Monday Murders: The Dry by Jane Harper
I’m weird. I know that. I started this post yesterday but couldn’t quite bring myself to finish it because I couldn’t find a good image of the cover of the book I read. Alas, now every cover screams “Now a Motion Picture” as if that’s the greatest accolade available to a writer. Well, it’s not, in my humble opinion. People who read want to experience that movie in their heads. At least, I do. When I go to a movie, I want to have everything laid out in front of me for a couple of hours. When I read a book, I want to live in that world for hours, days.
This book is one of those that I enjoyed thoroughly, though I can’t say that I really want to live in the world the author created. The Dry is more than the title – it’s a character in the book. Everything about this town and the people in the story is controlled by that weather. Everything is dry, brown, dead. It’s as if the very Earth is ready to light a match and let the whole place go up in flames. The heat, the drought, tries to suck the life out of everyone.
Falk returns to his hometown after his childhood best friend appears to have murdered his wife and son, then killed himself. The town remembers him, and what he was suspected of. Falk carries a badge now, but that means very little out here in the middle of nowhere Australia. He finds an unlikely ally in a former (girl) friend and the local principal. Returning brings back a lot of memories, and the twin timelines, back then and now, seem intertwined. The way the story was told was enjoyable, with little bits of information being doled out like bread crumbs on a windy trail. The characters were well-written and layered, as was the plot itself.
The past several popular bestsellers have been disappointing (I’m so sick of unreliable narrators & books that are billed as mysteries that end up aiming to impress literary sorts), so I held off on reading this book. I shouldn’t have. The book didn’t disappoint. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I highly recommend it if you like mysteries.