Jane Harper’s debut novel The Dry is fantastic. It takes place in rural Australia during a bad drought and the author really makes you feel like you are there. Businesses in the small town of Kiewarra are closing because the surrounding farms are failing – crops can’t survive and farm animals can’t be fed or watered therefore farmers don’t have any money to spend in town. Many mortgages and tax payments are in arrears so entities like the police department and the school are also just scraping by. It is in this area that federal agent Aaron Falk grew up and after he and his father were ran out of town, he was never going to come back. However, his childhood friend Luke is now dead and it looks like he not only committed suicide but killed his wife and son first. Aaron’s sad about his friend’s suicide and doesn’t understand why he felt the need to kill his family but knows the drought is changing people and tensions are running high. Aaron’s all set to attend the funeral and get back out of town ASAP but Luke’s parents come to him asking him to investigate the deaths because they don’t believe Luke took his own life or killed his family. Aaron tries to say no (although he is in law enforcement he investigates financial   crimes not homicides) but ends up feeling obligated to stay another couple days and look into it. Luckily there is a local police officer who feels that something about the situation is a little “off” so they team up and start unofficially looking into things. Lots of twist and turns with a past crime also cropping up periodically and an absolutely great ending that I did not see coming. This book was almost like reading a horror story for me as I kept flashing back to our 2012 drought which was so scary-but not even half as bad as this one. Do not miss this book and let’s hope the author keeps on writing!

Stacy W.