After Jane Harper’s debut novel The Dry disappeared from my NetGalley shelf, I had a brief moment of panic that I wouldn’t be able to read it in the near future (I have too much to read before I go buying new books). Fortunately, a few days later it was briefly unarchived and I was able to download my ARC. Last night, I finally finished it. I’m honestly a small bit disappointed in its conclusion, but other than that it’s a fairly good read.
Set in Kiewarra, Australia, The Dry follows Federal Agent Aaron Falk and the ghosts that haunt him after the murder of his best friend brings him back home. What follows is a non-linear story that flashes back and forth between Falk’s childhood days and present days in a desperate attempt to link together two unrelated crimes.
Per usual, I wasn’t able to feel anything for any of the characters and as a result, I found the book extremely difficult to get into. The plot progresses at an aggravatingly slow pace which is frustrating. More than once, I considered putting it down because of that.
Characters and progression aside, Harper does succeed at creating unforeseen twists early on in The Dry‘s. I say early on because her knack for foreshadowing is a bit heavy-handed and as a result I was largely unsurprised with the solving of one of the two crimes. The other one, the more recent death of Falk’s friend, was harder to follow because of small town bias and at one point toward the end, almost seemed to come out of the left field (yeah, I know I just used a cliche there).
Though the book’s synopsis seems to focus heavily on what happened in Falk’s childhood, the story itself is not. In fact, Falk discovers the answer to that mystery by chance and realistically he would have learned it a lot sooner. I’d divulge why, but that would be a spoiler.
Overall, I felt The Dry was just alright. It wasn’t the best thriller I’ve read, but it was a far cry from the worst. While it doesn’t appeal all that much to my preferences, I can see fans of James Patterson enjoying it. (Not to knock Patterson in any way, of course.) I am curious to see what Harper comes up with next though.
Thank you NetGalley and Flatiron Books for providing me with an advance copy for the purpose of review.