This month I’m taking part in a few blog tours. Come to think of it, it’s a great way to start the new year – new writers, new titles, new ideas. I spent most of the last year reading classics, comic books and new releases by writers I was already familiar with. I love the rare feeling of coming across something completely new and having no preconceived ideas of what to expect. I know that by reading these reviews you won’t experience that same pure magic but I hope that they encourage you to try something new.
Up first is The Dry by Jane Harper*. Released today in the UK, it has already seen huge success in Australia and the first draft won the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for an Unpublished Manuscript. Not too shabby for a debut novel.
The Dry is set in Kiewerra, a small town in rural Australia. Residents have been suffering a drought for the last two years, threatening their farms and livelihoods. When farmer, Luke Hadler, and his wife and son are found dead in an apparent murder-suicide, childhood friend, Federal Agent Aaron Falk, returns home to pay his respects. Unable to come to terms with their son’s actions, Luke’s parents ask Falk to look into other possibilities. What was meant to be a straightforward 24 hours back in his home town becomes a lot more complicated – and dangerous – when Falk has to face what drove him away 20 years ago.
I read a wide range of titles and haven’t picked up a crime thriller for a while – the only one I read last year was Headhunters. In fact, the only thrillers I can recall reading recently (Headhunters, Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train) all have unreliable narrators, so it made a change reading one that wasn’t written in the first person.
I was hooked from the first chapter. The story moved at a quick pace while still giving ample time to the key players; I can see it lending itself well to the big screen (it has already been picked up by Reese Witherspoon’s production company) and I’ll definitely be watching the adaptation.
There are two key mysteries in the story, focusing on the tragic case of the Hadlers and the suicide of Luke and Falk’s friend, Ellie Deacon, when they were teenagers. Both are intriguing from beginning to end and the flashbacks work well, revealing more back story at key points while still keeping you guessing.
Never has the cliche ‘page-turner’ been more relevant; I was kept guessing until the last page. The Dry has become one of my favourite new releases. Like thrillers with a wounded hero you can’t help but keep rooting for? Grab a copy of The Dry.
* I received this item for review purposes but all thoughts are my own.