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Review: The Dry by Jane Harper

Title: The Dry

AuthorJane Harper

Year Published: 2017

Category: Adult fiction (mystery)
Pages: 352
Rating: 4 out of 5

Location (my 2021 Google Reading map) Australia

Summary (from Amazon): 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.

Review: One of my goals for this month's reading is to read books that have been on my TBR shelves for far too long and this is one of those books. In fact, I have all 3 of the Aaron Falk books on my shelves and now that I've finally read The Dry, I am looking forward to the other two.

I like a good mystery (there are actually two mysteries in this novel) and thought I had this one all figured out. Not! I like that. There is a good cast of characters in this novel, all of whom are possibilities for the crimes. Life in a small town seems to go that way because everyone knows everyone far too much and things blow up at the smallest provocation as the population's history catches up on itself. 

Falk is a good main character. He is sensible, yet sentimental; lonely, yet a loner; and smart, yet blind to friends and family. He is a character I could empathize with and support. I could also relate to the "dry." We are currently in the middle of a horrible drought, with the fear of fire always present so the setting of the novel felt familiar in that sense.

A good setting, a small town full of secrets, and interesting characters make this mystery a success for me.

Challenges for which this counts:
  • Cloak and Dagger

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