Saturday, January 28, 2017

The Dry Review

Title:  The Dry
Author:  Jane Harper
Publisher:  Flatiron Books
Release Date:  May 31, 2016
Buy Link:  Amazon

My Rating:  5 Flammable 's

A small town hides big secrets in this atmospheric, page-turning debut mystery by an award-winning new author.
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.
Twenty years ago, Aaron Falk and his father left their home in the small farming community of Kiewarra, Australia, behind in a cloud of dust, suspicion, and threats.  A young girl was dead and tension ran high as alibi's were questioned.  Two decades later, Federal Financial Investigator Aaron Falk receives an ominous note demanding his presence at the funeral of his old childhood friend Luke Hadler who apparently shot and killed his wife Karen and his young son Billy before turning the gun on himself.  The farming community is experiencing the worse drought in a century, causing the land and its people to be highly on prayers and only a hair trigger away from financial ruin and violence.  

Aaron's return to town raises old suspicions, doubts, and vicious rumors.  Once again, he becomes the center of accusations and vandalism amidst rumors he was involved in the death of Ellie Deacon, but Falk is no longer the broken sixteen year old boy who was once driven out of town.  Upon the request of Luke Hadler's parents, Aaron joins forces with local police officer Sgt. Raco to unofficially investigate the murders.  What they untangle is a tightly woven web of lies and deceit surrounding both the death of Ellie 20 years ago and the supposed suicide/murder of the Hadler family.  Are the murders connected?  Can alibis and smoke screens forged twenty years ago be broken?

The Dry is a well written psychological thriller that grabbed my attention in the first line of the Prologue and held it through the last line on the final page.  The tinder dry, flammable landscape of this farming community is beautifully depicted, rich in images that readily transport the reader, forcing them to experience the unrelenting heat, sweat, and utter desperation of the people.  The intriguing cast of characters is depicted in such a way that readers become intimate with each one, even as they eye them suspiciously trying to figure out who-done-it.  Through a maze of twists and turns and flashbacks, skeletons are rattled and grudges revived as Harper reveals the story of two murders 20 years apart.  It's hard to believe that The Dry is this author's debut novel . . . yes, it's that good!  A Must Read!!

My Rating:  5 Flammable 's . . . And that's the truth!

Cross My Heart . . . xxx


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