Amid the worst drought to ravage Australia in a century, it hasn't rained in small country town Kiewarra for two years. Tensions in the community become unbearable when three members of the Hadler family are brutally murdered. Everyone thinks Luke Hadler, who committed suicide after slaughtering his wife and six-year-old son, is guilty.
Policeman Aaron Falk returns to the town of his youth for the funeral of his childhood best friend, and is unwillingly drawn into the investigation. As questions mount and suspicion spreads through the town, Falk is forced to confront the community that rejected him twenty years earlier. Because Falk and Luke Hadler shared a secret, one which Luke's death threatens to unearth. And as Falk probes deeper into the killings, secrets from his past and why he left home bubble to the surface as he questions the truth of his friend's crime.
"Luke lied. You lied."
Holy smokes! Where to begin?
I know 2017 has only just begun, but The Dry has already set the bar very high for any new releases I read next. Actually, it might be one of the best debut thrillers I've ever read.
From the first page, I was instantly hooked. So much so, that I very nearly would've finished it all in one sitting had I not needed to go to sleep!
The Dry is more than your good old fashioned whodunnit. The unique setting of the drought ridden Kiewarra and its antsy citizens created a tense and uneasy atmosphere so palpable that at times I felt as though I was actually there. You could feel the overbearing glare of the town's residents judging Faulk. Believing that he played a part in the death of Ellie Deacon years ago.
With twists and turns aplenty, I had trouble pinning down who I thought was the real culprit. In fact, I was mostly dead certain that Luke must've had some involvement until the novel begun to turn my attention elsewhere and then I'm thinking that Deacon definitely did it... but then I was wary of Gretchen! Let's just say, the person who did kill the Hadler family was the last person I thought it would be.
I particularly loved the flashbacks that Harper included. The scenes detailing Billy and Karen's fate were so gruesome, yet terrifically written. My heart absolutely bled for Ellie Deacon. When we do find out what happened to Luke and Faulk's childhood friend, it was just so heartbreaking.
Savage, suspenseful and at times quite sad, it's unsurprising that the film rights to The Dry have already been sold and to Reese Witherspoon's production company, Pacific Standard, no less! Pacific Standard's recent hits include the 2014 adaptation of Gillian Flynn's Gone Girl. Therefore, it's safe to say that The Dry is in safe hands and that's one movie adaptation I'm greatly looking forward to.
Harper's writing is so captivating and will have you on the edge of your seat. I couldn't believe that this was her debut novel and I had to check the press release again to ensure that I hadn't gotten my facts confused. She really has hit it out of the park!
With vivid characters and a sizzling setting, The Dry makes Harper one of the most exciting authors to watch out for.
A clever and evocative novel, was I ever going to give it less than five stars?
Find out what my fellow bloggers on today's leg of the tour thought about The Dry by giving them a visit!