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Aaron Falk Mystery #3

by Jane Harper

Exiles by Jane Harper X
Exiles by Jane Harper
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  • Published:
    Jan 2023, 352 pages


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I hope this is not the end of Aaron Falk
EXILES is further proof of Jane Harper’s writing skills. Here is another of her literate mysteries/thrillers. This book will grab you from page 1.

Aaron Falk is again the main character when he visits his friends the Racos to be their son’s godfather. While he spends a week in this small Australian town, he solves two mysteries.

Kim, the ex-wife of one of the Raco brothers, since remarried, has been missing for a year. Most presume that she is dead. Falk looks into this case at the insistence of his friend’s niece.

Another case, now six years old, involves the dead husband of a woman he meets there. Her stepson still wants to find the hit-and-run driver who killed him.

I’ve read all of Harper’s books and anxiously await her next one. But I heard her say that she is dropping Aaron Falk as a recurring character. I hope she changes her mind, and I think she might. She seems to have made an opening so she can bring him back if she wants to.

very highly recommended procedural
Exiles by Jane Harper is the very highly recommended procedural and the third installment of the series featuring Aaron Faulk.

Set in Southern Australian wine country, Australian Federal Investigator Aaron Falk is going to the christening of a friend's baby and the festival on the weekend that marks the one year anniversary of Kim Gillespie's disappearance at the town of Marralee's food and wine festival. Thirty-nine-year-old Kim had tucked her five-week-old sleeping baby into her stroller and then vanished into the festival crowd, never to be seen again.

Now, a year later, Kim's older teenage daughter, Zara, and Falk's friend Greg Raco have asked him to look into the case as they ask anyone at this year's festival with more information to come forward. As he looks into the case, questions begin to emerge. What happened to Kim Gilles? What would make a mother abandon her child?

Exiles is an excellent addition to the procedural series, following The Dry and Force of Nature. Although you can read them as stand-alone novels, they are better read as part of the series. The novel sets an atmospheric, thoughtful, deliberate pace as both the setting and the investigation are carefully explored. There are plenty of suspects and motives within the narrative as the secrets and evidence is disclosed. The narrative unfolds in three timelines: a year previously, a week in the present, and three years in the future.

Harper is an exceptional writer and pays equal attention to the development of her characters as she does to the investigational part of the procedural. The characters are all fully realized, complex individuals, with established backstories. Falk is the narrator of almost all of the novel, which gives his character by far the most depth and complexity. His voice is already the main focal point of the narrative.

There is actually more than one mystery that begs to be solved in Exiles. Clues are present as the narrative unfolds and careful readers will appreciate the challenge and the presentation. This is an excellent third novel in the series and rumor has it the final Aaron Falk. This is an excellent ending to the series if that is the case.

Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of Flatiron Books via NetGalley

Another Excellent Harper Mystery
I was thrilled to be chosen to review this book. I've read everything by Jane Harper and she never disappoints. She always keeps me interested till the very end. What I love about this book, is you don't have to have necessarily read the other Falk books. I keep reading that this is the last book in the trilogy. But, I'm hopeful based on the ending I read there is room for Aaron Falk's return.

Great characters and location
I thoroughly enjoyed Exiles. The way the characters, both young and old, devolved as the story progressed kept me hooked to the last page. I know the South Australian wine region and it was captured on the page so vividly as was the atmosphere of living in a small regional town. There is no doubt Jane Harper is at the top of her craft, her plot and character development was totally believable and I didn’t see the end (of both crimes) coming. I hope there are more crimes for Aaron Falk to solve in the pipeline.
Shirley F

Another Aaron Falk Mystery
I just love the way Jane Harper develops a plot, adds tension and suspense, and brings out important themes of friendship and community. The book begins with a mysterious disappearance of a baby's mother, Kim. Her sneaker is found near a reservoir but there is no sign of Kim.
The small community setting serves as a background to this mystery and another - an unsolved hit and run 6 yrs earlier, Harper develops a tight plot with multiple characters each with a distinct voice and personality. She expertly wove the 2 mysteries together, which kept me guessing - but the resolution (which came out of the subtle clues) made perfect sense and afforded me a satisfying conclusion.
Thanks to Bookbrowse for an ARC- I really enjoyed reading about Aaron Falk and Greg Raco again (both characters from The Dry), and reading of their excellent work.
Alan K. (Westport, MA)

Excellent read
This is the third book in the of Aaron Falk series by Jane Harper. It is a stand alone so reading the first two is not necessary (but you should as they are wonderful also). Both the characters and setting are well-developed. The setting is Australia's wine country. This is a very good character-driven mystery and well worth your time.
Charlene D. (Saugus, MA)

The Exiles
Jane Harper is one of my favorite authors and this book did not disappoint. Like her other novels, the setting took place in Australia - this time in wine country. Aaron Falk was back visiting friends and became embroiled in the mysterious disappearance of a young mother who was part of this group of friends growing up. There was an undercurrent of tension that escalated as the story progressed. She wove the events going back to the past and then returning to present day and the story was told from the point of view of the friends and family of the missing woman. This wasn't just a mystery but also a story of friendship and how well you know your friends. Interwoven with the events was a side story about career and how important a role it plays in people's lives when Aaron Falk finds himself in a position where he must decide whether the career that he loves is holding him back from living his life to the fullest. I read this book in two days. It was beautifully plotted and written. There were so many layers to this story that I think it would make a great book club selection. I can't wait for her next book.
Bill B. (Lake Oswego, OR)

Start here
This is Jane Harper's third book featuring Aaron Falk and -Good News - you don't need to read the first two to enjoy The Exiles. In fact, with all the things happening in Aaron's life this would be an excellent place to start.
I enjoyed the book. Harper has made the wine region north of Adelaide sound great. I'd like to live there and have her characters as my neighbors.
All the clues to the old hit and run and to Kim's disappearance last year are there. This is a good example of a really good crime novel that doesn't have a lot of violence.
Just one question. How did Jane and her editors come up with that title? I didn't see any Exiles.

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