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Good Reads Review: The Dry by Jane Harper

Recommended to me by my partner, I decided to dive into this debut novel that launched Jane Harper after enjoying the gripping film adaptation released last year starring Eric Bana.

Reading the book after watching the movie may be considered sacrilege, but then you actually read it. And even then, despite knowing the ending you are sucked into this desolate, unforgiving landscape Harper has crafted. Kiewarra is a brutal, unrelenting place suffering trauma in many forms, the kind of unrelenting dread that folks growing up in the country know all too well; that desperate desire for those drops of rain, the fact that everyone is barely scraping by and is on the verge of snapping, and worst of all, the ever-present danger that all the dry landscape could suddenly go up in an instant.

The landscape itself feels like a character in the story, and serves as a symbolic struggle that our protagonist, Aaron Falk has upon returning to his childhood home. Following an apparent murder of wife Karen and child Billy Hadler (and an apparent suicide of the husband, Luke Hadler, Falk's best friend growing up), Falk returns to a town in chaos, traumatised from the murders and begging for the end of the drought. The Hadlers insist that there is more to the deaths than meets the , and as Falk begins to peel back and examine what happened, his own past catches up with him, and old wounds are re-opened.

Put it simply, it is one of the best Australian crime novels released in the 2010s, and that is saying something. The hype is real. If you know nothing of Aaron Falk, all the better. Dive into this book. Now.


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