Sunday, October 22, 2017

Book Review: The Dry by Jane Harper, narrated by Steve Shanahan (audio)

I almost exclusively listen to nonfiction on audio. And while most everyone has at one point or another recommended that I try mysteries, I've dismissed them, because I find it's so easy to be distracted while driving or doing other things, that I'm likely to miss something in the book, and in fiction it's usually a problem, and in a mystery it can be a deal-breaker. Still, I heard such great things about this book that I thought I'd give it a shot.

Aaron Falk returns to the rural, Outback town he grew up in from Melbourne, to attend the funeral of his best friend, Luke Hadler. It's a very grim occasion because Luke seems to have killed his wife and son before killing himself (kindly sparing the baby girl). Not to mention there are still a fair number of people in the town who still believe, after all these years, that Aaron had something to do with the drowning of Ellie, his good friend, when they were teenagers, an event that lead to him and his father eventually leaving town.

Now, Aaron's a federal officer, and while he's not used to the homicide scene, as he investigates financial crimes, at the request of Luke's father, he decides to look into the deaths, just to make sure there was nothing hinky in the original investigations, and so the family can know everything was done. The local investigator seems very on-the-ball but understaffed and underfunded to an extreme, and he welcomes Aaron's help. Aaron doesn't think there's anything to find, but when you start lifting up rocks, dark things tend to scurry out...

The narrator was just terrific with a good rural Australian accent. It might take some people a bit of time to get used to it, but it really helped immerse the listener in the barren, dried-out farming community of the Outback. The mystery kept me guessing with a couple of good red-herrings, and the older mystery as well made the novel complex and layered. I agree with everyone who says this sure doesn't read like a first novel. And while I hope Aaron isn't like a Jessica Fletcher type with people dropping dead all around him, therefore the second mystery in this series must necessarily not be so personal, I am intrigued and likely will give that a listen, too!

This book is published by Macmillan, my employer. I checked this eaudiobook out of the library via Overdrive.

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