The Lost Man by Jane Harper

This is the third novel I have read by Jane Harper – and, yet again, I really enjoyed it.

This is a clever tale: a locked room mystery, yet set in the vast Australian outback. It is amazing how somewhere so open could be so suffocating – but it certainly can be isolating.

Cam dies, at the site of the isolated grave of the stockman: a landmark that has become infamous with all the stories surrounding it. And now there will be another story: why would Cam be there alone when he knows the territory and the dangers so well. So easily it is written off as a choice Cam made, but his brother Nathan is not so sure.

As the tale unfolds, secrets are unearthed and characters are called into question. Especially the character of Cam. Could someone have killed him after all?

This is a brillaintly atmospheric book. Using the landscape of the Australian outback, not just as a setting but also as a chracter. I could not put it down, as there are a number of interesting threads that lead into the overall mystery.

I would really recommend the books of Jane Harper, so why not give them a go?

Force of Nature by Jane Harper

One of the best things about books is the chance to share (I know, I have said it before). So it was a joy when a little book collection sent my way from my Auntie included ‘Force of Nature’ by Jane Harper.

I really enjoyed meeting Aaron Falk in ‘The Dry‘, so was keen to see where the story would take us next.

This novel is a great crime theory. The events that take place in the wilds of Australia are told simultaneously alongside Falk’s investigation. I really enjoyed this method of telling the story. It added to building the tension as the chapters alternate, as you were always keen to see if the investigation was accurately reaching the same points as the real events.

I am not sure this novel is as atmospheric as ‘The Dry’. However, it does not take away from the enjoyment because this books develops Falk as a character, reveals a little more about him as a character and builds an empathy between him and the reader.

Again, it can be difficult to review stories with a twist so this is more my personal opinion. I would love to see how else Aaron Falk’s story develops, as I think he will become a much-loved character of the fiction world.

The Dry by Jane Harper

I always love bookmail; a combination of books and snail mail is a dream. So, when ‘The Dry’ turned up thanks to my Auntie, I was excited.

I had heard of ‘The Dry’ but was not really sure what it was about, however when I realised it was a thriller, I may have picked it up sooner. The atmosphere jumps out of the book from the moment that you start reading. You can immediately sense ‘The Dry’ and the impact that it has on the people of the small Australian town. It also adds to the thrill of the read, as it almost gives each character an additional edge as they deal with the past, present and uncertain future. So much of the tension comes from the environment that it is all taking place in, especially at the thrilling conclusion.

It can be hard to review a thriller without revealing spoilers. All I will say about the plot is that Aaron Falk is a character that you have sympathy for, as his story, past and present, unfolds with each page. There are two mysteries all the way through the novel: who killed the Hadler family? And is it connected to an unsolved death many years before? The present-day crime certainly stirs some ghosts from the past and it does not take long for the people to be pushed to the limit.

This novel certainly has you wanting to know what happens next. It is quite a debut from Jane Harper; I hope we see many more stories from her pen.

Have you read any great debut novels? What would you recommend?