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Review: The Lost Man by Jane Harper

Title: The Lost Man
Author: Jane Harper
Year Published: 2018

Genre: Adult fiction
Pages: 337
Rating: 4 out of 5

Location (my 2019 Google Reading map)Australia

FTC Disclosure: I bought this book with my own money

Summary (from the inside flap of the book): Brothers Nathan and Bub Bright meet for the first time in months at the remote fence line separating their cattle ranches in the lonely outback. Their third brother, Cameron, lies dead at their feet.

In an isolated belt of Queensland, Australia, their homes a three-hour drive apart, the brothers were one another's nearest neighbors. Cameron was the middle child, the one who ran the family homestead. But something made him head out alone under the unrelenting sun.

Nathan, Bub, and Nathan's son return to Cameron's ranch and to those left behind by his passing: his wife, his daughters, and his mother, as well as their long-time employee and two recently hired seasonal workers. While they grieve Cameron's loss, suspicion starts to take hold, and Nathan is forced to examine secrets the family would rather leave in the past. Because if someone forced Cameron to his death, the isolation of the outback leaves few suspects.

Review: This is one of those books that started out slowly, like the first half or so of the book, then pulls you in for the second half. It was so drawn out that I almost gave up, but figured I could skim the second half. I read every word.

The first half of the book is really to get to know the characters and it's a bit of a slow process, which feels like it fits the lives they are leading. They are so isolated that they mostly deal with family and a small town that is hours away. Life is harsh and the people have tough exteriors, making them isolated from one another and from the community as a whole. Mid-way through I really felt as if I knew the people and the surrounding outback.

The second half of the book begins to open up the mystery of Cameron's death. How could it possibly have happened? Nathan is our narrator so we see information revealed to him as he begins to confide in the other characters and try to figure out his own life. I can't say too much because it is a mystery, after all, but I enjoyed the way Nathan figured out what had been going on at his neighboring ranch. It was not what I expected.

Challenges for which this counts: 

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