The Dry by Jane Harper
The Dry was published in January 2017 and I started hearing a lot of buzz about it right away. I tend to be wary of books that everyone loves, believing that I'm bound to be disappointed after all the hype. This is the attitude that kept me from reading Louise Penny until 2015 – ten years after her first book was released. Spoiler Alert: She's brilliant. The Dry, I'm happy to report, fantastic as well. You don't have to take my word for it. It's won a number of awards in Australia and the prestigious Gold Dagger award from the Crime Writers' Association of the United Kingdom.
In December, I was looking for a new audiobook for the car and since The Dry had ended up on a lot of best of 2017 lists, I gave it a shot. After listening to a couple of discs, I realized two important things. First: the book was good, really good. Second: the audiobook was not working out for me and I owed it to myself to get the print copy instead. Audiobooks are not my preferred story delivery system. My mind wanders. The Dry proved to be particularly difficult for me as the novel incorporates flashbacks into the story in almost every chapter. In print, they are distinguished by italics but in audio there was no differentiation and I kept losing track of the era. When I got the print copy I devoured every page.
Kiewarra is a farming community in the second year of a devastating drought. The citizens are anxious and financially strapped but no one is really crazy from the heat, or are they? A local man, Luke Hadler, has apparently committed suicide after killing his wife and son. His old friend Aaron Falk hasn't been back to Kiewarra since he and his father were driven out when he was a teen. Now a federal police officer, Falk, doesn't believe that Luke could have been responsible for the shocking crime, but after so much time has passed, does he still know Luke at all? Maybe not, but Luke's father wants answers about the crime and thinks Falk can get them. He reminds Aaron that Luke had once provided him with an alibi after the girl they both loved died suddenly and suggests that it's time to repay that favour. As Falk begins an investigation of sorts, he discovers that the local police officer has his own questions about the murders. Maybe this case isn't as clear-cut as it appears.
The Dry is available in these formats:
The second book in the Aaron Falk mystery series, Force of Nature, is being published on February 6, 2018.