Five reasons why “The Dry” is the must-read of the year

May 21, 2016

Harper creates a brilliant cast of well-developed characters who crash into each other with deliciously satisfying results


Kiewarra is a tiny rural community in country Victoria, populated with a cast of big characters that always seems to come with small towns, and where simply making it through the day is a tedious challenge. So, of course, this makes it the perfect setting for a gripping murder mystery.

A murder-suicide shocks the town out of its drought-induced haze and the grief-stricken community wonders what drove the likeable farmer to murder his wife and son before killing himself. This dark turn of events triggers the swirling toxic underbelly to rise to the surface and events from 20 years ago are connected to the questions being asked today.

Former local, and now Melbourne-based Federal Police investigator, Aaron Falk returns to Kiewarra to attend the funerals. He stays on at the request of the dead farmer’s parents to investigate. Soon enough the tangled threads of his youth threaten to choke him as the locals turn on him and the investigation threatens to stall, perhaps permanently.


The Dry is a gripping read.

Despite the fact that most Australians live in major cities, we spiritually identify with the bush. So, stories that are told against this backdrop seem somehow more Australian than those set in the city. And this is a very Australian story.

Harper creates a brilliant cast of well-developed characters who crash into each other with deliciously satisfying results.

The tedious heat of the drought is the relentless metronome that keeps the beat of this story ticking along, and I thoroughly recommend this to anyone who enjoys a good crime thriller and, in particular, an Australian bush yarn.

Five fast facts about The Dry (and why you should read it):

  •  The Dry been optioned for a film by Reese Witherspoon’s production company and we all know that you have to read the book before seeing the film. It never works the other way around;
  • Hero Aaron Falk has the serenity of a saint – even after a truck load of manure (mostly animal) is dumped on his car. Who wouldn’t want to be inside the head of someone like that?
  • When it hits shelves, everyone will be talking about The Dry, so get in ahead of the crowd and you can be one of those people ahead of the trend. “Oh, sure, I read The Dry ages ago – loved it!” you can say to your colleagues;
  • You are supporting an Australian writer and the local publishing industry; and,
  • The Dry has secured 22 publishing deals from publishers all over the world, including the US, UK and New Zealand, and it will be published in 19 foreign language territories.

Connect with the publisher, Pan Macmillan – here

Connect with the author, Jane Harper – on her website, Facebook or Twitter

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