Melbourne-based Federal Police Investigator Aaron Falk reluctantly returns to his hometown of Kiewarra to attend the funeral of his childhood friend Luke, and Luke's wife and child, supposed victims of a murder-suicide. Forced to confront his own past with Luke, Aaron is drawn into the investigation, probing the secrets of a small town fuelled by drought and despair.
Set in the blistering heat and dust of rural Australia, this is a thriller that races along as fast as the wildfire that threatens the harsh and unforgiving landscape.
This was a read that our members really enjoyed. They thought it was an excellent debut novel, the plot was credible and the characters well rounded. As detective fiction we rated it as 3.5.
Everyone enjoyed this book, even those who do not normally read detective fiction. We enjoyed the way the Australian setting is described and how important it is in the whole atmosphere of the novel. The characters were believable and the way the past influences the present cleverly presented, especially for those readers who do not usually enjoy changes in point of view and time setting. It's an easy read, but a very good one.
This book certainly had twists and turns which were very unexpected. It was quite a sad and depressing novel.
A very excellent read. Enjoyed by all members.
Our whole group loved this book and gave it a group score of 4.36/5. A really great read.
Absolutely our favourite book of 2021. Everyone joined in the discussion. A real page turner with an unexpected ending.
A true crime thriller - we loved it. Not a literary novel, but compelling and gripping. Painted the dry desolate landscape well.
All members enjoyed this book. The relentless, fractious, dry rural setting was threaded through the narrative. Clever and compelling.
We all really enjoyed this book and liked the writing style, how it switched between the past and the present. The only criticism was that the end was rather abrupt, leaving a couple of threads inconclusive.
All but one of us liked this book very much. The one dissenter thought the author missed an opportunity to really press home the effects of drought on the land and the community. A few of us had read it before (and seen the movie) but the reveal at the end was still a bit of a surprise. This was a page turner, with well drawn characters, that kept the reader hooked until the end. If readers enjoyed this book, try The Lost Man by the same author.
All members finished this book but it gained a mixed reaction. We agreed that it was what we had needed at the time (as our previous books had been very heavy) and all found it easy to read. Most of us found it quite "light" and predictable.
Enjoyed by all, with great characters and a brilliantly described setting that is expertly interwoven into the story.
Great read. We all agreed that this book was a great page turner, with believable characters. Harper, like Stephen Daisley, evokes the desperation of people living in an arid outback Australian town. A great story for a 1st book. We discussed the topic of addiction and whether someone would go to such severe lengths as was depicted in the book.
We all really enjoyed this book. Well written, and the intertwining of past and present was well done. We were all hooked to the end.
We all really enjoyed this book due to the writing style, which really made the reader understand the effects of drought on the land and people. The topics involved were difficult for some members, but overall a very good wide-ranging discussion took place. As most of us live in a town in a farming area, we were able to compare and contrast our experiences with those of the characters in the book.An easy and worthwhile read.
Our group, for one of the first times ever, ALL rated this book highly.
Widely enjoyed by the group members. We would like to read the second in the series by Jane Harper featuring Aaron Falk.
Everyone enjoyed the book - well written and interesting. One member said she had been gripped and read it through in one go. Thoroughly recommended to other groups.
Everyone enjoyed it, but didn't feel it lived up to our expectations given all the prizes it has won.
Everyone loved this book. Clever plot and well written, with a great twist at the end.
The group enjoyed the book. It painted a really good picture of the 'dry'. Well written and easy to read. Not all of the group enjoyed the teenage back story and thought some of the characters weak. Overall, we thought it was good for a first novel.
We enjoyed the writing style, the believable characters and the portrayal of the rural physical environment. The effect of the drought on the locals was handled in a way that seemed authentic.
The whole group enjoyed this book. It held everyone's interest the whole way through, and only one person guessed the killer!
We all enjoyed this account of the challenges evident in living/surviving (or not) in a drought ridden country. A superbly written first novel!
This was a very popular book - many giving it a 5/5. We loved the atmosphere of a small Aussie town, and the excellent characterisation. A 'whodunnit' that did not reveal too much, too soon. The notes were very good - especially in telling us of other Australian authors we might enjoy.