Book Recommendations – The Dry by Jane Harper


Luke Hadler turns a gun on his wife and child, then himself. The farming community of Kiewarra is facing life and death choices daily. If one of their own broke under the strain, well …

When Federal Police Investigator Aaron Falk returns to Kiewarra for the funerals, he is loath to confront the people who rejected him twenty years earlier. But when his investigative skills are called on, the facts of the Hadler case start to make him doubt this murder-suicide charge.


This book was always going places. It won the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for an Unpublished Manuscript in 2015. Then recently The Dry also won Indie Book of the year for 2017. It has sold more than 50,000 copies since its release last year in May. And now Reece Witherspoon’s company has bought the options to turn The Dry into a movie.

Jane Harper’s book deserves these accolades and so much more. I couldn’t put this book down, finishing it in only three sittings. (Quite an achievement for me)

I’m a huge fan of any story set in Australia and especially outback Australia. The setting is a small town, Kiewarra, in rural Victoria, which Harper brings to life with her wonderful description of the ruthless and unrelenting heat and endless dry of the drought. It’s hard to believe Harper is a city slicker and has only ever visited the county a few times – her depictions of the sparse fields, dried up creek-bed and dusty roads wending their way over the horizon are so embedded into the existence of the book.

This is a book that highlights what is so often the case in isolated rural communities – that opinions of the community count more than the truth, or even the law. And it is through this prejudice the murderer is able to get away with his awful deed for so long.

Harper is able to link a tragic event that happened to Falk when he was a teenager in the town with the current events of the supposed murder-suicide, but this time-travel is done in a faultless way as Harper drops in flashbacks showing the reader what really happened. Throughout the whole weaving of her tale, I found Harper’s characters to be truly relatable as they slowly exposed their painful truths.

This is a fast paced, nail-biting thriller. A well-written and easy to read book that is so evocative of rural Australia it deserves to be on any good TBR pile. I love that Aussie authors can mix it up with the any of the world’s best.

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