Dear Fellow Reader,
When my library book club had The Dry by Jane Harper on the list, I was not very excited. It didn’t sound that good. But the librarian kept telling me that it was supposed to be good.
And it was.
If you haven’t read it, I suggest you read it. Jane Harper’s second book was Force of Nature, which has the same lead character as The Dry. I didn’t understand how that was going to work but it worked perfectly. (Okay, you have to read The Dry to understand. The lead character is not a detective by trade, he is just called into a mystery involving his old friend.)
The Dry is also being made into a movie starring Eric Bana.
And now we have The Lost Man. All of Jane Harper’s books take place in Australia, which gives her a physically unforgiving setting. In The Lost Man, there are three brothers working the land. Two brothers live on the family homestead and the other lives on an adjacent parcel, but the homes are three hours away from each other.
As the book opens, a pilot is flying over an area that is mostly sand except for one month out of the year when it is flooded. There is a grave out in the middle of this deserted area. The pilot sees what he doesn’t expect. There is a body in the sand by the grave.
The body is the missing Cameron Bright, one of three Bright brothers. The other two brothers drive out to where the body has been found and find it hard to believe that their brother is dead out by the grave. Where is his car? The car is full of supplies, how could he have left the car to die out by the grave? What happened to Cameron?
The story is told from the standpoint of Nathan, the brother who does not live at the family home but at his own neighboring farm. Nathan has his 16-year-old son with him when they go out to respond to the pilot’s findings. His son is visiting for the Christmas holidays. After the third brother, Bub, arrives and looks over the situation with Nathan, they all go back to the family home.
Through the story, we find out more about Nathan and his checkered history and then we learn more about all the members of the family and their interactions. Nathan is unsettled by his brother’s death and feels there is something wrong.
Once again, Jane Harper crafts the flawed hero. She uses the backdrop of the barren lands of Australia to bring out the nature of the character flaws. The physical location is part of the story. She shows us that the isolation of the family farms can hide people’s true natures.
Yes, I think you should read this book. I think you should read all three books. Jane Harper will give you great descriptions, character development, and will keep you wondering what will happen next.
Thanks for reading!