Sunday, August 5, 2018

Heat and Murder in Australia in THE DRY

The Dry by Jane Harper is set in the barren Outback of Australia, where a small town is suffering from an endless drought and reeling from a horrific local crime.

Three members of the Hadler family are found dead in an apparent murder-suicide at their farm. It looks like the father, Luke Hadler, killed his wife and small son, then killed himself. The farm was nearly bankrupt, maybe Luke Hadler just snapped one day. At least, that's what it looks like on the surface.

Federal Agent Aaron Falk grew up in that town and he attends the funerals. He's an unwanted exile there after the suspicious death of a young girl Falk knew twenty years earlier, when he himself was teenager. Some locals blamed Falk for the girl's death then and still nurse ugly feelings toward him.

Falk can't wait to leave, but he gets drawn into the Hadler case. Luke Hadler was a close friend once. Falk can't believe he would kill his own family that way. As Falk joins the local police investigation, new evidence that doesn't fit begins to show up. But if it turns out that Luke Hadler wasn't the killer, it means one chilling thing: someone else in the town is the murderer.

The Dry is a compelling read, set under the unforgiving heat of a parched landscape, where the unending dryness has driven someone mad enough to commit a monstrous crime.

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