Monday, 16 October 2017

The Dry

The Dry by Jane Harper
Published by Abacus
June 2017


I just can't understand how someone like him could do something like that.
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.

Karen and Billy Hadler have been found dead in their farmhouse, shot at point blank range it would seem by Luke Hadler, husband and father of the two victims.  Luke then drove his ute to a country lane and turned the gun on himself.  Kiewarra is a small town in Australia where everyone knows everyone and everyone knows each other's business.  This is a murder that is going to be talked about across town by every resident.  Aaron Falk was Luke's best friend when they were at school together, and at the request of Luke's father, he returns to Kiewarra for the funerals of Karen and Billy.  Aaron is not an altogether welcome visitor to his home town however, for some twenty years earlier, he and his father were driven out by the locals for the murder of Ellie Deacon, school friend of both Aaron and Luke whose body was found washed up in the lake that runs through Kiewarra.
Aaron is now a policeman and at the request of Luke's parents, begins to dig into the financial background of the Hadler family, desperate to find something to explain Luke's actions.  Alongside new resident Sergeant Raco they begin to investigate more thoroughly the murders and to probe more closely into the lives of the residents of Kiewarra.
The question is, will Falk and Raco discover who really did commit this crime, or will the ghosts of the past that haunt Aaron over the Deacon killing get the better of him before he has to leave?  After all, neither him nor Luke had a solid alibi on that day in question twenty years ago, and there are some in Kiewarra who know exactly why that is and aren't prepared to keep quiet any longer.
I really enjoyed The Dry especially as it helped to get me out of a reading slump.  The atmosphere of the drought, the need for rain and the fear that goes alongside this is ever present throughout the book.  There are some nasty characters here and you can feel the tension building as old scores are finally settled as the pages turn.  Did Luke Hadler kill his family though - only reading to the very end will answer that question but Jane Harper knows how to keep her readers enthralled right to the very end.  I'm looking forward to her next novel.

Happy Reading

Miss Chapters x

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