Friday, February 9, 2018

Force of Nature (Aaron Falk #2) Review

Title:  Force of Nature
Series:  Aaron Falk #2
Author:  Jane Harper
Publisher:  Flatiron Books - Macmillan
U.S. Release Date:  Feb. 6, 2018
Purchase Link:  Amazon

My Rating:  4 Thrilling Hearts

*Many thanks to the publisher for a copy of this arc via Netgally.




Synopsis:
Five women go on a hike. Only four return. Jane Harper, the New York Times bestselling author of The Dry, asks: How well do you really know the people you work with?

When five colleagues are forced to go on a corporate retreat in the wilderness, they reluctantly pick up their backpacks and start walking down the muddy path.

But one of the women doesn’t come out of the woods. And each of her companions tells a slightly different story about what happened.

Federal Police Agent Aaron Falk has a keen interest in the whereabouts of the missing hiker. In an investigation that takes him deep into isolated forest, Falk discovers secrets lurking in the mountains, and a tangled web of personal and professional friendship, suspicion, and betrayal among the hikers. But did that lead to murder?


Review:

A riveting, meticulous, suspenseful follow up to Harper's award winning debut novel, The Dry!  It's never easy for a sophomore book to live up the hype and anticipation of readers when the first one was such an astounding success.  The temptation is great to compare them and expectations are always high for the second novel to be as good or even better than the first.  Like other readers, I couldn't wait to see what Harper would do with book 2 and where she would take Federal Police Agent Aaron Falk.  While The Dry remains my favorite of the two, I quickly found myself totally engrossed in Force of Nature and with heart racing, I read nonstop until I reached the end.

In Force of Nature, five women strike out on an office team-building hike through the rainy, cold, and deadly Giralang Ranges of Australia.  Readers soon sense a strong undercurrent of animosity among them, and by the time they finally stumble back out into civilization, there are only four women remaining.  The mystery of what happened on the dangerous trek plays out in "real" time as the story alternates between the hour by hour agonizing, seemingly doomed trek of the women and the current search by authorities, including Falk & his new partner.  Readers should do themselves a favor and avoid any and all spoilers.  Dive into the book unaware of what's to come - just as these women were unaware of the perils and challenges they would face before all was said and done.


As in The Dry, the setting plays the part of a character in Force of Nature and is a relentless, ongoing threat to the women's survival.  Harper writes in beautifully vivid, descriptive detail placing readers right in the heart of the potentially deadly forces doled out by an unforgiving mother nature.  As the story unfolds, the tension escalates and fear and panic serve to uncover the ugliest mask worn by human nature (masterfully portrayed by Harper), revealing several secret unknowns to readers.  As sure as the gray skies and incessant rain, a feeling of impending doom descends setting an ominous tone early that escalates all the way through to the heart-pounding end.  Jane Harper brilliantly delivers another stunning novel that I found as addictive and seductive as the first!  A Page Burner!  A Must Read!


My Rating:  4 Thrilling Hearts . . . And that's the truth!



Cross My Heart . . . xxx

Sandra