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The Survivors

A Novel

by Jane Harper

The Survivors by Jane Harper X
The Survivors by Jane Harper
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  • Published Feb 2021
    384 pages
    Genre: Mysteries

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Cloggie Downunder

brilliantly-plotted piece of Australian crime fiction
The Survivors is the fourth novel by award-winning Australian author, Jane Harper. When Keiran Elliott returns to his small Tasmanian hometown of Evelyn Bay to help his parents pack up their house, not everyone is pleased to see him. While everybody knows what happened during the big storm, twelve years earlier, not all regard him with sympathy; blame radiates from certain eyes.

Mere hours after he and Mia and their baby arrive, though, a young woman is dead on the beach. The town is shocked at the loss of this sweet young woman: a temporary summer waitress and art student, she was well-liked. It soon becomes apparent that there are some parallels with the disappearance of a young girl during that fateful storm, with some of the same bystanders present in the town. The Evelyn Bay Online Community Hub is a hotbed of rumour and comment.

Over the next few days, as police from Hobart arrive to investigate, Keiran is not the only one whose thoughts go back to that awful time when his own brother and his best friend’s brother lost their lives. As well as the stress of his wandering, dementia-affected father and his frazzled mother, Keiran is being coerced by a friend into something he’s not quite comfortable with.

Harper easily evokes her setting: for anyone who has spent a summer in an Australian coastal town, this will feel familiar. The dialogue is exactly what one hears in such a place, and the characters are multi-faceted and believably flawed. Once again, Harper produces a brilliantly-plotted piece of Australian crime fiction, with red herrings and diversions that will keep the pages turning and the reader guessing right up to the final pages.
This unbiased review is from an uncorrected proof copy provided by NetGalley and Macmillan Australia

The story wasn’t earth shattering in content but, nonetheless, I was mesmerized by it. The formula of a good author I guess. The momentum of the plot starts early on and keeps building to an unbelievable ending. I really didn’t see it coming. The author is clever, intelligent and one of the best in the genre. I highly recommend it.

Another winner from Jane Harper
I discovered Jane Harper with The Lost Man a few years ago and loved that book. I also read The Dry which didn’t excite me as much, but this new novel The Survivors has drawn me back in. I’m sure I will read more of her books in the future. I especially enjoyed that the setting was not the Australian desert, but a coastal Tasmanian town, which gave the book quite a different feeling. What did not change was Harper’s skill in writing a compelling page-turning mystery and her ability to create a sense of place. Highly recommend this for anyone looking for a good mystery. Thanks to Flatiron Books and Bookbrowse for providing the ARC.

Well paced mystery
In The Survivors, Jane Harper has written a character who is a successful and popular writer. It is said of him that his books are the type you buy in the airport, are engrossed in during the flight and on the beach, but do not pack in your suitcase to bring home with you. I think that is a fair description of this book - it is a tightly written, well plotted mystery in a romantic and mysterious beach setting, and it is quite a page turner. The characters are appealing but not that well developed, and there are a few too many. But it is a marvelous bit of entertainment, a great escape. Harper has figured out how to write this type of novel, which, as she herself says, is perfect for a trip or vacation read or when you want to leave the world behind.

The Survivors
I really enjoyed this book! This is the first book of Jane Harper’s that I’ve read and I found her to be a great storyteller! The story captured my attention right at the start and held it...even with a somewhat slow build-up. I’m looking forward to reading some of her other books!!

Another great mystery from Jane Harper
Jane Harper continues to write winners. The Survivors is her fourth book and although it is hard to pick a favorite, this might be the best one yet.

The setting for this book is a small coastal town in Tasmania. Kieran Elliott returns home to help his parents move. He brings along his girlfriend Mia and baby daughter Audrey. We learn that twelve years prior a terrible storm happened and several people died, including Kieran's brother Finn and his partner. Kieran blames himself for these deaths because of a stupid error on his part.

Shortly after Kieran's return a girl is found murdered on the beach. As the murder is investigated, old secrets and resentments surface.

Harper masterfully reveals the past and present connections between characters in the book. She is also good at creating a small town atmosphere. The red herrings were great and I was kept guessing up to the end.

I highly recommend the book and I can't wait until her next one!

Are a Missing-Persons Case From Twelve Years ago and a Murder Today Related?
It’s not for nothing that Jane Harper is one of my favorite authors. I can pick up anything she’s written and know I’m going to love it. This has been proven true once again by her book THE SURVIVORS.

As with all of Harper’s books, this one is both character- and plot-driven. And there’s so much going on in the small-town community of Evelyn Bay in Tasmania.

The main character is Kieran, who has come back to Evelyn Bay with his girlfriend and their baby to help his parents pack to move. The very evening they arrive a murder occurs, and he and his old friends, who all still live there, become involved as either suspects or friends of suspects. Either way, all seem to be hiding secrets.

Could this have something to do with the possible murder in a missing-persons case that happened 12 years before? Gabby, the missing person, was Kieran‘s girlfriend's best friend and the younger sister of one of his old friends. (Can we call her an old girlfriend?)

(How convenient for the story that so many of Kieran‘s old friends still live in Evelyn Bay.)

Another theme running throughout THE SURVIVORS is the guilt Kieran has been carrying around since that day 12 years ago, when a big storm hit Evelyn Bay. It seems that Kieran‘s older brother went searching for him on his boat and drowned.

You should also note the repeated mentions of all the caves and the dangerous high tides. These play big roles.

The end was a surprise to me, but it makes perfect sense. I shouldn’t have been surprised.

more about characters
I found this book a bit hard to get into at first as there were so many characters introduced. But saying that I must say there was not enough info fleshed out about those characters. Red Herrings? I actually had to write notes on the characters to keep then straight. I have never read a book set in Tasmania, so it did get my attention, nor have I been to a beach where there were caves to explore! But I felt like it was a dark, cold setting, which matched the mood of the story. It was not a happy tale but it matched the mystery. The ending was a surprise but I think there were so many possibilities that Jane Harper wanted to keep us guessing.
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