Title: The Dry (Aaron Falk #1)
Author: Jane Harper
Published: May 31, 2016
Obtained: Amazon Purchase
Synopsis: Aaron Falk returns to his hometown, Barrens, ten years after being chased away from it. And it isn’t a happy homecoming. His high school friend, Paul, murdered his son and wife before turning the gun on himself. But Paul’s parents and local policeman aren’t convinced this was a murder-suicide. So Falk, who works as a financial police agent, decides to help investigate the crime. What he manages to uncover goes beyond recent events in Barrens and brings Falk face to face with events from his past. All of these events take place during a town-wide drought, which has left the farmland barren and dry.
The main reason I grabbed this book on Amazon (with a gift card, of course!) was because I won the next book in the series, Force of Nature, in a Goodreads giveaway. I have no clue why I would enter a giveaway for a second book when I had yet to read the first, so I decided to buy The Dry and give the series a shot. Of course this wasn’t the ONLY reason I bought it, since it’s gotten some great feedback, but that was my first instinct.
That being said, I really did love this book. My only problem with it was that I found it very slow in the first half. I had trouble picking it up and spent about a day and a half struggling to get through it. But, by the second half, I knew I was sucked in. Hence why I only gave it four stars.
I always get a bit confused when novels take place internationally and this fact isn’t mentioned right away. I don’t have a PROBLEM with books in international settings, I just get a little lost when a different kind of language gets used and they talk about Summer in January. When the characters in The Dry started mentioning Melbourne, I finally got it! Sometimes I have these blonde moments but they don’t last forever.
In the beginning, there wasn’t a lot of action or twists that made me want to continue. Basically Aaron Falk goes home for the funeral of an old high school friend who shot his son and wife then turned the gun on himself, while leaving his infant daughter screaming in the house. It’s a rather sad homecoming, and add to the fact that most of the townsfolk aren’t too keen on his return. They all believe he was involved in the death of a teenage girl whom he was friends with years ago.
I also wasn’t a fan of past events being inserted into present time chapters in italics. It was hard to adjust to at first, but I eventually got the hang of it as more important past events were explained this way. I guess I’m just so used to seeing whole chapters dedicated to the past and present separately.
The Pivotal Moment
Without giving anything away (because I hate spoilers!) it was the middle of the book that changed everything. I managed to finish the second half of The Dry in only a few hours! Obviously, something about Paul’s death doesn’t seem right. Falk and local police believe it may have something to do with the death of Ellie, the girl from his youth.
This leads them to explore different leads in the hopes of coming up with something that proves Paul didn’t slaughter his whole family. Who would want to believe a friend is capable of something so heinous? It’s not until the last few chapters that we understand what truly happens, and it was quite shocking and not what I was expecting in the least!
I’ve mentioned Ellie, the dead girl from Falk’s past, and what’s so great about this book is that we are given the truth about what happened to her when she died. There were so many theories about how she died, including one that Falk himself killed her. But we discover the true reason behind her death, and I found that very satisfying. I love endings that tie up neatly!
I’m so glad I decided to start this trilogy. I already have Force of Nature lined up in my reading list for the coming weeks, so I can’t wait to read the next chapter in the Aaron Falk series. He was a very likable character and it should be interesting to see where Jane Harper takes him from here.
Memorable Quote: “Death rarely changes how we feel about someone. Heightens it, more often than not.”