The Dry by Jane Harper
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
An absolute page-turner from beginning to end, I read this in record time. Jane Harper’s debut is a corker.
Aaron Falk has returned to Kiewarra, his drought-ridden country home town, for the funeral of his childhood friend, Luke Hadler. Hadler’s wife and son were shot and Luke apparently turned the gun on himself in an act of desperation – leaving little baby Charlotte an orphan. A Federal Police investigator, Falk is soon suspicious about the circumstances of the Hadlers’ deaths and begins to poke old wounds in his quest to find the truth. Ably assisted by Sergeant Raco, local cop, Falk begins an off the books investigation that stirs up tension and ill-feeling across the town.
The atmosphere is tense, tinder-dry, and expectation builds as you read your way towards an explosive conclusion. I loved that there were no neat ends pulled together in this novel – some of the denouements are messy, just as in real life. I won’t post anymore for fear of revealing too much more about the plot. Suffice to say, you will not be disappointed in this debut offering from Jane Harper. I look forward to reading many more mysteries of this calibre from her.
Ages 15 and up
The Siege of Macindaw by John Flanagan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This one took me a while to finish – mainly because I had to read other things for work and kept putting it off. As the conclusion to the storyline started in The Sorcerer in the North, this stands up really well. Will is determined to rescue Alyss from the clutches of the corrupt and conflicted Keren, and enlists the help of wily healer, Malcolm and a party of battle-hungry Skandians. A great deal of this novel is setting up for the final battle that will break the siege, including the capture and interrogation of the Scotti general, Machaddish. Will’s best friend (after Halt of course), Horace, rides into the picture too – ready to assist him in not only extracting Alyss from Keren’s tower prison cell, but also in defeating the usurpers.
Alyss gets a little more page time in this storyline and she proves herself to be resourceful and cunning, but also emotionally intelligent. This emotional intelligence is in sharp contrast to Will’s lack of it, and shows why they are so close and their relationship works so well in the field – they have skills that compliment each other. I would like to see more of Will and Horace working together later in the series – their banter is always entertaining, but I REALLY hope Halt comes back into the picture too – especially as Will is maturing and becoming more proficient as a Ranger. I guess I will have to keep reading to see if Flanagan will fulfill my wish!