Book Review – The Dry

The Dry
By Jane Harper
Rating: ****

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.


I’ve never really been into thrillers or crime novels that much, I get bored, find a lot of them predictable and the writing is normally poor. It’s what I would call a “mum” novel as my mum loves this kind of genre. The Dry was totally different for me, a real page turner from start to finish and I really couldn’t guess what had actually happened to The Hadler family.

The Hadler mother and son are found brutally murdered in their own home and the father, Luke is found a few miles away dead in the back of his truck; he shot himself in the face…or did he? Was it him that killed his entire family or had he been set up. That’s what his friend from the past Federal Agent Aaron Falk is trying to find out. What I loved about this book that I haven’t found in other thrillers is that it’s very character driven, Harper really goes into depth about the characters and also the description of the town and landscape, as I was reading this I had such a visual idea of what everyone looked like, even smells and tastes, Harper created a world and I felt like I was stood there in the drought among the “brown grass and dead cows.” Her writing of this thriller was incredible and unlike any thriller I have read before.

I adored how the plot was slowly unravelling, Harper flicks from the present day mystery of the Hadler family and also the mystery of Aaron and Luke’s friend Ellie, who died when they were kids, who killed her? Can Aaron find out what happened to her after all this time? Is it connected to the present day Hadler case? I loved that there were two plots to follow yet they intertwined beautifully.

It’s hard to believe this is Jane Harper’s debut novel, everything about it was fantastic, the plot was compelling, thrilling and exciting, the characters well developed and the descriptive way of writing really made me feel like I was out in the Australian outback looking for the answers to all the mysteries myself. For someone who isn’t a fan of crime thriller novels, I must say I highly recommend this one, a fantastic suspense page turner, such a great read.

Have you read The Dry? What did you think of it? I would love to know your thoughts. Thanks for reading. Katie x

This is another book that I have read from the British Book Awards Reading Challenge I have set myself. Click here to read all about it. I only have two books left to read from my challenge list Phillip Pullman’s Book of Dust and Reservoir 13 by Jon McGregor. 

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