“WHO REALLY KILLED THE HADLER FAMILY?
I just can’t understand how someone like him could do something like that.
Amid the worst drought to ravage Australia in a century, it hasn’t rained in small country town Kiewarra for two years. Tensions in the community become unbearable when three members of the Hadler family are brutally murdered. Everyone thinks Luke Hadler, who committed suicide after slaughtering his wife and six-year-old son, is guilty.
Policeman Aaron Falk returns to the town of his youth for the funeral of his childhood best friend, and is unwillingly drawn into the investigation. As questions mount and suspicion spreads through the town, Falk is forced to confront the community that rejected him twenty years earlier. Because Falk and Luke Hadler shared a secret, one which Luke’s death threatens to unearth. And as Falk probes deeper into the killings, secrets from his past and why he left home bubble to the surface as he questions the truth of his friend’s crime.”
Who really killed the Hadler family? I’ve been wanting to know that since this fabulous hardback ARC came into my possession earlier this year. Regular visitors to the blog will know what I’m going to say now because I’ve said it time and time again! Because of my blog tour commitments, I haven’t really been able to ‘choose’ a book for a while now. From 1st October however that has not been the case! The number of tours I have committed to has significantly reduced and the one thing I was missing (actually being able to choose my next read) has made a triumphant return to my bookish life. It’s such a joy for me to select a book, pure and simple.
So I’m picking the books I have wanted to read for some time. Along with books which have been on my TBR for…..well, too long. My lovely blogger friend, Jo, over at My Chestnut Reading Tree recommend The Dry to me. She absolutely loved it so my curiosity was well and truly piqued. This is one of the books championed by Jo (and several other bloggers) and I can see exactly why it’s loved by so many.
I’m a big (BIG!) fan of crime novels set in small-town America. It’s one of my go-to settings; I love the secrets, the desperation, the suspicion. The bumbling local Sheriff, out to either prove his worth or destroy those who have invested their trust in him. Although The Dry isn’t set in in America it had the same claustrophobic feel to it which I gladly immersed myself in. Maybe I need to broaden my horizons a little and investigate some Australian crime fiction. Imagine what I’ve been missing!
The town of Kiewarra felt a pretty desolate place, not helped by the local drought causing catastrophic problems to the locals and their livelihoods; mainly farming. Kiewarra boy made good, Aaron Falk returns to his hometown to attend the funeral of his childhood friend, Luke Hadler. Luke is mourned yet despised by his smalltown acquaintances for viciously killing his wife and young son with a shotgun, then turning the weapon on himself. Luke’s parents think differently though and suspect someone else is to blame for the horrific loss of their family. Luke’s parents know Aaron can clear their son’s name and find the real killer, after all, Aaron is a Federal Agent now. Reluctantly Aaron agrees to work with local Sergeant, Greg Raco. He feels he has no choice in the matter when Jerry, Luke’s father, tells Aaron that he knows the truth. He knows that Luke and Aaron lied…..
There are two separate but beautifully melded storylines to this book; the past where the reader discovers a childhood friend of Luke and Aaron was drowned in the river and the present, the investigation into who actually killed the Hadler family. Both plots rub alongside each other in a rather mesmerising way. There are snippets of what happened way back when but with a present narrative alongside. I was stunned to discover this is Harper’s debut as the story is so intricate and handled expertly. I was hooked. Did Luke and Aaron have anything to do with the death of their friend? Well…
I may have fallen a little bit in love with Aaron Falk. I don’t think I’ll be the only one. There are several interesting and well-written characters for the reader to enjoy. All contributing to a shocking and heartbreaking conclusion which I wasn’t expecting. All in all this is a stonking debut and I cannot wait to read the next book in the series, Force of Nature.
Would I recommend this book? I would. It’s a very enjoyable read which stands head and shoulders above others in the genre. At times I struggled to put it down and look forward to reading more in the future. Harper writes crime fiction like a pro.
Four and a half stars out of five.
I chose to read and review an ARC of The Dry. The above review is my own unbiased opinion.
The Dry by Jane Harper was published in the UK by Little, Brown on 1st June 2017 and is available in hardcover, paperback eBook and audio formats | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Waterstones | Goodreads |
Jane Harper was born in Manchester in the UK, and moved to Australia with her family at age eight.
She spent six years in Boronia, Victoria, and during that time gained Australian citizenship.
Returning to the UK with her family as a teenager, she lived in Hampshire before studying English and History at the University of Kent in Canterbury.
On graduating, she completed a journalism entry qualification and got her first reporting job as a trainee on the Darlington & Stockton Times in County Durham.
Jane worked for several years as a senior news journalist for the Hull Daily Mail, before moving back to Australia in 2008.
She worked first on the Geelong Advertiser, and in 2011 took up a role with the Herald Sun in Melbourne.
In 2014, Jane submitted a short story which was one of 12 chosen for the Big Issue‘s annual Fiction Edition.
That inspired her to pursue creative writing more seriously, and that year she applied for the Curtis Brown Creative online 12-week novel writing course.
She was accepted with a submission for the book that would become The Dry.
Jane lives in St Kilda with her husband and daughter.
Author image and bio © http://janeharper.com.au/About-Jane