After adoring her previous bestsellers The Dry and Force of Nature, I am delighted to be back reviewing Jane Harper’s latest release The Lost Man. A huge thank you to Caolinn Douglas, Grace Vincent and all the rest of Little, Brown UK for inviting me to be a part of the blog tour to celebrate the release of this excellent thriller.
Two brothers meet at the remote border of their vast cattle properties under the unrelenting sun of the outback. In an isolated part of Australia, they are each other’s nearest neighbours, their homes hours apart.
They are at the stockman’s grave, a landmark so old, no one can remember who is buried there. But today, the scant shadow it casts was the last hope for their middle brother, Cameron. The Bright family’s quiet existence is thrown into grief and anguish.
Something had been troubling Cameron. Did he lose hope and walk to his death? Because if he didn’t, the isolation of the outback leaves few suspects…
HE HAD STARTED TO REMOVE HIS CLOTHES AS LOGIC HAD DESERTED HIM, AND HIS SKIN WAS CRACKED. WHATEVER HAD BEEN GOING THROUGH CAMERON’S MIND WHEN HE WAS ALIVE, HE DIDN’T LOOK PEACEFUL IN DEATH.
Move over, Gillian Flynn! The Lost Man truly cements Jane Harper as the Queen of Crime Fiction.
There’s something so uniquely compelling and addictive about the way in which Harper crafts a story. Much like with her other two novels, I devoured The Lost Man in one, straight sitting and as usual, I was in the dark about the culprit throughout – led astray by many of Harper’s creative red herrings that keep you second guessing.
The Lost Man is equally as evocative as The Dry and Force of Nature, immersing you once more in this isolated Australian atmosphere. The tension between the characters as they scrabble to unravel just what happened to Cameron is palpable on every page as is the scorching heat of Harper’s outback setting.
It was refreshing to have a departure from the Aaron Falk plot-line of Harper’s previous books and overall, it was interesting to see how Harper navigated a thriller without a main detective protagonist. The lack of a police procedural or detective drama format made The Lost Man all the more intriguing and all the more real. Harper’s thrillers are always more character driven rather than relying on gross shocks, but The Lost Man truly zones in on a complicated family dynamic which makes the quest for answers about Cameron’s death all the more natural and realistic as the characters are forced to recall troubled and abusive childhood events. What I like is that no-one really is the good guy in Harper’s stories. Every single character is flawed and that’s what makes the story all the more engrossing. Nobody’s perfect, so every single person is a capable suspect.
There’s a lot of heart at the core of The Lost Man, more than I expected. It’s not your run-of-the-mill murder mystery as Harper’s focus on characters and their relationships truly makes it stand out. Sure, you’re not getting a shocker of a book with unexpected twists that leave you with your jaw on the floor, but Harper gives you an experience far more engaging that.
The Lost Man is a story about families. The characters are troubled, lonely, seeking second chances and forgiveness. They’re not twisted serial killers out for blood, they’re real people struggling with deep rooted loyalties and personal conflicts. They’re human. And that’s what makes Harper’s writing so incredibly gripping. While we may be in unfamiliar territory, effortlessly transported all the way to the Australian outback, the emotions and inner struggles are very familiar.
I feel incredibly honoured to have been allowed to be one of the first to get my hands on this thrilling tale way ahead of time and I’m beyond excited that it has hit shelves so all of you can enjoy this one too! We’re only two months into 2019 and I think I’ve already found the best book of the year! Harper never disappoints.
I’m going to need another Jane Harper masterpiece ASAP.