Monday, July 22, 2019

Book Review: The Lost Man by Jane Harper, narrated by Stephen Shanahan (audio)

I really can't recommend Jane Harper's books in audio strongly enough. As discussed in the interview with the author at the end, each of her books so far takes place in a very different part of Australia, in which the setting acts like another, perhaps the most important, character in the book. And Stephen Shanahan brings that character to life. His Australian accent is both thick and completely understandable (not always a given, trust me.)

Nathan, the oldest of the three Bright brothers, has been out fixing fences with his son Xander just before Christmas, when he hears on the radio that his middle brother Cam, who has been running the family ranch, has been found dead in the middle of the Outback, in the shade of the tombstone of the Stockman's Grave. Their youngest brother, Bub, is standing watch, waiting for both Nathan and the authorities to make their way there. Nathan has died from dehydration and heat, but why on earth was he out here in the middle of nowhere, when he was supposed to be meeting Bub to fix an antenna, and his SUV--well stocked with water and other supplies--was just a few miles away? Why did he leave the car? With no supplies? Why did he walk out to this forsaken place? No one who grew up on a cattle station in the Outback like them, would ever have done this by mistake. Was it suicide? Or murder?

Nathan, an outcast from the town, can't just accept the police's assumption that it was suicide when there don't seem to be any signs of that, and it doesn't fit with his brother's personality. Even though he's turning up long-past secrets many would prefer to remain in the past, he can't help but keep looking into it, to know what truly happened to his brother.

A twisty turny mystery without a traditional detective, this novel fully immerses you in the life of the Outback, where generators are turned off at night and there's no electricity, where groceries are bought months in advance by the truckload, and where being alone can be a death sentence. Will this family pull together in the face of this adversity, or rip each other apart?

This book is published by Flatiron Books, a division of Macmillan, my employer. 

I downloaded the eaudiobook from Libby/Overdrive via my public library.

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