Reader reviews and comments on Force of Nature, plus links to write your own review.

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Force of Nature

A Novel

by Jane Harper

Force of Nature by Jane Harper X
Force of Nature by Jane Harper
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  • First Published:
    Feb 2018, 320 pages
    Jan 2019, 352 pages

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Barbara E. (Rockville, MD)

A Force of Nature
This is a thrilling mystery about the disappearance of a woman during a group team building hiking weekend in the Australian bush. From the first page I was hooked and almost finished in one sitting. The story unfolds from the point of view of the detectives and then alternates with an account of the women's trek. The characters are fascinating and well-drawn, and Harper's Detective Falk is complex and intriguing. I highly recommend this book. Because there are a number of references to events from Harper's first book, The Dry, it would help to read the books in order.
Dorothy M. (Maynard, MA)

Liked this one as much as her first one
I was very impressed with Jane Harper's first book - The Dry - and looked forward to reading her new title Force of Nature. I wasn't disappointed. She brings back Aaron Falk from her first book and gives him a new partner - Carmen Cooper - to investigate financial crimes. Still in Australia, they are called out when a women who is cooperating with their investigation turns up missing on a bushland trek as part of a team building exercise. The exercise quickly descends into a Lord of the Flies relationship when the women take a wrong turn and find themselves lost in the bush with no food or water.

I like her characters, think she writes wonderfully, find the setting interesting and the story believable. She does a great job of creating suspense. Here are the first lines from the prologue: "Later, the four remaining women could fully agree on only two things. One: No-one saw the bushland swallow up Alice Russell. And two: Alice had a mean streak so sharp it could cut you." Doesn't that make you want to read more?
Tired Bookreader

Worth the Time to Read
I found this book to be interesting from the first page. It was one of the fastest reads I can remember. The plot was carried us along for a treacherous outing in the woods. The disappearance of Alice presents more questions than answers. The dual timeline keeps the story going in an interesting fashion. I did not see the ending coming...always a good sign for a thriller.

Another great book by Jane Harper
I enjoyed reading The Dry and was anxious to read this book. It did not disappoint. Harper does an excellent job of creating believable characters. A group of women goes on a retreat in the Australian bush and one of the women goes missing---or so it appears. The story shifts back and forth from the search to a gradual unfolding of what happened to the women. Well plotted and a good mystery. I am now a fan of Jane Harper and look forward to her next book.
Power Reviewer
Sandi W.

Five start out...four return
Jane Harper has done it again. Staying in the Australian vein, again engaging with Detective Aaron Falk, this second book of the series is another great who-done-it. Her first book, The Dry, was exceptionally good, both in story plot and writing. This second book is also outstanding.

Five woman go on a weekend corporate retreat into a forest range. Four women come back out. While five men from the same corporation are also hiking, in their own direction, they have no lasting problems. Whereas the women find trouble every step of the way. What makes it worse is that none of the women really like each other - even though two are identical twins. This weekend trip is also marred by family problems, problems for one of the men and also one of the women. Having to surrender their cell phones is bad enough, but finding out that the one phone that was sneaked in cannot pick up a signal, ends up being a point of contention.

Each chapter gives you a glimpse of the current day and also a time frame from the retreat. Aaron Falk, actually investigating the corporation for something totally different, is drawn into the missing persons case. Each chapter brings you closer to finding the missing person, but also explains how she became missing. Interesting double story process to carry all the way through the book, but Harper did a great job in pulling it off. Once you start this story it is hard to put it down.
Nanette S

Force of Nature
give it 3.5 stars. Falk and his partner, Carmen, have been assigned to obtain contracts from a company they are investigating. The one problem they are dealing with is that Alice, the woman helping them, has disappeared in the woods during her business team building weekend getaway. Do any of her coworkers know what happened, or did she do this on her own? This is the 2nd Falk book in the series and can be read on its own. Not very riveting, yet a good mystery story. There are a good number of characters mentioned with two storylines being told and the chapters are easily identified in keeping track of the two character groups. I will read the first book, The Dry, to get the back story for Aaron Falk.
Julie P

Rated 2nd to The Dry - Still Couldn't Put it Down
Spoiler Alert!
This book was a page turner. It could have been 600 pages! I loved The Dry and was excited to see Harper had published another already. Thrillers are my favourite genre and I am grateful for a new author whose books are so captivating.

I really enjoy that Harper doesn't use shock - that is such a lazy way to thrill. The back and forth in time was easy to follow and kept me reading long after I should have gone to bed.

I do feel readers were left hanging. It almost needs a sequel that ties up some loose ends and explores some potentially fascinating tales.
Where did Joel go? Margot had an interesting role. I liked the twist on Lauren, but would have liked to see more of that history. Falk's father's maps didn't offer any hidden clues, any keys to Falk solving the mystery or peek into the Kovac past. The Kovac angle was dismissed almost immediately with his death and yet it was mentioned often later on. It didn't ring realistic when characters feared Kovac when they all knew he was dead/imprisoned. Daniel was excluded completely after a couple of appearances. Falk's primary investigation was downplayed and there wasn't any satisfaction in that story. Bree and Beth's back stories were explained in too much detail and went nowhere - nothing to suggest the pair were guilty of anything or tie into the present.

The ending was a letdown. So many possibilities and the most benign and uninteresting was played out.

I had visions of Alice having escaped the wild to wreak havoc somewhere or live up to her obligations as a mother and witness, or Joel having a part in her disappearance. Daniel was a seasoned hiker and his character could have been built to be a bigger player (or more believable red herring). Jill was pretty flat - no real indication she was a suspect and no true motives. She could have been a surprise help to Falk's investigation or maybe a player to Alice's escape or maybe even the true threat to Alice.

I really did love this book, I just feel there were more interesting ways it could have played out.

I admit, I'm no literary critic. I didn't want to put the book down and I am left contemplating it long after I have read it. For those reasons, the author may well have done her job!
Power Reviewer
Kelli R. (Birmingham, AL)

Things Can Go Wrong in the Woods
I had the pleasure of reading Jane Harper's debut, The Dry, earlier this year but Force of Nature (book 2 in the Aaron Falk series) was even better. A multi-day corporate hiking and camping trip sounds scary enough but the drama is definitely intensified by the isolated bushland, the family drama back home, the history of serial killer in the exact same location, and the strained relationships among the co-workers. Federal Police Agent Aaron Falk is still charming and there were hints of The Dry throughout as Aaron struggled to understand his relationship with his now-deceased father. I will definitely continue this series.

Beyond the Book:
  Australia's National Parks

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