In Jane Harper's debut The Dry, long-held grudges are thrown in the mix to make for an absolute tinderbox - and a cracking read. Harper has delivered a tense, evocative thriller that paints a stark picture of what desperate times can do to a community. She slowly reveals the deep-worn tensions between characters in the small town, and it's this that makes The Dry such a good read . . . tension crackles . . . It's not surprising that Reese Witherspoon's production company, Pacific Standard, has already snapped up film rights for The Dry. It has some decidedly Australian aspects but Harper's basic point - about the desperate things people will do in desperate times - is universal
Praise for this book has been 'resounding', and rightly so: it's truly 'remarkable'. Exploring the tensions of small-town life and 'the limits of human endurance', The Dry is a 'chilling murder mystery', said The Mail on Sunday
Atmospheric and riveting, this remarkable debut announces a significant new talent
The Dry is one of the most talked-about debuts of the new year....Harper's story is tightly plotted and moves briskly, the tension as brittle and incendiary as the dried-out crops on the Kiewarra farms. But it is the beautifully evoked landscape and the portrayal of a gloomy outpost on the edge of a desert that are the stars of the show
Every now and then an Australian crime novel comes along to stop your breath and haunt your dreams...There is about The Dry something mythic and valiant. This a story about heroism, the sins of the past, and the struggle to atone
It's extremely rare and exciting to read a debut that enthralls from the very first page and then absolutely sticks the landing. Told with heart and guts and an authentic sense of place that simply cannot be faked, The Dry is the debut of the year
Harper's debut is a superior thriller in which the oppressive heat seems to act like a mirage on the very truth itself
Like True Detective set in the Australian outback...Amid the worst drought in a century, the tension and stifling heat running through the small town of Kiewarra crackle off the pages
Best page-turner of 2017
The earth is like a tinderbox, animals lie dead in the fields and the rolling river where Aaron and his friends use to swim and hang out is "nothing more than a dusty scar in the land"...The denouement yet again brings us face to face with the pitiless heat and its ramifications...Skilfully written and absorbing
Jane Harper creates an atmosphere of simmering tension right from the off. Her version of High Noon in the Outback flickers between past and present to slowly reveal what actually happened between characters who are far more engaging than the cogs usually found in clockwork thrillers
One of the most assured crime debuts I've encountered in many years . . . It grips like a vice from first paragraph to last, atmospherically evoking the small town of Kiewarra . . . Told with heart-breaking precision and emotional power . . . If you read only one crime novel this year make it this one
Terrific characters, unique and evocative setting, knockout plot construction. This book has it all
A stunner...It's a small-town, big-secrets page-turner with a shocker of an ending...
Read The Dry by Jane Harper. Gripping murder mystery; brilliant sense of place
A stunningly atmospheric read
Pulse-thumping suspense... Building from the first page, rammed with atmosphere, suspicions, lies and tension, this is a first-class crime debut'
An award-winner in its native Australia, in this first book from journalist Harper a local cop investigates the murder of a family in a small town enduring the worst drought in 100 years. This could be the start of an Antipodean wave that will overtake Scandi noir
I discovered The Dry by Jane Harper earlier this year and felt the extreme heat and parched earth of the story
Every so often a debut novel arrives that is so tightly woven and compelling it seems the work of a novelist in her prime. That's what Jane Harper has given us with The Dry, a story so true to setting and tone it seemed I fell asleep in Virginia only to wake in Australian heat. It's rare, that sense of transportation, and I loved every minute of it
Jane Harper's The Dry has a protagonist returning from a self-imposed exile to a tiny hometown riven with fear, though the backdrop here is the drought-plagued Australian outback. Harper depicts it so well that the book would have reduced me to a sweaty, crumpled heap on the floor had I not been energised by her diabolically clever plotting
Wonderfully atmospheric, The Dry is both a riveting murder mystery and a beautifully wrought picture of a rural community under extreme pressure
You can almost feel the searing heat of the Australian drought in this intense, gripping, atmospheric tale. A compulsive read.
I devoured it in just over 24 hours...Spellbinding
Settle in a comfy chair and read . . . The Dry by Jane Harper. This gripping novel charts a policeman's unwilling participation in the investigation of a terrible murder in the town of his youth, and is set to be the biggest crime release of 2017
In this exhilarating debut (which won the Victorian Premier's Literary Award for an unpublished manuscript), Falk goes back to a town ravaged by feelings of resentment and distrust that are exacerbated by drought . . . A community psychologically and socially damaged, Kiewarra resembles Henry Lawson's bush. Australian novelists such as Harper, in a small and select company, are exploring disquieting, imaginative territories, far from the littoral or metropolis
The writing is fantastic, and the plot - where many mystery/thrillers fall short these days - was completely unpredictable in the best ways possible... Aaron Falk, returns to his hometown in Australia to mourn, and inevitably investigate, his best friend's apparent suicide. What comes next is a series of twists and turns that will keep you guessing all the way until the end. I repeatedly found myself shocked and pulled in by Harper's fast paced and engrossing writing. Truly a fantastic read and hopefully the first of many to come from Ms. Harper
You will feel the heat, taste the dust and blink into the glare. The Dry is a wonderful crime novel that shines a light into the darkest corner of a sunburnt country
Tipped to be one of the biggest novels of the year . . .a gripping read
A tightly plotted page-turner that kept me reading well into the night...Harper shines a light on the highs and lows of rural life - the loyalty born of collective endurance in adversity, as well as the loneliness and isolation, and the havoc wrought by small-town gossip. She also explores the nature of guilt and regret, and the impact of the past on the present. In this cracker of a book Harper maintains the suspense, with the momentum picking up as it draws to its nerve-wracking conclusion
A mystery that starts with a sad homecoming quickly turns into a nail-biting thriller about family, friends, and forensic accounting. Debut author Harper plots this novel with laser precision, keeping suspects in play while dropping in flashbacks that offer readers a full understanding of what really happened. The setting adds layers of meaning. Kiewarra is suffering an epic drought, and Luke's suicide could easily be explained by the failure of his farm. The risk of wildfire, especially in a broken community rife with poverty and alcoholism, keeps nerves strung taut... A chilling story set under a blistering sun, this fine debut will keep readers on edge and awake long past bedtime
Harper brilliantly captures the claustrophobia of small-town Australia during a relentless drought. This is an eminently readable debut with characters you'll love and characters you'll love to hate
I share the universal approval of this book: it is gripping, atmospheric and original
'Jane Harper's fleet novel about a triple killing is packed with sneaky moves and teasing possibilities that keep the reader guessing...The Dry is a breathless page-turner...The dryness that gives the book its eerie title looms large in the novel's finale, when certain kinds of weapons become even more terrible than those used to butcher the Hadlers...The Dry has caught the attention of Reese Witherspoon, who has a solid track record for spotting novels with strong movie potential. (Want some evidence? Gone Girl.) But Ms Hadler has made her own major mark long before any film version comes along
I can't remember another first novel that was greeted with such unanimous enthusiasm from readers and reviewers all over the world...I share the universal approval of this book: it is gripping, atmospheric and original
One of the best crime debuts of 2017 - literary Broadchurch meets Top of the Lake
Solid storytelling that, despite a plethora of flashbacks, never loses momentum, strong characterisation and a sense of place so vivid that you can almost feel the blistering heat add up to a remarkably assured debut
My crime novel of the year is Jane Harper's The Dry...The savage beauty of the landscape makes an unforgettable setting'
It is hard to believe that this accomplished piece of writing, which returns again and again to the savage beauty of the landscape, is Harper's first novel
A razor-sharp crime yarn dripping in the sights, sounds and smells of the Australian bush...The storytelling is accomplished, with a bald sparseness to the writing that draws you in and characterization that rings resoundingly true...as the action twists and turns, the pace build[s] to a fantastic finale that will leave you breathless
Forget gloomy, damp Nordic Noir. This is Aussie Arid...A tense, twisting read that Gone Girl producer Reese Witherspoon has already optioned
Australian first-timer Jane Harper suggested a potential torrent of talent with The Dry, in which a man returns to the outback town from which he had been summarily exiled as a teenager. He is there to attend the funeral of a childhood best mate who is believed to have killed his wife and son, before turning the gun on himself. But the case is clearly not as simple as that and, in the tense setting of a landcape where it hasn't rained for two years, Harper slowly but thrillingly reveals where the truth lies.
One of the most stunning debuts I've ever read. I could feel the searing heat of the Australia setting. Every word is near perfect. The story builds like a wave seeking the purchase of earth before it crashes down and wipes out everything you might have thought about this enthralling tale. Read it!
[A] devastating debut...From the ominous opening paragraphs, all the more chilling for their matter-of-factness, Harper ...spins a suspenseful tale of sound and fury as riveting as it is horrific
A cracking small-town thriller wound tight by desperation in a deadly Australian drought
Put up your tray table, buckle your seatbelt, and sit back: you've found the right book for this flight. Set in the flash-ready tinder of a town going under, The Dry is a cracking good read that will have you hoping the pilot decides to circle the airport before landing. A hit by land or air.
From the searing opening, heat, dust and tension rise from the pages of this fast moving, tightly plotted and involving thriller
There is something about isolated communities and secrets and lies that just really intrigues me and this is one heck of a thriller with all of those things and more . . . [this thriller] slowly bubbles like a pan on a stove and you think you can guess the moment when the pan lid is just going to explode. But it's only been a little while since the water started to bubble, it'll be ages yet.....then BOOM. I had my eye on that pan lid from the start and I didn't guess what would happen. My heart is still beating like mad days after finishing the book
One of the stand-out crime debuts of 2017
A sad, beautifully told tale of lives regretted
This superb debut from a British-born, Australia-based journalist grips like a vice from the first paragraph to the last, atmospherically evoking the isolated town of Kiewarra, outside Melbourne, which has been rocked by a horrific murder/suicide...Told with heartbreaking precision and extraordinary emotional power, it reveals the prejudices, secrets and lies of small-town life against the background of emotions inflamed by heat
This fine crime debut is set in the searing heat of an Aussie outback town that's described so well you'll find yourself taking cold showers to wash off the imagined dust and sweat...Plenty of secrets lurking and waiting to be unearthed in this tense yarn which will have you thirsting for answers and chilled at the atmosphere. The Dry's a winner on all levels
A book that has atmosphere to spare, as well as a pleasing number of twists and turns. Elegant and gripping
Harper's debut novel is The Dry, a crime thriller making its way up The Sunday Times Bestsellers charts as steadily as the mercury rises each day in the stricken agricultural town of Kiewarra, in which it is set...It feels like an Ur-Australian novel, a whodunit that evokes the punishing landscape and searing aridity so convincingly, you expect a heat haze to shimmer above the page
A welcome antidote to all those Nordic crime novels that make you feel the cold in your bones, this excellent debut set in the Australian outback had me constantly wiping the sweat from my forehead
Set in a small Australian town during a blistering drought, this creepy and tightly woven tale about a detective investigating a brutal triple-murder is getting huge global attention for all the right reasons - it's brilliant!
Harper's sinuous, expertly crafted narrative is always on shifting sand, leaving the reader almost seasick with uncertainty
A firecracker debut . . . Journalist Jane Harper proves literary is often mysterious, with her thriller The Dry capturing readers' attention both for its final twist and its depiction of a hostile small Australian town beset by drought