Review – The Dry by Jane Harper

My Rating: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐


Australia is in the grip of its worst drought in a century, and it hasn’t rained in the small country town of Kiewarra for two years.  Tensions in the community become unbearable when three members of the Hadler family are brutally murdered.  Everyone thinks Luke Hadler, who committed suicide after slaughtering his wife and six-year-old son, is guilty.

Policeman Aaron Falk returns to his hometown for the funeral of his childhood best friend, and is unwillingly drawn into the investigation.  As questions mount and suspicion spreads through the town, Falk is forced to confront the community that rejected him twenty years earlier.  Because Falk and Luke Hadler shared a secret, one which Luke’s death threatens to unearth.  And as Falk probes deeper into the killings, secrets from his past bubble to the surface as he investigates the truth of his friend’s crime.

The Dry is a story of desperation, resolution and small-town prejudice, played out against the blistering extremes of life in a ravaged land.


This is a classic slow-burning “whodunnit”.  I read this book so quickly that I hardly found myself stopping to make notes on what I thought of it.

The leading male, Aaron Falk, seems a genuine, loveable guy.  He has clearly got a past though as he comes across as a little nervous and not sure if he should be returning to the town of Kiewarra or not.  It would seem that he is somehow connected to a death of an old friend many years ago but I don’t for a second believe he had anything to do with it… you will have to read it yourself though to find out for sure as I don’t give away any spoilers in my reviews!

There is quite clearly something dark and sinister going on in the town.  A lot of the town-folk seem a bit, how do I put it, “disturbing”, perhaps.  It is a bit of a backwards town (if that’s the right phrase) – and the current Police Chief (Raco) and his wife appear to be under the same impression too.

I was desperate to know where the story was heading as there are two crimes to solve – one being the Hadler Family Massacre and the other being an unsolved suicide from twenty years ago.  I could only imagine that there was going to be a huge twist in the tale that I was not expecting….

The only characters I found that appeared ordinary to me were the people that had recently moved to the town, like the new Police Chief and Headteacher – Raco and Whitlam, they were both looking for a quiet life with their families.  But then again it could lead you to believe that they must be hiding from something!

Needless to say, the ending was a huge shock and although I never try and guess what happens in a book, as it does spoil it sometimes… I genuinely wouldn’t have guessed that ending.  It was a shocker (well for me it was anyway!).

This book would be fabulous for a book club as you could talk about it for hours.


My final word: Captivating.

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