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The Dry
Cover of The Dry
The Dry

"I love Jane Harper's Australia-based mysteries." —Stephen King
NOW A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE FROM IFC FILMS STARRING ERIC BANA
INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
"A breathless page-turner, driven by the many revelations Ms. Harper dreams up...You'll love [her] sleight of hand...A secret on every page." —The New York Times

"One of the most stunning debuts I've ever read... Every word is near perfect.
" —David Baldacci

A small town hides big secrets in The Dry, an atmospheric, page-turning debut mystery by award-winning author Jane Harper.

After getting a note demanding his presence, Federal Agent Aaron Falk arrives in his hometown for the first time in decades to attend the funeral of his best friend, Luke. Twenty years ago when Falk was accused of murder, Luke was his alibi. Falk and his father fled under a cloud of suspicion, saved from prosecution only because of Luke's steadfast claim that the boys had been together at the time of the crime. But now more than one person knows they didn't tell the truth back then, and Luke is dead.
Amid the worst drought in a century, Falk and the local detective question what really happened to Luke. As Falk reluctantly investigates to see if there's more to Luke's death than there seems to be, long-buried mysteries resurface, as do the lies that have haunted them. And Falk will find that small towns have always hidden big secrets.

"I love Jane Harper's Australia-based mysteries." —Stephen King
NOW A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE FROM IFC FILMS STARRING ERIC BANA
INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
"A breathless page-turner, driven by the many revelations Ms. Harper dreams up...You'll love [her] sleight of hand...A secret on every page." —The New York Times

"One of the most stunning debuts I've ever read... Every word is near perfect.
" —David Baldacci

A small town hides big secrets in The Dry, an atmospheric, page-turning debut mystery by award-winning author Jane Harper.

After getting a note demanding his presence, Federal Agent Aaron Falk arrives in his hometown for the first time in decades to attend the funeral of his best friend, Luke. Twenty years ago when Falk was accused of murder, Luke was his alibi. Falk and his father fled under a cloud of suspicion, saved from prosecution only because of Luke's steadfast claim that the boys had been together at the time of the crime. But now more than one person knows they didn't tell the truth back then, and Luke is dead.
Amid the worst drought in a century, Falk and the local detective question what really happened to Luke. As Falk reluctantly investigates to see if there's more to Luke's death than there seems to be, long-buried mysteries resurface, as do the lies that have haunted them. And Falk will find that small towns have always hidden big secrets.

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Awards-
About the Author-
  • Jane Harper is the New York Times bestselling author of The Dry, Force of Nature, and The Lost Man. Jane previously worked as a print journalist in Australia and the UK and lives in Melbourne with her husband, daughter, and son.
Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from July 11, 2016
    At the start of Australian author Harper’s devastating debut, Melbourne-based federal agent Aaron Falk returns to his drought-stricken hometown, Kiewarra, for three funerals—those of popular school aid Karen Hadler; her six-year-old son, Billy; and her husband, Luke, Aaron’s childhood best friend. Luke apparently murdered Karen and Billy before turning the shotgun on himself. Falk knows better than anyone that his charismatic mate may have had a darker side—two decades earlier as teens they gave each other bogus alibis for the afternoon of high school crush Ellie Deacon’s suspicious death by drowning. When Luke’s brokenhearted parents beg Falk to investigate, he can’t refuse. But as Falk begins digging with the help of recently arrived Sgt. Greg Raco, including looking into a possible connection to the earlier tragedy, he swiftly discovers that a badge may not protect him from a town driven to the brink. From the ominous opening paragraphs, all the more chilling for their matter-of-factness, Harper, a journalist who writes for Melbourne’s Herald Sun, spins a suspenseful tale of sound and fury as riveting as it is horrific. Agent: Daniel Lazar, Writers House.

  • Kirkus

    October 15, 2016
    A mystery that starts with a sad homecoming quickly turns into a nail-biting thriller about family, friends, and forensic accounting.Federal agent Aaron Falk is called back to his rural Australian hometown for the funeral of his best friend, Luke, who apparently committed suicide after killing his wife and 6-year-old son; he's also called to reckon with his own past. Falk and his father were run out of town when he was accused of killing his girlfriend. Luke gave him an alibi, but more than one person in town knows he was lying. When Luke's parents ask Falk to find the truth, long-buried secrets begin to surface. Debut author Harper plots this novel with laser precision, keeping suspects in play while dropping in flashbacks that offer readers a full understanding of what really happened. The setting adds layers of meaning. Kiewarra is suffering an epic drought, and Luke's suicide could easily be explained by the failure of his farm. The risk of wildfire, especially in a broken community rife with poverty and alcoholism, keeps nerves strung taut. Falk's focus as an investigator is on following the money; nobody in town really understands his job, but his phone number turns up on a scrap of paper belonging to Luke's late wife, a woman he'd never met. The question throughout is whether Luke's death is something a CSI of spreadsheets can unravel or if it's a matter of bad blood from times past finally having reached the boiling point. Falk struggles to separate the two and let his own old grudges go. A fellow investigator chastises him: "You're staring so hard at the past that it's blinding you." A chilling story set under a blistering sun, this fine debut will keep readers on edge and awake long past bedtime.

    COPYRIGHT(2016) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Booklist

    Starred review from November 1, 2016
    Australian author Harper's debut is a stunner. Sold in a bidding war (the film rights were bought soon thereafter), it's a small-town, big-secrets page-turner with a shocker of an ending evocative of Nancy Pickard's The Virgin of Small Plains (2006). Harper tells the heart-wrenching tale of a man named Aaron Falk, who returns to his hometown to attend the funeral of a friend who is believed to have shot his wife and son and then killed himself. The town is in perilous decline, undergoing the worst drought in a century. The idyllic river of Falk's youth has dried up, and all that remains is a monstrous wound. Now a federal agent, Falk begins to question the details of the crime and, together with the town's police sergeant, Raco, undertakes a painful investigation. Twenty years earlier, Falk and his father fled under a cloud of suspicion surrounding a young woman's death. This still-unsolved case simmers in the boiling air, and the townsfolk are resentful of Falk's presence. Falk and Raco manage to unravel secrets new and old in the course of uncovering the sad truths behind both crimes. Recommend this one to fans of James Lee Burke and Robert Crais, who mix elements of bromance into their hard-boiled tales. But the book's appeal extends further: the Australian setting will attract both followers of Peter Corris' long-running Cliff Hardy series, as well as Golden Age fans who remember Arthur Upfield's novels, especially Gripped by Drought, published in 1932.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2016, American Library Association.)

  • Library Journal

    April 1, 2016

    In his youth, Aaron Falk was accused of murder and with his father forced from their hometown; he was saved from prosecution only by the testimony of best friend Luke that they were together at the time of the murder. Now, Aaron, a federal investigator in Melbourne, learns that Luke has been found dead after committing a heinous crime, and a note in the mail further informs him, "Luke lied. You lied. Be at the funeral." This work has strong credentials, having won the 2015 Victorian Premier Literary Award for an unpublished manuscript and been sold to 19 countries; Reese Witherspoon's production company grabbed the film rights.

    Copyright 2016 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Library Journal

    November 15, 2016

    When Luke Hader and his family are found shot to death at their farm near the small town of Kiewarra, the locals presume it to be a murder-suicide, the desperate act of a man pushed to the brink by financial woes caused by the area's two-year drought. Luke's father is not convinced, though, and asks Aaron Falk, once Luke's best friend and now a police officer in Melbourne, to investigate. But as Aaron probes the case, he faces hostility from the townspeople who remember that 20 years ago he had been a teenage suspect in the drowning death of a young girl; what saved him from being charged were the alibis Luke and Aaron had given each other--alibis that some residents know were lies. Winner of the 2015 Victorian Premier Literary Award for an unpublished manuscript, this first novel by a former journalist was an Australian best seller, but despite the critical acclaim it has received, this work fails on many fronts as a mystery: slow, tedious pacing; poor character development; lack of suspense or surprise (readers can spot the culprit and plot twist a mile away). VERDICT Because of the advance hype, crime fiction fans will want this, but steer disappointed readers to Peter Temple's superior The Broken Shore, which offers a more authentic portrait of small-town Australia. [See Prepub Alert, 7/25/16; library marketing.]--Wilda Williams, Library Journal

    Copyright 2016 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Library Journal

    September 1, 2016

    Featuring a federal investigator from Melbourne facing his past, this book was scheduled for September but was pushed back to take advantage of strong advance notice. Sold to 19 countries and to Reese Witherspoon's production company.

    Copyright 2016 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Books+Publishing In the tiny town of Kiewarra, a mother and son are found murdered. The likely culprit is the father, also found shot dead in the back of his truck. It is with this grim setting that we are drawn into Jane Harper’s world, which, though thoroughly steeped in the lore of crime fiction, does its best to subvert expectations at every turn. Harper won the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for her unpublished manuscript of The Dry, and it’s not difficult to see why. The first 100 pages in particular are exquisitely written, as Harper instils in readers a sense of horror at this drought-stricken, bloodstained town. Her prose takes a backseat once the police procedural kicks in, but remains satisfyingly taut throughout. There are a few minor first-novel hitches. Harper’s careful drip-feed of information is undermined by her tendency to slip into omniscient, italicised flashbacks that reveal the thought processes of any given character. But it’s a small quibble with such a fine piece of writing, which will almost certainly break through to a commercial audience. Myles McGuire is a Brisbane-based writer and bookseller at Riverbend Books
  • The New York Times, Janet Maslin

    "Ms. Harper is not one to drop a fact...without using it later. She has jampacked her swift debut thriller with sneaky moves that the reader has to track with care... It's hard to believe this is her first novel... The Dry is a breathless page-turner, driven by the many revelations Ms. Harper dreams up...."

  • David Baldacci, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Guilty "One of the most stunning debuts I've ever read. I could feel the searing heat of the Australia setting. Every word is near perfect. The story builds like a wave seeking the purchase of earth before it crashes down and wipes out everything you might have thought about this enthralling tale. Read it!"
  • Booklist, starred review "A stunner...It's a small-town, big-secrets page-turner with a shocker of an ending...Recommend this one to fans of James Lee Burke and Robert Crais, who mix elements of "bromance" into their hard-boiled tales."
  • Publishers Weekly, starred review "Devastating debut...a suspenseful tale of sound and fury as riveting as it is horrific."
  • Kirkus, starred review "A nail-biting thriller...A chilling story set under a blistering sun, this fine debut will keep readers on edge and awake long past bedtime."
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