I was most impressed with this stunning piece of crime fiction by Jane Harper. As suggested by the title this in set in a long, hard drought in rural Australia. Federal Agent Aaron Falk, left his home town abruptly 20 years ago under difficult and mysterious circumstances, he returns, reluctantly following the death of his childhood best friend, Luke Hadler, summoned by Hadler Snr.
Luke lied. You lied. Be at the funeral.
The small town has neither forgotten or forgiven Aaron for perceived past wrongs and there is no warm welcome home. Impeccably capturing the small town vibes, everyone knows everything, strangers aren’t welcome and the laws aren’t always the ones imposed by the state. This outback location feels threatening, remote and backward in its functioning where favours are exchanged and friendships kept in order to survive and maintain the living off the land.
Some wholly unlikeable characters jostle along with some honest, decent soles as Aaron feeling indebted to Luke’s family agrees to stay in town to investigate Luke’s death. As the story unfolds we learn the dark reasons for Aaron’s swift departure as a teenager and have to wonder if there is a link to Luke’s death.
Things aren’t always what they seem, especially in great fiction and this one kept me guessing to the very end. A glorious read with not only a great plot but on my garden chair in the unseasonably hot May weather I was transported to the Australian outback to the sinister fictional town of Kiewarra.
Highly recommended reading and I for one am stoked to know there is more to come from Jane Harper and Federal Agent Aaron Falk.