A small town hides big secrets in The Dry, an atmospheric, page-turning debut mystery by award-winning author Jane Harper.
After getting a note demanding his presence, Federal Agent Aaron Falk arrives in his hometown for the first time in decades to attend the funeral of his best friend, Luke. Twenty years ago when Falk was accused of murder, Luke was his alibi. Falk and his father fled under a cloud of suspicion, saved from prosecution only because of Luke's steadfast claim that the boys had been together at the time of the crime. But now more than one person knows they didn't tell the truth back then, and Luke is dead.
Amid the worst drought in a century, Falk and the local detective question what really happened to Luke. As Falk reluctantly investigates to see if there's more to Luke's death than there seems to be, long-buried mysteries resurface, as do the lies that have haunted them. And Falk will find that small towns have always hidden big secrets.
Even those who didn't darken the door of the church from one Christmas to the next could tell there would be more mourners than seats. A bottleneck of black and gray was already forming at the entrance as Aaron Falk drove up, trailing a cloud of dust and cracked leaves.
Neighbors, determined but trying not to appear so, jostled each other for the advantage as the scrum trickled through the doors. Across the road the media circled.
Falk parked his sedan next to a pickup truck that had also seen better days and killed the engine. The air conditioner rattled into silence, and the interior began to warm immediately. He allowed himself a moment to scan the crowd, although he didn't really have time. He'd dragged his heels the whole way from Melbourne, blowing out the five-hour drive to more than six. Satisfied no one looked familiar, he stepped out of the car.
The late-afternoon heat draped itself around him like a blanket. He snatched opened the backseat door to get his ...
The Dry is a well-crafted debut and Jane Harper, while delivering the necessary twists and turns that make a good crime novel, also captures the tension created by the climatic and economic conditions of the area.
(Reviewed by Claire McAlpine).
Full Review (683 words).
The Big Dry was a nine-year drought experienced in Southeastern Australia from 2003 to 2012. The region suffered the most severe dry period in recorded history and assumptions made by early pioneering colonists that there would always be wet periods in these lands began to be questioned. The alternative, that there might be long, significant periods of hot, dry weather was taken more seriously, and the consequences studied for how the population, the ecosystem and the agricultural industry could sustainably survive under such conditions.
The drought caused serious water shortages in many rural and metropolitan areas, significant agricultural losses, deaths of animals and the loss of a way of life for many farmers. It also ...
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