10 reviews

The Dry: A Novel
by Jane Harper

Published: 2017-01-10
Hardcover : 336 pages
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Recommended to book clubs by 9 of 10 members

“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.” ...

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“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.

Editorial Review

An Amazon Best Book of January 2017: I was surprised to realize that The Dry was Jane Harper's debut novel. The writing is fantastic, and the plot - where many mystery/thrillers fall short these days - was completely unpredictable in the best ways possible. Federal Agent, Aaron Faulk, returns to his hometown in Australia to mourn, and inevitably investigate, his best friend's apparent suicide. What comes next is a series of twists and turns that will keep you guessing all the way until the end. I repeatedly found myself shocked and pulled in by Harper's fast paced and engrossing writing. Truly a fantastic read and hopefully the first of many to come from Ms. Harper. --Penny Mann, The Amazon Book Review


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Discussion Questions

The novel has a strong sense of place, despite being set in a fictional town. What elements does Harper include to accomplish this? How do the bush, the rock tree, the river, etc. affect the story?

Harper has said she is interested in communities where people have known each other—for better or for worse—their entire lives. How does this affect personal relationships? What are the positives and negatives of a small community?

Falk describes his group of friends as “teenage tight, where you believe your friends are soulmate and the bonds will last forever.” (p. 13) And yet he later wonders why he and Luke were still friends (p. 185). Did the early bonds last? Were the bonds broken because of their personalities, because they grew apart, or because of the lies they told?

How does the drought affect the town? The Hadlers? The reader?

How did his father’s doubts affect Falk? How do loved one’s doubts affect the people they are close to? Do we see this in other relationships in The Dry?

Luke was larger than life. What made people think he was capable of murder?

The Dry is a book rife with secrets. What secrets do Luke, Jamie, Ellie, and Gretchen tell? How do those secrets affect their relationships? What do they tell us about the nature of truth?

Are some secrets better off kept? What might have changed in The Dry if certain secrets had remained secret?

Do you see archetypal heroes and villains in the characters of The Dry? Are there “good” characters and “bad” characters? What were these characters’ motivations?

Jane Harper has worked as a journalist for 13 years. How did her personal background affect her telling of the story? Does her writing style make the details more or less believable?

When we talked to J.T. Ellison last November, we asked her to give us tips on how to better read and enjoy suspense as a reader. Her answer: “Stop looking for the twist.” Did you take her advice? When did you “know”?

Thanks to Modern Mrs. Darcy for the Questions

Notes From the Author to the Bookclub

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Member Reviews

Overall rating:
by Kat i. (see profile) 11/21/22

by patricia S. (see profile) 08/24/21

by Askhari H. (see profile) 11/11/20

by Irene W. (see profile) 06/18/20

by Rhianna K. (see profile) 02/20/20

Good start and ending, a bit boring in the middle. Unpredictable but I didn’t love the ending.

by Kate S. (see profile) 02/12/20

This book started off well, but it was quite slow in the middle. The ending was completely random, which I didn’t like!

by ELIZABETH V. (see profile) 09/15/19

Its title refers to a drought. The setting of THE DRY is a small farming town in Australia, and everyone is suffering because of the drought. God-awful things are going on in this small tow... (read more)

by Chriss G. (see profile) 07/30/19

by Jennifer M. (see profile) 07/20/19

by Heather H. (see profile) 07/01/19

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