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The Survivors

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Coming home dredges up deeply buried secrets...

Kieran Elliott's life changed forever on the day a reckless mistake led to devastating consequences.

The guilt that still haunts him resurfaces during a visit with his young family to the small coastal community he once called home.

Kieran's parents are struggling in a town where fortunes are forged by the sea. Between them all is his absent brother, Finn.

When a body is discovered on the beach, long-held secrets threaten to emerge. A sunken wreck, a missing girl, and questions that have never washed away...

384 pages, Hardcover

First published September 22, 2020

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About the author

Jane Harper

12 books12.2k followers
Jane Harper is the international bestselling author of The Dry, Force of Nature and The Lost Man.
Jane is a New York Times and Sunday Times bestseller, and has won numerous top awards including the Australian Book Industry Awards Book of the Year, the Australian Indie Awards Book of the Year, the CWA Gold Dagger Award for Best Crime Novel, and the British Book Awards Crime and Thriller Book of the Year.
Her books are published in more than 36 territories worldwide, with The Dry in production as a major motion picture starring Eric Bana.
Jane worked as a print journalist for thirteen years both in Australia and the UK, and now lives in Melbourne.

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5 stars
18,084 (19%)
4 stars
40,893 (44%)
3 stars
26,362 (28%)
2 stars
5,001 (5%)
1 star
1,232 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 9,533 reviews
Profile Image for Nilufer Ozmekik.
2,315 reviews44.1k followers
August 6, 2022
My fourth waltz with the author! She did it again! She did so much better this time! Rocked my world, broke my heart, made me fell in love with her beautiful writing and meticulously crafted characters one more time!

A murder of young art student threatened the cocooned safety of coastal town by bringing out buried secrets, lies, guilt, injustice, wrong punishments, regrets of the past related with the big storm which took away three people’s lives and traumatized their families’ lives forever!

Welcome to Evelyn Bay in Tasmania Coast. (fictional place) Kieran Elliott is our narrator, coming back to family house after building a new life with his girlfriend Mia in Sydney, raising their baby girl.

They came back to help Kieran’s mother Verity and his father Brian who suffers from dementia to pack their belongings for moving out from the place.

But this journey opens so many can of worms of the tragic events related with disastrous storm who took two boys’ ( one of them is his own brother) and 14 years old Gabby’s ( who was also Mia’s best friend) lives because he just wanted to make out with a girl in the caves and it was too late he realized the tide was getting higher. And his brother got a suicide mission to drive the boat to rescue him. In the meantime Gabby Birch has drowned and her backpack was found by the authorities.

After 12 years fighting with his guilt feelings, depression, Kieran evolved into more caring, understanding, mature man with the help of Mia and his daughter’s support but seeing his broken parents who are still grieving his brother bring out the resentment, sadness he has been bottling up for years.

And as soon as he meets with his mates Ash, Sean, Olivia at Surf& Turf, the very same place Olivia and her new roommate art student Bronte works, the old memories start to come out, inner demons start to torture him.

He also eavesdrops the conversation between Bronte and Liam(his brother’s best friend’s son ) about he was the one to be blamed because of the deaths of three people.

On the very next day, poor Bronte’s dead body is found on the shore feeds the town’s people with more questions and gossips because Liam was the last person saw her alive.

The authorities bring out big guns: Detective Pendlebury starts working with local police and as an outsider she can get more objective and fresher look to the things occurring in this small coastal town which help her connect with Bronte’s murder with three deaths from the past.

The layered character development, the realistic approach of a family’s struggling with grief, losing their memories of their once upon a time happy lives and broken Kieran’s never ending fight between punishing himself with guilt and forgiving himself to start his own family were realistically and genuinely written.

All of the characters are flawed like Kieran: they stuck in the small town, facing with their failures, regrets, sadnesses. They are just slowly drowning like people they’d lost. Every one of them were relatable, honest and it was impossible not to feel for them.

And the heartbroken ending made me numb. It was the most emotional story of this author and one of my favorite books of her. ( I liked the other three but I guess this one will have a special place in my heart!)

Of course I’m giving my Tasmanian monster, heartbreaking, unique, perfectly written five stars!

Special thanks to Macmillan Reading Insiders Club and NetGalley for sharing this incredible digital copy of one of my favorite author’s upcoming book in exchange my honest review.
Profile Image for Chelsea Humphrey.
1,486 reviews79.1k followers
March 20, 2021
I’m certainly in the minority on this one, but I just didn’t feel that Jane Harper magic with THE SURVIVORS. The atmospheric setting is wonderful, but I found the mystery at hand didn’t quite grip me like the others did. I also wish there had been an extended epilogue or something to give us more information involving a few details. Still a huge fan and will be looking forward to her next novel.
Profile Image for Yun.
521 reviews21.8k followers
February 5, 2022
The Survivors is another slow burn from Jane Harper that quickly morphs into a gripping, unputdownable story.

After many years away, Kieran has returned to the small Australian waterfront town where he grew up. The town holds a tragic memory for him, one that has haunted him in all the years since then. Now that he's back, with his wife and infant daughter in tow, the long buried secrets of what happened all those years ago start to surface. And a new tragedy strikes, threatening to tear the town apart again.

Jane Harper's stories are always centered around its characters, and this book is no different. They jump off the pages fully formed, each with their complexities and their burdens of secrets and guilt. And it's not just about each individual person, but also how they relate to each other, in all that is said and unsaid. Harper's insightfulness and shrewdness at capturing the nuances and the landscape of small town relationships makes this character study a real highlight of the story.

The mystery itself is interesting and compelling. It drives the overall narrative, and infuses it with the prevailing atmosphere that something isn't quite right. The subtle malice flows through the undercurrents of this story, sweeping me away with its quiet intensity. Not much is happening on the surface, but underneath, it relentlessly builds the story into its inevitable and surprising conclusion.

I did find the beginning of the story to be a little slow, but that's pretty typical for me when it comes to Harper's writing. But I hold on for the initial few chapters, and pretty soon, I'm having trouble putting the book down. Now for all the buildup, I did find the ending to be a bit abrupt, as if I blinked and it was over. It sufficiently explained everything, but after following the characters and their storyline for so many pages, I just wanted a little more to fully wrap everything up and satisfy my curiosity.

Still, I wholeheartedly enjoyed this story. It has everything I've come to love about Harper's storytelling, with its focus on its characters in the setting of a small Australian town. I've read all of her books so far, and I just can't seem to get enough. Alas, now begins the long and tortuous wait for her next book.

See also, my thoughts on:
The Lost Man

Aaron Falk
#1. The Dry
#2. Force of Nature

Profile Image for Lisa of Troy.
435 reviews4,266 followers
June 4, 2023
Kieran is home visiting his parents when an event unfolds which brings up the past when two local men died. Is this event tied to the past? What did happen all those years ago?

*The ending was surprising and kept me guessing until the reveal.
*The narrator.

*The prose was underdeveloped. Plus, how many times did they say the word, "Mate"? Was the editor asleep?
*The book was not as page turning as I would have liked.
*Not everything was explained in the end.
*Too many characters all introduced in a short amount of time.

2023 Reading Schedule
Jan Alice in Wonderland
Feb Notes from a Small Island
Mar Cloud Atlas
Apr On the Road
May The Color Purple
Jun Bleak House
Jul Bridget Jones’s Diary
Aug Anna Karenina
Sep The Secret History
Oct Brave New World
Nov A Confederacy of Dunces
Dec The Count of Monte Cristo

Connect With Me!
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Profile Image for MarilynW.
1,203 reviews3,052 followers
March 14, 2021
The Survivors by Jane Harper

Thirty year old Kieran Elliott and his girlfriend, Mia, have returned to their coastal hometown, Evelyn Bay, to help Kieran's mother pack so that his father can be moved to a long term dementia residence. Twelve years ago, Evelyn Bay was the site of a sudden devastating storm that took lives, destroyed property, and caused untold psychological damage to numerous residents. Now, on the heels of Keiran and Mia's return to the town, a young woman's body is found on the beach. Twelve years ago, a young girl went missing from this beach and was never found. At about the same time, eighteen year old Kieran almost lost his life because of an unwise decision, several unwise decisions, decisions that led to the death of two men. 

The townspeople, his parents, and Kieran, will never forget the role he played during that horrible storm so many years ago. Visiting his hometown is a kind of torture for Kieran but one he thinks he deserves. No one can blame Kieran more than he blames himself for the deadly events of that day. Now, twelve years later, with the dead woman found on the beach, many of the same people of long ago become suspects and/or accusers, as the town rumors run rampant, in person and on Evelyn Bay's social media. People will say things, behind a screen, that they would never say to a person's face. 

This is a very slow story, full of atmosphere, a quiet sense of dread (some of my dread came from Kieran's three month baby being towed along everywhere, in her little baby pouch, scaring the daylights out of me and taking my mind off the story, at times...it wasn't the baby that scared me, it was how Kieran packed the baby around like she was a gym bag). I haven't spent much time at the coast but Jane Harper allowed me to really feel the location, the ocean, the waves, the caves, the beach, the mood of the only bar, the mood of the people, she made me feel like I was right there, in the story. Jane Harper, after just two of her books, The Lost Man and The Survivors, ranks up there with my favorite authors. Now I'm on to audios of The Dry and Force of Nature. I'm looking forward to the next book that Jane Harper writes and hope it's not too far into the future. 

Publication: February 2, 2021

Thank you to Macmillan Publishers/Flatiron Books and NetGalley for this ARC.
Profile Image for Dorie  - Cats&Books :) .
1,025 reviews2,976 followers
July 14, 2023

I am feeling both happy and sad. I’m happy that this new Jane Harper novel is every bit as good as her previous novels but sad that I will have to now wait for her next one!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I was a bit surprised that this book was set on the Tasmanian coast after reading The Dry and The Lost Man. I never knew I could see beauty in the Australian outback until I read those books. But Ms. Harper is a master of atmosphere and I quickly found myself caught up in the new setting.

Evelyn Bay is a small coastal town in Tasmania. Kieran and his young family have returned to the town to help Kieran’s mom pack up their house. They are moving his father to a home as his dementia has been increasing rapidly. His memory is very bad and he wanders a lot. It’s impossible to keep an eye on him at all times. So his mom will get a place close by so that she can visit often. Kieran hasn’t been back to the town since the fateful storm and tragedy that took place 12 years previously. Two people died that night, Kieran’s brother Finn and Toby, Liam’s dad. A young girl, Gabby, Olivia’s younger sister, just 14, also disappeared that night, and has never been found.

Kieran was just 18 years old when a raging storm trapped him and the girl he was with, Olivia, in the treacherous caves below lookout point. This area is notorious for shipwrecks and dangerous storms. There is a large bronze statue at the base of the cliffs, titled “The Survivors” that looks out to the sea. People can gauge how high the sea is cresting by looking at how high it reaches up the statue. On the day of the terrible storm, the crests were so high that the statue couldn’t be seen at all. When Olivia made it to dry land she sent a call for help and Finn and Toby’s boat, apparently in an attempt to rescue Kieran, hit the cliffs and toppled, killing the two men. Kieran has held the guilt inside him for all of this time. He feels it was his fault that they died trying to rescue him.

The night after Kieran is back in town, a young woman is found dead on the beach. She was here for the summer, working as a waitress but capturing lots of the coastal sights on camera for an art series she is working on at university. She is a talented young artist just beginning to discover her passion for photography.

Immediately all of the town has their own opinion on what happened, if a crime was committed and who the culprit could be.There is an online forum and it has people divulging secrets about everyone.

This is a wonderful example of Ms. Harper’s style of writing. The first half is a slow burn. She sets up the atmosphere and setting, then introduces us to the characters and their backstory.

The second half moves at a quicker and more tense pace as secrets are revealed and a detective from the mainland joins the local police in trying to uncover exactly what happened.

There are a multitude of characters but once you have them firmly set in your mind it’s pretty easy to keep track of them, both in the past and present. Everyone is a suspect until the ending and I certainly did not have this one figured out. Although I had some suspicions, they were only partly correct.

Jane Harper is a master storyteller. She builds and builds layer upon layer, to an explosive and satisfying end.

This novel is set to be published on February 2, 2021
I received an ARC of this novel from the publisher through Edelweiss.

ADDENDUM: I decided to both read and listen to this novel to see which I preferred. I was a bit worried that the Australian accent of the narrator would be difficult to understand but it wasn't. However I do feel that with the multitude of characters and moving from past to present, I got the best experience out of the physical book. I would still highly recommend the audiobook. The narration is good, it sets the atmosphere and setting well and it was easy to follow.

I received the audiobook from the publisher through NetGalley
Profile Image for Krystal.
1,658 reviews383 followers
September 25, 2020
Maybe it's me.

Maybe I'm just not feeling crime novels like I used to.
Maybe I've been too spoiled lately with unique stories.
Maybe too much reading has left me jaded.

Whatever the reason, I found this frustrating and slow and ultimately disappointing.

Setup: A whole bunch of secrets in a small Tasmanian coastal town, and Kieran digging through the past while we all try to work out who's responsible for the recent death of a girl.

The Good Bits

The Setting
I can't argue about Jane Harper's ability to set the scene. She does it well, and anyone who has ever visited an Australian coastal town will recognise it here. She has a way of transporting you to the locations she writes about, and it's definitely the best part of her writing.

The Tangle of Information
There is a lot of information to absorb - some of it relevant to solving the mystery, some of it just to throw you off. It's all jumbled together so there is the fun element of trying to untangle everything and come to your own conclusions.

The Cast of Characters
Look, I didn't really like any of them, but they were an interesting bunch and different enough that it kept the story interesting. Plus having so many of them meant there were lots of guesses as to who was behind all the drama.

The Frustrating Bits

The Pace
The first half of this novel really dragged, because it put so much time into talking about the lives of so many characters and setting out the misdirects for the mystery to come. So there are a lot of info dumps and not really a lot of action. The second half picks up a bit, and finally it does get to be an addictive read but, for me, the lack of interest at the start meant I wasn't as invested in the conclusion as I could have been.

The Allusions to the Past
This was hands down the most frustrating part for me. It works so hard to be mysterious that it ends up just seeming obnoxious. It drops all these hints about a mystery we clearly know nothing about, then there's a quick info-dump to scratch the itch, followed almost immediately with another hint about something else. The formula was so repetitive that I found myself not wanting to pick the book back up because it was so frustrating.

The Pushed Agenda
For a book told from a male's POV, this sure wants to make a point about how hard it is to be a woman. It reminds us that women can't walk in the dark without feeling safe and that beautiful women will always be harassed and blamed for being beautiful. As a woman I totally get these issues, but it just felt so out of place the way it was discussed in this story. She worked too hard to make a point of it, and it grated for me because it never felt organic. Especially when she spent so much time talking about how attractive the females in this book were. Overall, it was pretty jarring and made me feel awkward.

Final Thoughts
It wasn't terrible, and it definitely had me hooked towards the end, but on finishing the story I was left scratching my head a little, wondering what the heck just happened. It's one of those endings that kind of leaves you disappointed, thinking maybe you missed something. It just kind of - I think the technical term I want to go with here is 'fizzled'.

I never really liked any of the characters, and it all felt complicated for the sake of complication. There were so many secrets that didn't need to be secrets. Because of this, it also feels like there was a lot that was never properly explained.

Certainly not her best work, and a little disappointing when I enjoyed her last one so much. But, as mentioned, maybe I've just become a little jaded with the crime novel formula.

It's intriguing and full of secrets, and it takes some twisty turns for you to explore. If you don't overthink it you're bound to enjoy it well enough, but those looking to be blown away might be a little disappointed.

With thanks to Macmillan for my uncorrected proof ARC
Profile Image for Meredith (Trying to catch up!).
816 reviews12.7k followers
October 7, 2020
Dark, Heavy, and Tragic

“She could-almost-have been one of The Survivors.”

The Survivors
is a character study centered around a murder linked to a mystery of the past.

Evelyn Bay, a small coastal town in Tasmania, has seen its fair share of tragedy. 12 years ago, two young men were lost during a tragic accident at sea during a tumultuous storm, while at the same time, a teenage girl went missing never to be seen again. In the present, the man who is to blame for the accident at sea returns home to deal with his ailing father. His presence brings out a lot of ill will, and when a murder occurs, he is in the thick of the list of suspects.

This is an atmospheric and weighty story about a man who survived a tragedy attempting to come to terms with his past. The pacing is slow, and it is much more of a character study than a mystery. While Kieran serves as the narrator, other characters are slowly developed, and all transform by the end.

Narrated by Kieran, the tone is gloomy and carries the weight of his guilt. He is a quiet character, but nuanced and has a compelling voice.

As always, Harper’s writing is exquisite. She has the ability to bring the atmosphere to life, and the seaside town of Evelyn Bay is no exception. Harper links the tension in the town to the tumultuous nature of the ocean.

I didn’t love The Survivors as much as The Lost Man, but it is very much worth reading, especially if you enjoy slow-building character studies. It is a quiet story with a lot of tragedy to wade through. There is a resolution and a slow transformation that culminates into a moment of hope.

I received a free ARC of The Survivors from Macmillan in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for MarilynW.
1,203 reviews3,052 followers
December 29, 2022
The Survivors audiobook, by Jane Harper, narrated by Stephen Shanahan

Thirty year old Kieran Elliott and his girlfriend, Mia, have returned to their coastal hometown, Evelyn Bay, to help Kieran's mother pack so that his father can be moved to a long term dementia residence. Twelve years ago, Evelyn Bay was the site of a sudden devastating storm that took lives, destroyed property, and caused untold psychological damage to numerous residents. Now, on the heels of Keiran and Mia's return to the town, a young woman's body is found on the beach. Twelve years ago, a young girl went missing from this beach and was never found. At about the same time, eighteen year old Kieran almost lost his life because of an unwise decision, several unwise decisions, decisions that led to the death of two men. 

The townspeople, his parents, and Kieran, will never forget the role he played during that horrible storm so many years ago. Visiting his hometown is a kind of torture for Kieran but one he thinks he deserves. No one can blame Kieran more than he blames himself for the deadly events of that day. Now, twelve years later, with the dead woman found on the beach, many of the same people of long ago become suspects and/or accusers, as the town rumors run rampant, in person and on Evelyn Bay's social media. People will say things, behind a screen, that they would never say to a person's face. 

This is a very slow story, full of atmosphere, a quiet sense of dread (some of my dread came from Kieran's three month baby being towed along everywhere, in her little baby pouch, scaring the daylights out of me and taking my mind off the story, at times...it wasn't the baby that scared me, it was how Kieran packed the baby around like she was a gym bag). I haven't spent much time at the coast but Jane Harper allowed me to really feel the location, the ocean, the waves, the caves, the beach, the mood of the only bar, the mood of the people, she made me feel like I was right there, in the story. Stephen Shanahan did a fantastic job of narrating the story and I plan to listen to two more of his narrations next (Jane Harper books). I did have to adjust to the timeline changing back and forth between present day and twelve years ago, without anything to denote the time change but I quickly got used to the story doing so. 

Jane Harper, after just two of her books, The Lost Man and The Survivors, ranks up there with my favorite authors. Now I'm on to audios of The Dry and Force of Nature. I'm looking forward to the next book that Jane Harper writes and hope it's not too far into the future. 

Pub: February 2, 2021

Thank you to Macmillan Audio and NetGalley for this ARC.
Profile Image for Emily May.
1,993 reviews298k followers
November 12, 2020
Even 2020 can't dampen Jane Harper's fire! Yet another atmospheric thriller from a recently-acquired fave of mine.

And I'm not just throwing "atmospheric" around because I think it sounds good. This is what makes Jane Harper's books so good for me, and it was the same with The Dry, Force of Nature and The Lost Man. Her settings are almost alive; almost characters in their own right. Here, the author takes us to the little coastal town of Evelyn Bay in Tasmania, and I swear I could feel the salt spray coming off the pages.

It's a stormy book on multiple levels. At the centre of the plot is the actual storm that happened twelve years ago; one which changed the characters' lives forever, left some wracked with grief, and others carrying the burden of guilt. Then another storm comes in the form of a murdered woman on the beach. Who could have done such a thing? And why? And is it somehow linked to the events that unfolded so many years ago?

Harper draws us into her characters' lives; into the tight-knit and complex relationships, governed by love, shared experiences, and, sometimes, blame. Kieran serves as the centre, but there's so much going on around him-- old friends with new lovers, old enemies still grinding that axe, parents who understandably never got over the loss of their child... the fictional town of Evelyn Bay is its own rich world.

And the author proves once again that she is capable of writing a mystery/thriller from the perspective of a civilian. As I said in my review of The Lost Man, so many mysteries are ridiculous when the MC is some kind of amateur sleuth, but Harper makes Kieran's discovery of hidden secrets seem natural and believable.

I look forward to what she writes next.
Profile Image for Charlotte May.
720 reviews1,119 followers
April 6, 2021
Jane Harper does it again!!!

This was my fourth read by Jane Harper - though I wouldn’t say it was my favourite, think my fave is still The Lost Man.

Kieran and his girlfriend Mia return to their hometown to introduce their newborn daughter to his parents. 12 years earlier Kieran’s brother Finn and other local boy Toby were killed in a drowning accident, but we are unsure of the particulars - this is revealed over time.

As always the atmosphere is gripping and dark. So many secrets and hidden agendas. When a young woman who was staying for the summer is found dead on the beach, all the old suspicions come back.

I won’t say too much only that there are plenty of characters so you’re never sure who it could be and the reveals are very satisfying. My only gripe would be that I would have liked a bit more info at the end - after the fallout.

Would have loved maybe just a epilogue covering the final bases.


Library copy available for pick up

More from Jane Harper! Come at me!!
Profile Image for Farrah.
221 reviews608 followers
October 5, 2020
4 bright and shining ⭐ for my first Jane Harper novel!!

This woman 𝙨𝙚𝙧𝙞𝙤𝙪𝙨𝙡𝙮 𝙠𝙣𝙤𝙬𝙨 𝙝𝙤𝙬 𝙩𝙤 𝙬𝙧𝙞𝙩𝙚

𝘛𝘸𝘦𝘭𝘷𝘦 𝘺𝘦𝘢𝘳𝘴 𝘢𝘨𝘰 𝘒𝘪𝘦𝘳𝘢𝘯'𝘴 𝘵𝘪𝘨𝘩𝘵-𝘬𝘯𝘪𝘵 𝘤𝘰𝘢𝘴𝘵𝘢𝘭 𝘩𝘰𝘮𝘦𝘵𝘰𝘸𝘯 𝘸𝘢𝘴 𝘥𝘦𝘷𝘢𝘴𝘵𝘢𝘵𝘦𝘥 𝘣𝘺 𝘢 𝘭𝘢𝘳𝘨𝘦 𝘴𝘵𝘰𝘳𝘮 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘩𝘢𝘥 𝘥𝘦𝘢𝘥𝘭𝘺 𝘤𝘰𝘯𝘴𝘦𝘲𝘶𝘦𝘯𝘤𝘦𝘴.
𝘕𝘰𝘸 𝘩𝘦'𝘴 𝘳𝘦𝘵𝘶𝘳𝘯𝘦𝘥, 𝘵𝘰 𝘩𝘦𝘭𝘱 𝘩𝘪𝘴 𝘢𝘨𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘱𝘢𝘳𝘦𝘯𝘵𝘴, 𝘸𝘩𝘦𝘯 a 𝘣𝘰𝘥𝘺 𝘪𝘴 𝘧𝘰𝘶𝘯𝘥 𝘮𝘶𝘳𝘥𝘦𝘳𝘦𝘥 𝘰𝘯 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘣𝘦𝘢𝘤𝘩.

This is a slow (and I mean slooowwww) burn, character driven mystery.

For me the best thing about this book is how realistic the characters are. Their actions and dialog are genuine and relatable. I enjoyed learning about all the townsfolk, both 12 years ago and at present time. It provided a lot of murder suspects and a lot of red herrings. Tons of fun!
Here is a strange (to me) quote

'𝘔𝘢𝘺𝘣𝘦.' 𝘔𝘪𝘢 𝘥𝘪𝘥𝘯'𝘵 𝘴𝘰𝘶𝘯𝘥 𝘤𝘰𝘯𝘷𝘪𝘯𝘤𝘦𝘥. '𝘉𝘶𝘵-'
𝘚𝘩𝘦 𝘴𝘵𝘰𝘱𝘱𝘦𝘥 𝘢𝘴 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘺 𝘣𝘰𝘵𝘩 𝘩𝘦𝘢𝘳𝘥 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘩𝘢𝘭𝘭 𝘧𝘭𝘰𝘰𝘳𝘣𝘰𝘢𝘳𝘥𝘴 𝘤𝘳𝘦𝘢𝘬. 𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘬𝘪𝘵𝘤𝘩𝘦𝘯 𝘥𝘰𝘰𝘳 𝘰𝘱𝘦𝘯𝘦𝘥 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘝𝘦𝘳𝘪𝘵𝘺 𝘤𝘢𝘮𝘦 𝘪𝘯....

I have 𝙣𝙚𝙫𝙚𝙧 seen a kitchen with a door leading to it! Is it an Australian thing? I'm so curious lol

Anyways, I highly recommend this fantastic, atmospheric book!
Profile Image for Phrynne.
3,332 reviews2,145 followers
September 17, 2020
An interesting, well written book but The Survivors did not grab me the way her earlier books have done.

I think it was maybe the lack of tension. Someone in the town was obviously the murderer but eventually they would get caught and that would be that. There were red herrings aplenty but I was pretty sure who it was not going to be so I could relax and enjoy the descriptions of beautiful Tasmania and those cold, cold waves lapping onto the beach and into the caves.

I did get nervous occasionally but mostly with Kieran's parenting skills. The places that little baby went was scary.

Anyway, for me this was an enjoyable read but not particularly memorable.

My thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read and review this book.

Profile Image for Paromjit.
2,715 reviews25k followers
November 5, 2020
Once again Jane Harper showcases her ability to atmospherically evoke the faultlines in a small community, this time in the coastal town of Evelyn Bay in Tasmania. In this character driven, slow burn of a mystery, Kieron Elliot, a sports physiotherapist, returns home to help his mother, Verity, help pack up their home in preparation for his dementia suffering father, Brian, to move into a care home. Kieron never came back after tragedy struck 12 years ago during a savage and devastating storm in which his golden older brother, Finn, and Toby, Liam's father, died trying to rescue 18 year old Kieron from the dangerous caves. On the same day, 14 year old Gabby Birch went missing, her bag recovered from the sea later. A guilt ridden Kieron has never really got over what happened, but like the statues in the sea, The Survivors, commemorating the loss of life in a wreck, he has survived, thanks to his strong connection and love for partner, Mia, and for Audrey, his baby daughter.

Kieron is shocked to see just how much Brian has deteriorated, hard to care for, with a habit of escaping and going wandering in the town. On the first evening back, Kieron meets with Ash, a childhood friend, who persuades him and Mia to meet another friend, Sean, at the Surf and Turf, an evening in which Kieron crosses paths with Liam Gilroy, who still holds him responsible for the death of his father. The events of 12 years ago come back to haunt the Evelyn Bay community after young vibrant artist and waitress Bronte Laidler is found murdered the following morning. Local cop, Sergeant Chris Renn, is joined by Hobart DI Sue Pendlebury in the murder inquiry. On an online forum and with each other, locals let rip, deciding who is guilty, as malice, gossip, resentments, jealousies, secrets, grief and trauma rise to the surface, with people spilling their guts about each other. Kieron finds himself revisiting a past where he thought he knew what happened, only to discover all was not as it appeared.

Harper excels in her depiction of small town coastal life, with the wide range of characters, from recent additions like author George Barlin, to Trish Birch, a ghost of a woman that has never got over the disappearance of her daughter, Gabby, convinced the police investigation into her disappearance was inadequate. Kieron and Ash were far from role model teenagers, Kieron's parents have never got over the loss of Finn, and whilst overtly never blaming him, emotions can often be darker and harder to rationalise in practice. It is this depth of subtle and nuanced characterisation, no-one emerges without flaws, that marks Harper as a terrific and compulsive writer whose talent has ensured the large number of readers that now follow her. A brilliant read that I thoroughly enjoyed! Many thank to Little, Brown for an ARC.

Profile Image for Carolyn (on vacation).
2,250 reviews642 followers
September 22, 2020
In her new novel Jane Harper has taken us away from the hot dry interior or wild rugged ranges of her previous books to a small coastal town on the southern coast of Tasmania. Evelyn Bay is the type of seaside town fondly remembered by many Australians for family summer holidays of endless hot, sunny days playing on a sandy beach beneath a perfectly blue sky. A town swamped by holidaymakers in summer that breathes a sigh of relief as autumn rolls in and the locals hunker down to wait out the off season.

Kieran and Mia have returned to Evelyn Bay, where they both grew up, to help Kieran's mother pack up the family house and move his father into a nursing home as his dementia worsens. To Kieran, nothing much seems to have changed in the town, but he can't help thinking back to the powerful storm twelves years ago that changed his life for ever as well as that of his family and friends. The death of a young woman the day after they arrive rakes up memories for the town of another young girl who disappeared without trace during that wild storm twelve years before.

As well as immersing us in atmospheric landscapes like that of Evelyn Bay with it's caves and statue called the Survivors on the cliffs overlooking a famous shipwreck, Jane Harper is so good at painting the relationships and frictions in small towns. The town has never allowed Kieran to forget the events that occurred during the storm and he still carries guilt over his role. But others in the town have hidden secrets about that day and as Detectives from Hobart start to investigate the young woman's death, the tension of the town rises and those secrets start to surface. There are many layers to the story with the local online community hub quickly becomes full of rumors and theories about who the killer might me. It's a slow burn of a story rather than a suspense driven thriller with quite a few red herrings present as the tale unfolds. My theory on what happened was completely wrong as I discovered in the dramatic ending. 4.5★

With many thanks to Pan Macmillan Australia and Netgalley for a copy to read
Profile Image for Richard (on hiatus).
160 reviews187 followers
January 31, 2021
When a body is found on the beach, the residents of Evelyn Bay, Tasmania, are deeply shocked, but there is a sense of deja vu. Minds are inevitably drawn to a similar death twelve years earlier and to the freak storm that preceded it - a storm that devastated the community and ripped apart several families.
Kieran and Mia return to this small seaside resort with their baby daughter, years after leaving to pursue their careers in Sydney. They are visiting Kieran’s parents who are dealing with the failing mental health of Kieran’s dad, and arrive a day before the body is discovered.
Whilst back in the community they link up with their old circle of close friends and become involved in the frightening events that unfold around them.
The Survivors is a superbly crafted thriller.
Although Jane Harper juggles a large cast of characters, there’s a clarity to her writing that keeps all personalities and strands of the plot in focus. Everything feels naturalistic and believable.
The sense of place is good too - a ramshackle community clinging to the coast, windswept beaches, troubled seas, the scream of seabirds, jagged cliffs and deep caves carved into the rock ........ all under the watchful gaze of three striking statues sunk into the sand, The Survivors.
In this atmospheric novel there are no tricks, misdirection or unlikely twists. Just a compelling mystery that is gradually uncovered.
The clues are all there but it’s very subtle - furtive glances, half heard conversations, fleeting memories etc and we gradually join the dots, along with the main characters. It’s all small signs and ciphers that if you’re clever enough you’ll spot (I of course came nowhere close!)
The plot builds to an ending that’s almost unbearably tense.
The Survivors is an intelligent and gripping novel, my third so far by Jane Harper. Much recommended!
I thank Netgalley and the publisher for this ARC.

My Reviews of previous Jane Harper novels:
The Dry
Force of Nature
Profile Image for Michael David (on hiatus).
656 reviews1,625 followers
January 23, 2021
January BOTM selection.

A slow burn mystery that is just oozing with atmosphere.

Kieran returns to the small Australian town of Evelyn Bay to help his mother and father move out of his childhood home. He brings along his girlfriend, Mia, and their baby daughter, Audrey. While Kieran has visited sporadically over the years, he’s never gotten over the storm 12 years prior.

On that unfortunately fateful day, a terrible storm rocked the community. As the storm raged, two people ended up dying, and a 14-year old girl went missing...never to be seen again.

Kieran wakes up every day with guilt in his heart, as he believes some of his actions that terrible day led to deadly consequences. Now, when a body is found on the beach, secrets from the past will be unburied and resurrected.

Before I say anything else, I just have to gush over the beautiful book cover. The moodiness of it is brilliant, and paints a perfect picture of how I imagined the beach in Evelyn Bay to look.

This is the first novel I have read by Jane Harper, and she excels in creating a mystery with atmosphere galore. I could feel the chill of the water. I could see the darkness inside the surrounding caves. I could smell the damp, salty air.

I also LOVED the small-town feel...everybody knowing everybody. The camaraderie between the characters was exquisite, and the dynamics between them kept me intrigued.

That said, it is a SLOW burn of a mystery, so you need to have patience and just go along with the story if you’re planning on enjoying it. Luckily, I was prepared in advance and kept my expectations in check. While things pick up near the satisfying ending, there is never a moment that had me gasping or racing to the next page.

Still, I found this to be an absorbing read that I purposely read when I was in the right mood for it.

Review also posted at: https://bonkersforthebooks.wordpress.com
Profile Image for jessica.
2,555 reviews35.7k followers
May 9, 2021
huh. im a little perplexed with this one. while the story still bears JHs trademark storytelling, a creeping narrative with complex characters and atmospheric setting, theres just something off about the editing of this one.

i often found myself confused with the time shifts. the present timeline and flashbacks occurring in the same paragraph often threw me off and forced me to reread sections multiple times. and the ending is probably the most abrupt conclusion i have ever read. i honestly thought my book was missing a chapter or epilogue, it feels that unfinished. i have never encountered this in any of JHs previous books, so im going to give her the benefit of the doubt and chalk it up to a publishing issue.

those things aside, i did actually enjoy the content of the story. im obsessed with how JH captures australia. whether its the outback or a sleepy seaside town, she makes the setting of her books a living thing, and this one is no exception. i felt immersed in the community and connected to each of the residents, both the local and passing through-ers. the story feels so realistic, as if it could happen to any small town.

so even though this wasnt the best reading experience due to editing issues, i still think the story itself is a really good one.

3.5 stars
Profile Image for Elyse Walters.
4,010 reviews624 followers
November 14, 2020
This was my favorite Jane Harper book. I loved the setting, the atmospheric seaside town, *Evelyn Bay*, ( a popular beach shoreline during the height of summer holidays—but off season most people had left), in Tasmania, ( the story takes place during the off season with the locals), the character development, and the unfolding of the entire story.
It had that movie panoramic visual going on.....
“The sea swelled again, and this time the drag of the undertow was strong enough that he took a step toward her. She didn’t notice. Her face was tilted down, the silver chain I have her necklace glinting against her collarbone as she leaned forward to examine something in the water. She dropped her skirt hem as the tide rushed out again, and lifted a hand to sweep aside her ponytail, which had fallen over one shoulder. It was heavy from the sea spray. A single strand of hair had caught in the corner of her mouth and she brushed it free, her fingertips running across her lips”.

From the Publisher:
“Kieran Elliott’s life changed forever on the day a reckless mistake led to devastating consequences. The guilt that still hunts them resurfaces during a visit with his young family to the small coastal community he wants called home. Kieran’s parents are struggling in a town where fortunes are forged by the sea. Between them all is his absent brother, Finn. When a body is discovered on the beach, long held secrets threaten to emerge. A second wreck, a missing girl, and questions that have never been washed away...”

Jane Harper did a wonderful job introducing the characters at the start.
We begin to feel part of the story.....
I literally felt liked I was plopped down on the beach....holding onto my beach hat before the sandy wind blew it off. I felt the chill in the air...

I was completely transported to Evelyn Bay.... to join the gang.
I was ready to get to work helping mom and dad, ( Brian and Verity), along with our key protagonist, Kieran Elliot, ( and girlfriend, Mia), help move Brian into a memory care facility. Brian had advanced stages of Alzheimer’s disease.
Kieran, Mia, and their three month year old baby, Audrey, ( who were living in Sydney), planned to stay for a week.
Kieran and Mia both grew up in Tasmania.
The first night home, Verity watches her grandchild while Kieran and Mia join old and new friends for drinks at Surf and Turf.

Old memories....and ceaseless pains of guilt were infinitely ingrained in Kieran for he felt castigated for deaths that occurred during a horrific storm - bigger than anything they had had in eighty years- twelve years ago.
Liam held a bulldozer over Kieran’s head ....held him responsible- and was unforgiving towards Kieran.
Liam was talking with Bronte (at the local pub hangout), who wasn’t privy to the local news of years before. The others, ( Kieran, Mia, Liam, Sean, Ash, Olivia, etc.), went to High School together. They and their
Parents ‘do’ remember the tragedy. Most locals saw the accident as an innocent sad tragedy ...and didn’t blame anyone ....
But.....Liam tells Bronte:
“The way I see it, you kill someone, you deserve all the shit that’s coming your way”.
“Two people actually. One of them was my dad”....Liam says.
“Shit. Seriously? There was stunned pause. Oh my God. What happened? No, I’m sorry, you don’t have to—“
“It’s fine. I mean, it’s not fine, obviously. But it was like 12 years ago now”.
The other person who died in that storm, was Kieran’s brother.

The community will be thrown into morning again with the discovery of a murdered young woman found on the beach. The murder evokes the death of another young woman who disappeared the day of the storm.

Secrets and suspense unravel to an ending I did not see coming.

Jane Harper is a scrupulous writer.... meticulously attentive to the nuances of her characters and topography.

Thank you Flatiron Books, Netgalley, and Jane Harper
Profile Image for Anne Bogel.
Author 6 books59.9k followers
February 4, 2021
I think I have a new favorite Jane Harper book (edging out The Dry, which has held the honor since I first read it in 2017).

In this new mystery, Harper returns to the themes that worked so well in her debut: a man returns to his tiny hometown to find that neither the community nor his family have forgotten or forgiven his involvement in a past tragedy—and that's before a fresh crime brings painful memories raging back.

The atmosphere took this book from 4-star to 5-star read for me. Much of the story is set in seaside caves that the local teens enjoy exploring—but flood when the tide comes in.

A deliciously creepy (and sometimes claustrophobic) tale of buried secrets, family tensions, and life after tragedy.
Profile Image for Val ⚓️ Shameless Handmaiden ⚓️.
1,864 reviews30.2k followers
November 4, 2021
4 Stars

This was my first book by Jane Harper and I really enjoyed it.

The star of the show was definitely the setting...the island, the town, and just the atmosphere as a whole. The book's namesake "Survivors" were such a haunting image that the author used as a veritable touchstone throughout the story. And to great effect.


I found that the caves almost felt like a character unto themselves as well. I could practically hear the wind and the waves coursing through them as I read.

I had my suspicions about the guilty party. I actually mentally pointed my finger at the correct party early on; however, I thought Harper did a great job at displacing those suspicions throughout the story and so, for the majority, I really wasn't sure who was at fault.

I'll admit that I found the ending reveal to be...somewhat lackluster and anti-climactic (in addition to being too abrupt). And I also didn't find the characters to be as fleshed out or compelling as they could have been...

But overall, I truly enjoyed this story and was entertained throughout. I will definitely be checking more Harper books.

Profile Image for Liz.
2,147 reviews2,767 followers
October 27, 2020
I’ve enjoyed each of Jane Harper’s previous three books. And this one wins four stars from me, too. She shows her versatility here, moving from the inland to a small Tasmanian beach town. But her ability to give us a true sense of place is the same.
Kieran has returned home with his young family to help his parents move. His father is suffering from early onset dementia. Kieran has been gone almost twelve years, since a bad decision on his part led to the death of his brother and friend during a violent storm. A young woman went missing in the same storm; her body was never found. Now, one day after his return, a young woman turns up dead on the beach.
There’s a great sense of underlying tension with this story. Everyone seems to have secrets and regrets. Harper totally gets small town life, where everyone knows everyone else’s business. And she adds a slice of modern day life, where an online forum opens up people’s suspicions, anger and vileness.
This isn’t a fast paced book, but it totally engaged me with its character studies and numerous possibilities as to who committed the crime. And I will say the ending took me totally by surprise.
A friend of mine swears by reading and listening to a book simultaneously. This is the first time I’ve done it. I found it a very enjoyable experience, allowing me to keep one story going. And this was a story I wanted to keep going.
I enjoyed the narrator, whose Australian accent was tv worthy. In other words, no problem for an American to understand. He doesn’t try to differentiate between the various voices or throw a lot of emotion into his voice. He’s a more straightforward, tell the story, kind of narrator.
My thanks to netgalley, Macmillan and Macmillan Audio for advance copies of this book.
Profile Image for Peter.
472 reviews2,557 followers
December 27, 2020
Jane Harper has cemented herself as a wonderful mystery crime writer, and her latest book The Survivors is a compelling story of grief, guilt and secrets that conceal the truth of events that rocked a community twelve years previously. Kieran Elliott has returned to Evelyn Bay, a small coastal town in Tasmania with his partner Mia and their daughter Audrey. Kieran has tortured himself since the day of the storm twelve years ago when his older brother, Finn and his friend, Toby died at sea trying to rescue him from a local landmark of sea caves and sculptures, called “The Survivors”. That same day, Gabby Birch the sister of his then-girlfriend, Olivia, and the best friend of his partner, Mia, went missing also presumed dead because of the storm. Guilt and suppressed blame, hang over so many characters and it lies in wait for the moment when feelings boil over.

Kieran and Mia have returned to Evelyn Bay to help his mother, Verity, move his father, living with dementia, to a care home. The return brings Kieran into contact with old friends and acquaintances, new residents, and holiday workers. The cast of characters is intriguing, full of light and shade, ensuring that unsettling undercurrents are fed with suspicion and hidden motives.

When the body of Bronte, a holiday worker at the Surf and Turf and an artist, and close friend Liam, of the group of friends, is found on the beach not far from her home, which she also shares with Olivia, the reflections of the past come flooding back.
“ ‘The guy with the baby?’ Bronte had said at last. ‘That guy? He killed someone?’ At least she sounded doubtful, Kieran had thought. Wrongly so, but still. ‘Yeah.’ Liam was annoyed now. ‘Two people actually. One of them was my dad.’”
There are several motives and scenarios developed to keep this an intriguing mystery. Who may be responsible and why this happened just as Kieran returned home?

The local policeman, Chris Renn investigates and murder along with DI Sue Pendlebury from Hobart. Renn is an interesting character because twelve years ago he was a rookie cop and was besotted with Olivia, now he is much more assured but there are misgivings that he harbours that may shed some light on the disappearance of Gabby years ago and the latest murder of Bronte. Kieran does as much investigating as the police and through his perspective, the story is told.

Jane Harper has a wonderful ability to paint the scene so vividly that the seaside location is suffused with sights and sounds, the wind and smell of the sea, the uneasiness walking across the beach at night, and the looming threat of being stranded in the caves as the tide comes in. This is a strong characteristic of Harper’s writing and the cliché of being transported to a place seems so much more real at her hand.

There were a few aspects of the story I baulked at, such as Kieran taking his three-month-old daughter harnessed to his chest into some dangerous situations for no real reason or consequence to the story, and some of the interactions between the characters.

I would recommend this book and I would like to thank Little Brown Book UK and NetGalley for providing me with a free ARC in return for an honest review
Profile Image for Lindsay L.
679 reviews1,325 followers
December 15, 2020
3.5 stars.

Chilling. Engrossing. Mysterious. Atmospheric.

Jane Harper knows how to write intensely atmospheric stories. She builds foreboding tension and suspense from the very start that keeps you captivated and hanging on until the very end. This book was no exception in that regard and it finished with a twisty, intense and unexpected ending which left me a satisfied reader.

The part that was lacking for me in this novel was the characters. I didn’t particularly like any of them which negatively affected my overall investment in the story. I was curious to see how things would come together but I didn’t truly care what happened and wasn’t rooting for anyone. It also took me a bit to understand “who was who” for the first portion of the book.

I’ve read and loved every one of this authors books. While this was a good read that I would recommend, it’s my least favourite of hers.

Thank you to Flat Iron books for the eGalley. Expected publication date is Feb 2nd.
Profile Image for Kaceey.
1,130 reviews3,715 followers
January 10, 2021
A tiny coastal town struggles with the past, when twelve years ago two young lives were lost at sea. And a third simply disappeared. Mystery and questions still linger surrounding their deaths.

Now the waters have claimed a new victim. Is it possible all these deaths could be tied together? Or maybe just pure coincidence?
Once again, the community is forced to re-live and come to grips with yet another loss.

It’s during this time that Kieran and his wife Mia are making plans to return to their hometown to help his father, now suffering with dementia. He’s also about to come face to face with his past.

A slow moving, deliberate thriller that delves into the lives of those haunted by the past tragedies.
At times I felt either the pace could be picked up, or the length shortened somewhat. But that’s just me, an impatient thriller girl.💁🏻‍♀️

My second read by this extremely popular and talented author. And though I enjoyed The Lost Man a bit more, I still look forward to reading more from this author.

A buddy 🎧 with Susanne!

Posted to https://books-are-a-girls-best-friend...

Thank you to NetGalley and Macmillan Audio
Profile Image for Lori Elliott (catching up).
747 reviews1,794 followers
September 22, 2020
I have enjoyed several of Jane Harpers novels and was looking forward to reading this. While I enjoyed it, it didn’t live up to what I’ve come to expect from her. JH is a master when it comes to creating believable settings that completely immerse you and she does that again in this. There was something with the characters interactions with each other just felt off. The baby’s involvement was weird too. She was written/treated like an accessory. Pick up... put down... leave on beach... leave at home. Didn’t really see the need for it.

Overall, this certainly wasn’t bad, just not one of my favorites. 3.5 stars.
Profile Image for Susanne.
1,168 reviews37.3k followers
December 28, 2020
Eerie, Atmospheric, and Taut.

Out at Sea, “The Survivors” can be seen off the caves; three life-size statues, standing guard facing the Mary Minerva which sank over a century ago.

In the newest novel by Jane Harper, the past and the preside collide for Kieran Elliott upon returning home to Evelyn Bay, Tasmania, a place he once called home.

A place he hasn’t returned to in a long time. For good reason. Kieran Elliott isn’t exactly welcome you see. Ten years prior, during one of the worst storms in history, Kieran made a mistake - a detrimental mistake. One that resulted in the loss of lives that hit way too close to home. His brother and his brother’s best friend died and a young girl went missing.

Now, Kieran, his wife Mia, and their newborn Audrey have returned to Evelyn Bay to care for his ailing father Brian when tragedy strikes yet again after a woman’s body is washed up on the beach.

Questions abound as both mysteries, past and present slowly unfold.

An extremely slow burn, the character development is excellent, keeping me wholly intrigued, wondering what each character was hiding.

The weather, dark, dangerous, and edgy, plays a huge part in the storyline, unfurling secrets of its own.

What Jane Harper truly excels at in my opinion, is her vivid descriptions of the atmosphere and the land and making both characters in their own right, which is no easy feat.

While I liked this novel, I preferred “The Lost Man” as I just loved the characters of Nathan and Xander. That being said, Ms. Harper is becoming a favorite author of mine as I love character-driven fiction.

This was another fabulous buddy read with Ms. Kaceey.

Thank you to Flatiron Books, NetGalley, and MacMillion Audio for the alc.

Published on Goodreads on 12.27.20.
Shelved as 'dnf'
February 17, 2021
DNF @ page 100.

Jane Harper is one of my favorite authors, with The Dry and The Lost Man two of my favorite books in recent years. This book was one of my most anticipated books of the year.

I usually enjoy a slow burn, character-study but this was so slow it was glacial and the characters were flat and uninteresting (to me). I was having trouble keeping them straight (Kiernan, Ash, Bronte, Sean, Mia, Olivia, Liam, Verity, etc...oh my) and couldn't understand why till I read Teghan's review: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...

That was it! A Name Soup! In one short passage a name is mentioned fourteen times! My head was spinning trying to keep who was who straight.....
When I put the book down I wasn't compelled to pick it back up and instead found things to do, anything to do, to avoid picking it up.

Few authors can write atmospheric, compelling, and literary mysteries as well as this author but this was a total miss. I'm still a fan and I'll be in line for her next book.

This isn't a slump, just some poor choices (for ME), and an unwillingness to continue with a book when I'm struggling to maintain interest. Many have loved it so do take this with a grain of salt and read the many 4 & 5 star reviews.
Profile Image for Orsodimondo.
2,196 reviews1,819 followers
August 12, 2023

Da bambina Jane Harper si è spostata dalla nativa Inghilterra all’Australia. Credo che ormai la si possa considerare australiana a tutti gli effetti. E in Australia sono ambientati i suoi tre romanzi dedicati all’agente federale Aaron Falk, con un fortissimo senso del paesaggio, che diventa un personaggio protagonista a tutti gli effetti, luoghi che plasmano inevitabilmente la vita di chi li abita.
Ora in questo romanzo del 2020 - che credo resterà senza seguito – è andata ad ambientare la sua storia in un luogo immaginario della Tasmania, la grande isola a sud dell’Australia. Chiama il posto Evelyn Bay, e mi pare di capire che lo collochi sulla costa meridionale della Tasmania, quella che affaccia verso l’Antartide.
Evelyn Bay, così come Harper lo descrive, è un paesello con meno di mille abitanti. Durante l’alta stagione Evelyn Bay si riempie di turisti che arrivano da tutto il mondo – anche un portoghese, Marco, che ha una storia con Bronte, la vittima – in questo periodo le attività prosperano, chi affitta case o stanze o solo letti, chi affitta barche, chi insegna o guida i sub in immersioni, bar e ristoranti.
In passato c’erano altre attività, il paese viveva sulla propria economia: ora si affida esclusivamente a quella turistica. Solo nei mesi estivi.

Nel corso dei secoli ci sono stati più di mille naufragi su quelle coste. Uno proprio davanti a Evelyn Bay qualche decennio prima: tutti morti, cinquantaquattro naviganti. Il relitto giace sul fondale, le escursioni sub lo hanno adottato come meta prediletta.
Sulle rocce la comunità ha collocato una statua composta da tre figure che superano la grandezza umana: tre naviganti che si sono salvati e che guardano in direzione del luogo dell’ultimo mortale naufragio.
La composizione scultorea è chiamata “I sopravvissuti” (anche se nel naufragio morirono tutti). E il titolo originale del romanzo è per l’appunto The Survivors.
Viene da pensare che i veri sopravvissuti sono gli abitanti di Evelyn Bay: in particolare quelli legati più o meno direttamente a dei tragici fatti successi dodici anni prima: Finn e Toby, due giovani soci e amici con un’impresa nautica e di escursioni subacquee morti affogati durante una tempesta micidiale, tutti dicono per cercare di salvare il diciottenne fratello rimasto intrappolato dentro una grotta a causa dell’alta marea (situazione descritta come estremamente pericolosa). Lo stesso giorno sparì una quattordicenne di cui si ritrovò solo lo zaino emerso qualche giorno dopo.
Tre morti tragiche e violente nello stesso giorno. In molti nel paese anche dodici anni dopo portano il lutto. Nessuno riesce a dimenticare.

Keiran torna da Sydney a Evelyn Bay per aiutare i suoi genitori a impacchettare e traslocare, ora che suo padre è scomparso nel "vuoto" a causa di una demenza precoce. È stato via dodici anni, ormai vive e lavora in Australia. Ha appena avuto una bimba, e anche Mia, la sua compagna, viene da Evelyn Bay: era coetanea e migliore amica della quattordicenne scomparsa dodici anni prima.
Tornare a casa non è mai facile. E per Keiran lo è anche di più: perché è il fratello minore che tutti dicono Finn cercava di salvare il giorno della tragedia.
Uno dei migliori amici di Keiran è Sean, fratello minore di Toby, l’altro morto in quel tremendo incidente. E Sean è ovviamente lo zio di Liam, figlio di Toby, che all’epoca era un bambino di sette anni, e ancora adesso, dodici anni dopo, accusa Keiran di essere la causa della morte di suo padre, lo incolpa di avergli rovinato l’esistenza.
Poi c’è Olivia, o Liv, che è la sorella maggiore della quattordicenne morta quel fatidico giorno: adesso è fidanzata con Ash, l’altro migliore amico di Keiran. Ma dodici anni fa, più o meno all’insaputa di tutti, lei e Keiran avevano una storia. Consumata nelle grotte. Così passionale da non accorgersi della marea che saliva. Fino al punto di mettere a rischio la loro stessa vita. E involontariamente causando la morte di Finn e Toby.

Sono tutti legati, intrecciati, vincolati, connessi. Sono tutti sopravvissuti. Sono tutti soggetti a senso di colpa. Sembrano tutti nascondere segreti. E Jane Harper lo racconta con una costante nota tesa e sospesa che è una meraviglia.
Harper si tiene lontana dai corsivi, quelle parti che sembrano d’obbligo in thriller crime noir polizieschi per dar voce al killer di turno o raccontare gli antecedenti: mischia presente e passato come se nulla fosse, secondo me alzando la qualità del suo racconto.
E si tiene alla larga da scene di violenza, da armi, spari, coltelli, tagli, sangue. Racconta quello che sembra potrebbe accadere nella vita quotidiana di tanti di noi.
Il finale potrebbe lasciare qualcuno un po’ insoddisfatto, ma anche no.
Per me è il terzo centro con questa scrittrice.

Profile Image for Ceecee.
2,084 reviews1,663 followers
October 17, 2020
The Survivors is a sculpture in the sea by an old wreck and also those who survive a terrible storm over ten years ago including Kieran Elliott. His return home to Evelyn Bay in Tasmania opens up old wounds especially as more tragedy befalls the small coastal community.

This is a story of grief, guilt and blame which weighs heavily on people and this is depicted really well and at times, very movingly. As you would expect from Jane Harper this is extremely well written and is an excellent portrait of a small community with suspicion hanging over it and the devastation that can cause. There are tantalising hints about the past and events in the present in this slow burner of a novel. In places I find the pace is a bit too slow in the first 50% but the pace increases in the second half as the mystery deepens and mistrust strengthens. This half makes for gripping reading as you really don’t know who to trust, who to believe and you cast your eye over everyone. I think the outcome is a good surprise and fits well with those tantalising hints! I love the atmosphere that the author creates using the weather to great effect and especially the past storm, she uses the ebb and flow of the cold ocean to symbolise the attitudes of the inhabitants of Evelyn Bay. This really resonates with me and it is as if you are actually present on the shore. I love the use of the dangerous caves which hide as much as the people do and are an excellent metaphor for submerged secrets. The character development is really good especially in Kieran’s family and you feel so much is weighing on his mother Verity's shoulders.

Overall, despite my thoughts on the first part this is a really good, exceptionally well written and atmospheric slow burner with a fantastic setting in Tasmania, which I recommend.

With thanks to NetGalley and Little, Brown Book Group for the much appreciated arc in return for an honest review.
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