyrical quotes from reviews and recommendations from well-known thriller authors such as Ian Rankin and Val McDermid. So my expectations were high. But were they fulfilled?

The Dry is set in Kiewarra, a small town in the Australian outback. Things are not going very well out there: it hasn't rained for a couple of years, cattle dies, crops fail and people sink into financial misery. That a man would be so desperate that he kills his family and then himself is not very surprising in that context and above all very sad. However, there are a few things wrong with this reading of the facts. That's what the new local police officer thinks, and so does Aaron Falk, a Melbourne detective who grew up in Kiewarra and has now returned there for the first time in 20 years for his childhood friend's funeral.

Aaron Falk is the main character of this story. He left Kiewarra years ago. The story of why he had to leave is a story that you gradually discover over the course of the book. It is this background that hinders Falk's research quite a bit. I won't say much more about it, because I don't want to reveal any plot twists of which there are quite a few.

The Dry is the kind of book that you can hardly put down, thanks to the many cliffhangers. At the same time it is a rather conventional thriller, with the usual ingredients: a murder, that seems clear, but is increasingly questioned, a detective with secrets from his past, several suspects, a romance and an ending where all the puzzle pieces fall neatly into place. The writing style is not very surprising or original. The surprising ingredient was the background: the Australian outback, the drought, the despair. I think that will stay with me the most when I think back to this book. But I'm not lyrical about it. ( )
  Tinwara | May 28, 2022 |
The unabridged audio version of this book is very hard to listen to. The narrator seems to pause at the end of perhaps a page, and then you expect a new chapter but instead he goes on with the next sentence. I thought the story line was ok, nothing new and the ending was predictable. The author has set everything up for a sequel. Not sure if I will read it ( )
  Sunandsand | Apr 30, 2022 |
Arachnophobia TW!!!! I put pictures of a large, scary spider in this review.

This is my second book from this author and I'm pretty sure she's a favorite mystery author. She does small-town mysteries so well and I'm always blown away by her attention to detail and how well she weaves all the pieces of her story together. I loved the main character in The Survivors and I really liked Falk in this book. Harper is amazing at characterization. Her dialogue feels so real and it really makes the characters come to life. This mystery also had a very satisfying finale for me. I felt like all the threads were wrapped up really well. Harper has blown me away with everything she has written so far and I can't wait to read more!

Also, totally unrelated but early in the book, Falk is looking at a "mid-sized huntsman spider" in his motel room so I googled what that kind of spider looks like and OH MY GOD....


Look at the size of these things! This was the scariest part of the book for me and I'm not even that scared of spiders. ( )
  AKBouterse | Apr 16, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 224 (next | show all)
Aaron Falk gaat terug naar zijn geboortedorp Kiewarra in Australië voor de begrafenis van zijn vroegere vriend Luke. Bij Luke heeft zich een familiedrama afgespeeld. Falk is niet erg welkom in het stadje. Jaren geleden is hij samen met zijn vader het stadje ontvlucht omdat Falk in verband werd gebracht met de dood van zijn toenmalige vriendin Ellie Deacon. Falk is van plan om na de begrafenis direct weer te vertrekken. De ouders van Luke vragen hem echter om even te blijven en wat onderzoek te doen naar de dood van hun zoon…lees verder >
 
Jane Harper creates an atmosphere of simmering tension right from the off. Her version of High Noon in the Outback flickers between past and present to slowly reveal what actually happened between characters who are far more engaging than the cogs usually found in clockwork thrillers.
She observes all the conventions — the local loudmouth causing trouble, an old flame awakening lust, patchy mobile phone reception, a double-whammy denouement — while producing something fresh.
 
Ms. Harper throws out so many teasing possibilities that it’s hard to believe this is her first novel. And even harder to believe that she learned to write fiction via a literary agency’s online writing course. (She had already been a print journalist for more than a decade.) One trick the course clearly taught her was a basic of the crime genre: Make sure that nothing is what it looks like at first sight. People trying to solve the Hadler murder case — and to deal with many other troubles that erupt in Kiewarra during Falk’s stay — are reliably quick to jump to the wrong conclusions.
added by steevohenderson | editNew York Times, Janet Maslin (pay site) (Jan 9, 2017)
 
Solid storytelling that, despite a plethora of flashbacks, never loses momentum, strong characterisation and a sense of place so vivid that you can almost feel the blistering heat add up to a remarkably assured debut.
 

» Add other authors (15 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Jane Harperprimary authorall editionscalculated
Hallén, JessicaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Shanahan, SteveNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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To my parents, Mike and Helen, who always read to me.
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It wasn’t as though the farm hadn’t seen death before, and the blowflies didn’t discriminate.
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"A small town hides big secrets in The Dry. After getting a note demanding his presence, Federal Agent Aaron Falk arrives in his hometown for the first time in decades to attend the funeral of his best friend, Luke. Twenty years ago when Falk was accused of murder, Luke was his alibi. Falk and his father fled under a cloud of suspicion, saved from prosecution only because of Luke's steadfast claim that the boys had been together at the time of the crime. But now more than one person knows they didn't tell the truth back then, and Luke is dead. Amid the worst drought in a century, Falk and the local detective question what really happened to Luke. As Falk reluctantly investigates to see if there's more to Luke's death than there seems to be, long-buried mysteries resurface, as do the lies that have haunted them. And Falk will find that small towns have always hidden big secrets."--

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