The high quality of Australian crime writing needs to be celebrated by dedicated readers everywhere but especially here at home in Australia. Emma Viskic, Trent Dalton and Chris Hammer have written some fantastic Australian crime fiction and Jane Harper is another for readers everywhere to celebrate.
I have read and enjoyed her previous novels, The Dry and Force of Nature that feature Aaron Falk and really enjoyed these new additions to Australian crime writing but with The Lost Man, Jane Harper has exceeded all expectations. What a fantastic Australian novel.
This is a story of three brothers in an unrelenting Australian outback. Set in west Queensland, Harper brings the reader to a world of vastness, vast cattle properties with 3 hours to the nearest neighbour and families battling with an unrelenting drought and the vast burning sun that accompanies it. Into the mix of isolation, tragic past mistakes, and family comes an unexplained death which has consequences – and one of the consequences is a family that must face some confronting truths. How can the death of a brother be explained? If it is not suicide then the suspects are few to choose from and the family must look to themselves. The writing is so good in this story as the reader is totally drawn in to the gripping, intense nature of the search for the truth of Cameron’s death and lovingly drawn to the amazing Australian landscape of the story setting.
Dark themes are explored, rape, domestic violence and the generational consequences this has as well as an intense gripping mystery – what did happen to Cameron Bright? I listened to this as an audiobook through Borrow Box app and the cadence of Australian conversation was effortlessly demonstrated by the narrator Steve Shanahan – all the more wonderful when you realise that Jane Harper actually grew up in the UK.
This gets 5 stars from me and is totally a recommendation for anyone’s summer holiday read.