The Dry was an absolutely incredible debut novel from Jane Harper. It was dark, it was thrilling, and it was incredibly hard to put down!
After reading this book, I have realized that I really need some more crime mysteries in my life! If you have any recommendations of that genre, please send them my way!
The Dry by Jane Harper
Aaron Falk has returned to his hometown, Kiewarra, Australia for his childhood friends funeral. The situation is a nasty one; the town is in the middle of a devastating drought, and it appears that his friend had shot his wife and young son before turning the gun on himself. Falk is only planning to stay in town for as short a time as possible. But when he speaks to the father of the deceased, unresolved mysteries of Falk's past begin to rush back. One thing leads to another, and Falk finds himself helping a local cop with an investigation in a town that cannot let go of the past.
Oh gosh. Where to start with my thoughts on this book...
This book is the type of crime mystery that I will always enjoy. At first, the crime seems so clear cut, but then you see the situation in a new light, and then you can't stop reading until you see the resolution! The storyline had me guessing right up until the very end. When the main reveal was completed, I was shocked. I absolutely did not see it coming! But even then, there was still one more mystery to solve! Needless to say, I was hooked right into this story from the very start and had a very hard time putting it down.
The writing is great; all of the description helps you to really see the landscape and feel the dry heat of the atmosphere. The pacing was constant and even the bits that could be described as "slow" were still so captivating to me. I loved that the storyline of this book had flashbacks set inside each chapter as related to what was currently happening. I also really appreciate that these flashbacks were written up in italics to set them apart from the main storyline. I definitely prefer this method to a book that alternates from one timeline to another in separate chapters.
This book is quite dark. It starts out in very a dark place, which you can see in the book synopsis: "Luke Hadler turns a gun on his wife and child, then himself." Later on, there are other violent and abusive situations. However, the hardest parts for me to read seemed to be the bits where the locals were incredibly close-minded. Their ignorance was incredible, but I loved how Falk dealt with each ridiculous situation.
The characters were all very strong. The author did a wonderful job creating some characters that were very lovable, while others were super creepy or downright horrible. Though I have to admit, I'm not really sure how I felt about the main character, Falk. From the beginning I wasn't sure that I could trust him, and those feelings never really went away. Like I said above, I really liked how he dealt with many situations with the locals. But there were a few other situations where he seemed to be acting out of character (example, approaching one character right after leaving the police station when he knew better than to do so). I also really didn't care for Luke, especially when we learned more about his childhood with Falk.
One final note: I see that this is marked as book number one... I'm not sure how I feel about that yet. As a stand alone, I think this book is perfect. I am slightly interested to see how this could turn into a series... but I'm definitely hesitant. I've read far too many series that should have remained standalones. But on the other hand, I think that the writing and pacing was so well done, that I also want to read more from this author. Very conflicting feelings here! I'll just have to wait and see what book two brings! :)
Up ahead, groups of mourners stood out like smudges against the dusty road.
Falk stared at him. The guy had probably been waiting twenty years to feel superior to someone and wasn't about to waste his chance, Falk realized. He opened his mouth to argue, then stopped. It was the very definition of wasted energy.
The past coated him like a layer of grime.
My final thoughts:I ended up giving this book four stars. I really enjoyed it, but I don't think I would read it again. But who knows, perhaps I will once the second book has been published and I choose to give it a try.
I would definitely recommend this to any crime or mystery lover, or anyone that is looking for a great book that will really captivate them.