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The Dry
Cover of The Dry
The Dry
A Novel
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INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
"A breathless page-turner, driven by the many revelations Ms. Harper dreams up...You'll love [her] sleight of hand...A secret on every page." —The New York Times

"One of the most stunning debuts I've ever read... Every word is near perfect." —David Baldacci

A small town hides big secrets in The Dry, an atmospheric, page-turning debut mystery by award-winning author Jane Harper.

After getting a note demanding his presence, Federal Agent Aaron Falk arrives in his hometown for the first time in decades to attend the funeral of his best friend, Luke. Twenty years ago when Falk was accused of murder, Luke was his alibi. Falk and his father fled under a cloud of suspicion, saved from prosecution only because of Luke's steadfast claim that the boys had been together at the time of the crime. But now more than one person knows they didn't tell the truth back then, and Luke is dead.

Amid the worst drought in a century, Falk and the local detective question what really happened to Luke. As Falk reluctantly investigates to see if there's more to Luke's death than there seems to be, long-buried mysteries resurface, as do the lies that have haunted them. And Falk will find that small towns have always hidden big secrets.

INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
"A breathless page-turner, driven by the many revelations Ms. Harper dreams up...You'll love [her] sleight of hand...A secret on every page." —The New York Times

"One of the most stunning debuts I've ever read... Every word is near perfect." —David Baldacci

A small town hides big secrets in The Dry, an atmospheric, page-turning debut mystery by award-winning author Jane Harper.

After getting a note demanding his presence, Federal Agent Aaron Falk arrives in his hometown for the first time in decades to attend the funeral of his best friend, Luke. Twenty years ago when Falk was accused of murder, Luke was his alibi. Falk and his father fled under a cloud of suspicion, saved from prosecution only because of Luke's steadfast claim that the boys had been together at the time of the crime. But now more than one person knows they didn't tell the truth back then, and Luke is dead.

Amid the worst drought in a century, Falk and the local detective question what really happened to Luke. As Falk reluctantly investigates to see if there's more to Luke's death than there seems to be, long-buried mysteries resurface, as do the lies that have haunted them. And Falk will find that small towns have always hidden big secrets.

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Awards-
About the Author-
  • Jane Harper has worked as a print journalist for 13 years both in Australia and the UK. She is originally from the UK and moved to Australia in 2008, where she lives in Melbourne and writes for the Herald Sun. The Dry, her debut novel, won the 2015 Victorian Premier Literary Award for an unpublished manuscript.
Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from July 11, 2016
    At the start of Australian author Harper’s devastating debut, Melbourne-based federal agent Aaron Falk returns to his drought-stricken hometown, Kiewarra, for three funerals—those of popular school aid Karen Hadler; her six-year-old son, Billy; and her husband, Luke, Aaron’s childhood best friend. Luke apparently murdered Karen and Billy before turning the shotgun on himself. Falk knows better than anyone that his charismatic mate may have had a darker side—two decades earlier as teens they gave each other bogus alibis for the afternoon of high school crush Ellie Deacon’s suspicious death by drowning. When Luke’s brokenhearted parents beg Falk to investigate, he can’t refuse. But as Falk begins digging with the help of recently arrived Sgt. Greg Raco, including looking into a possible connection to the earlier tragedy, he swiftly discovers that a badge may not protect him from a town driven to the brink. From the ominous opening paragraphs, all the more chilling for their matter-of-factness, Harper, a journalist who writes for Melbourne’s Herald Sun, spins a suspenseful tale of sound and fury as riveting as it is horrific. Agent: Daniel Lazar, Writers House.

  • Kirkus

    October 15, 2016
    A mystery that starts with a sad homecoming quickly turns into a nail-biting thriller about family, friends, and forensic accounting.Federal agent Aaron Falk is called back to his rural Australian hometown for the funeral of his best friend, Luke, who apparently committed suicide after killing his wife and 6-year-old son; he's also called to reckon with his own past. Falk and his father were run out of town when he was accused of killing his girlfriend. Luke gave him an alibi, but more than one person in town knows he was lying. When Luke's parents ask Falk to find the truth, long-buried secrets begin to surface. Debut author Harper plots this novel with laser precision, keeping suspects in play while dropping in flashbacks that offer readers a full understanding of what really happened. The setting adds layers of meaning. Kiewarra is suffering an epic drought, and Luke's suicide could easily be explained by the failure of his farm. The risk of wildfire, especially in a broken community rife with poverty and alcoholism, keeps nerves strung taut. Falk's focus as an investigator is on following the money; nobody in town really understands his job, but his phone number turns up on a scrap of paper belonging to Luke's late wife, a woman he'd never met. The question throughout is whether Luke's death is something a CSI of spreadsheets can unravel or if it's a matter of bad blood from times past finally having reached the boiling point. Falk struggles to separate the two and let his own old grudges go. A fellow investigator chastises him: "You're staring so hard at the past that it's blinding you." A chilling story set under a blistering sun, this fine debut will keep readers on edge and awake long past bedtime.

    COPYRIGHT(2016) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Library Journal

    April 1, 2016
    In his youth, Aaron Falk was accused of murder and with his father forced from their hometown; he was saved from prosecution only by the testimony of best friend Luke that they were together at the time of the murder. Now, Aaron, a federal investigator in Melbourne, learns that Luke has been found dead after committing a heinous crime, and a note in the mail further informs him, "Luke lied. You lied. Be at the funeral." This work has strong credentials, having won the 2015 Victorian Premier Literary Award for an unpublished manuscript and been sold to 19 countries; Reese Witherspoon's production company grabbed the film rights.

    Copyright 2016 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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