‘The Dry’ is Jane Harper’s debut novel and is the first in a series featuring detective Aaron Falk.
When Aaron returns to Kiewarra for the funeral of his childhood best friend Luke Hadler, it is the first time he has been back in 20 years. When Aaron was a teenager, his close friend Ellie Deacon drowned. The death was declared a suicide but many in the small town, led by Ellie’s father and cousin, blamed Aaron for the death. Aaron and his father were forced out of town.
Luke’s death also looks like suicide – he killed his wife and son before turning the gun on himself. And most of the town still wants Aaron gone.
But Luke’s parents are mystified. All the farms in Kiewarra are struggling in the drought, but they didn’t think that Luke was that desperate. Aaron works for the Federal Police specialising in financial crimes. Luke’s parents ask Aaron to help by looking into the farm’s finances.
Soon Aaron, along with the local policeman Raco start to have doubts about the Hadler deaths. Things don’t quite add up. But who could have wiped out the Hadler family and why?
While they investigate, Aaron continues to be harassed by the locals.
The story is interlaced with Ellie’s story from 20 years ago.
But by the end we know what happened in both cases.
This was a stunning debut novel. It was incredibly atmospheric so that you could feel the desperation and small-mindedness of the small town.
I found one of the murderers to be a complete surprise.
The characters were so well described that I felt that I knew them and Aaron is a character that I would like to get to know better.
I loved this novel and I can’t wait to read the next novel in the series – ‘Force of Nature’.