I am very fortunate to have a family filled with readers. We may not live in geographical proximity to each other and our preferences may at times be wildly different, but we are able to hit each other up for a good book recommendation from time to time. My sister-in-law, Dr A, often enjoys a good murder mystery. In fact it was she who turned me on to one of my all time favorite reading experiences namely The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair by Joel Dicker, which if you haven’t yet read it, you really should. She doesn’t often throw out unrequested book recommendations however, so when she does, I tend to take notice. I preordered The Dry by Jane Harper, based on one such recommendation in August and then promptly forgot all about it.
If Christmas 2017 lacked anything (and to my lovely family, I really don’t think that it did) it was a cracking read. I’ve been feeling a little lacklustre of late and although I have three different books on the go, none of them have really fuelled my mojo. Time can be short at this time of year, particularly with my mother staying for six weeks, so hitting that magic spot of time and quality can be key to reading anything. Maybe I should take it as an excellent reading omen that with the New Year arrived The Dry.
The pacing of this novel is exceptional. I feel like it has been an eternity since I’ve read a book that was so good that, when cleaning the house, I would find myself taking a break between rooms just to read another chapter instead of getting on with the job. Sense of place is phenomenal. The Dry is a reference to the Australian drought during which the novel is set and the heat that permeates the book is oppressive. The empty, barren, dying environment soaks up the life around it, making it the perfect backdrop to the murders of the Hadler family.
The plot (our third p!) is simple. Aaron Falk returns to his hometown for the funeral of his friend Luke Hadler, who appears to have committed suicide after having murdered his wife and son. Falk moved away during his late teens and largely lost contact with Luke, following the drowning of a mutual friend Ellie, whose suicide had always been blamed on Falk. Now working as a Federal Agent, Falk is asked by Luke’s father to look into the deaths in the hope of exonerating his son.
It took me about a day to read this novel, that’s how good it is. When I finished it, The Husband picked it up and read it in a day too. Now, after a few reservations on my part, The Son has picked it up and is reading it.
Pick it up. Read it. There will be no regrets.