The Dry

This was a very quick read. In fact, it took me two days only, reading into the early hours of the morning. I could not put it down. It was engrossing and a compelling whodunit crime mystery / thriller and it drew me in right from the very first chapter. Was is a literary masterpiece? No. Did it create a lot of discussion at Book Club? Not really as there  is no real depth and substance to the novel apart from it being a great mystery/ whodunit but it was enjoyed by everyone as it was a bit of light relief! Is it unforgettable? Probably not!saying 2

The DryThe Dry is a story of 2 mysteries. The first set in the present where we meet Aaron Falk returning to his hometown to attend his friend Luke’s funeral—his friend who apparently has committed suicide after murdering his wife and their young son, Billy, but leaving his young daughter alive. The second mystery is set in the past and deals with the killing of Luke and Aaron’s friend Elle, 17 years before, or was her death suicide too?

You sense Falk’s longing to leave his home town after the funeral and get back to his city life and leave behind this village that has haunting memories for him. He is not well received back home and from the outset you know that he is an outcast who has run away from a deep dark past secret. But Luke’s curiosity and suspicions of the brutal murder of his friend’s family and Luke’s own suicide does not lie true with him. He is unable to leave and feels compelled to stay and investigate the mystery that enshrouds the drought stricken village of Kiewarra. What is this 20 year secret that  Aaron is hiding?

‘You lied. Luke lied.’

Luke knows that by trying to resolve the current mystery alongside the only person willing to listen to him, Detective Raco, he is going to resurrect unpleasant memories of his past, re-opening revelations that threaten to tear apart this small little town, once again. Tensions and emotions are high and the heat even higher!

Most of her main characters, Aaron Falk in particular, are well-developed despite their clichéd dialogue, and her description of the barren landscape, the dry river bed and the heat in particular, bring the book to life and tie up well with the end!

The last third of the novel was a bit of a letdown as is begins to slow down and becomes a little dry – pardon the pun! Personally I was expecting a hugely exciting denouement but it was a bit of a disppointment and resolved very quickly, as if Ms Harper was unsure how to bring the novel to a satisfactory conclusion. It was rather anti-climatic!  I have to admit that I guessed the culprit a few chapters before the end but we were not unanimously in agreement with the demise of Elle! Could soemthing else have happend to her?? I can’t say too much or it will spoil the story for you!

We didn’t love it – it didn’t change our lives – but this was a fun read and gave us more  time in Book club to eat drink and talk about other issues!!

I am being very generous by giving the book four-star-review but I’m not sure that everyone feels the same! Please leave a comments with your thoughts on this novel. Thank you!

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One thought on “The Dry

  1. The Dry

    This book is unlikely to win any awards (except nonsense ones like something Richard and Judy would give out) but I was still pleasantly surprised. The writing is fine but it’s mostly just there to give us the story. The real highlight of the novel is the setting.
    I don’t think I have read a book set in Australia until now (my mother still wants me to read The Thorn Birds and my resistance is waning) and I think this fact massively helped The Dry gain favour with me. The hellish landscape of the arid desert “bush” felt like a main character and not just an environment. I could feel just how oppressive the atmosphere was in such a place – not enough water seemed like a genuine problem, as did a huge revelation about the environment that I won’t spoil here. It felt like at any moment, the characters in the story could become casualties. And dangerous environments create dangerous people.
    The cast of The Dry are well-written for the most part. One particular family are obscene and therefore, excellent villains. For most of the novel, I struggled to decide if they were obvious antagonists or just red herrings. I did have an issue with one particular character, however. There are some surprising revelations about said character and I felt that they weren’t believable enough. Creating a believable character can be difficult sometimes but when they use a handgun to clear a cobweb (obviously this is not literal! haha), they become rather unrealistic. The sheer extent of this character’s actions felt like the actions of a fictional character, which is a shame as for the most part, the “who-dunnit” storyline is intriguing and kept me guessing. The final showdown is especially well-executed as it threatens danger on a massive scale and a primal part of me hoped I would see a negative outcome! I won’t say, of course, how the book ended but I will simply say that it satisfied me. An enjoyable read, but not one I will rave about to anyone.

    3 out of 5.

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