This novel is an amazingly well written one to be a debut effort. The present day murder mystery and the death of a teen decades ago are deftly intertwined in the well crafted plot. I was amazed at how the two events played back and forth as layers of lies and deceit were peeled away.
The setting is a drought stricken town in rural Australia. The desperation of the farmers and the effects of the drought on the town in general were very well portrayed. The relationships among the people of the town revealed well the underlying feelings. I especially appreciated the turmoil Federal Agent Falk experienced as he returned to his home town for the funeral of the man who had been his friend in teen years. He had been implicated in the death of the teen girl those decades ago and his presence causes a great deal of unrest among the locals. And when Falk realizes the death of his friend may have been murder rather than suicide, the anger and animosity in the town escalates.
This novel is a great murder mystery. It is also a great study in human relations, showing how past hurts affect present day relationships. The characters are well drawn. The setting of the parched Australian land is well described. As the plot unfolds and the mystery becomes more complex, there are some twists that kept me turning pages. I'll be watching for the next novel from this author.
I recommend this novel to mystery fans. I doubt you'll be disappointed.
My rating: 5/5 stars.
Jane Harper worked as a print journalist for thirteen years. She lives in Melbourne with her family. You can find out more at http://janeharper.com.au/.
Flatiron Books, 336 pages.
I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review.