Chelsea Humphrey's Reviews > The Dry

The Dry by Jane Harper
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it was amazing
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I know it's early days, but I have a feeling this will be a top read of 2017 for me; I'll go as far as saying if I had read it last year it would have been in my top 2016 reads. The writing is excellent, the pacing was quick with fully fleshed characters, and the ending was satisfying without being too cut and dry. Half the fun of this story is, even if you guess at the who, you probably won't guess the why until it's revealed. This was a perfect example of a book being extremely dark and terrifying without being overly graphic for the shock value.

"It wasn't as though the farm hadn't seen death before, and the blowflies didn't discriminate. To them there was little difference between a carcass and a corpse."

Your attention; I have it, right? Those are powerful opening lines, and when placed within the full fledged prologue you have one of the most intriguing and gripping introductions to a book I have ever read. Please don't misunderstand, this isn't a break neck thriller that you rush to read in one sitting; it's more the slow, delicate sipping of a fine wine that you tend to gradually chug more quickly as you reach the bottom of the bottle. If someone asked me how I felt a police procedural should be written and what details should be included I would simply hand them a copy of this book and tell them to read it. I feel privileged to have found such a golden story to catalogue in my mind so early in the year; the complex web of deceit and lies in this farmland of Australia completely captivated me to the point I actually found myself trying to piece together the various mysteries while doing other daily activities.

While the writing was excellent and the mysteries were well done, what placed this book in 5 star land for me was the depth and beauty given to the characters. I was so engrossed in these people that I actually felt present for each conversation; the descriptions of the setting were so incredible that I thought I would break out into a sweat at any moment from the drought I was mentally present for. I honestly can't think of a single complaint of what I would change about this book. While you may guess correctly on the "whodunnit" in both present day and past mysteries (due to a limited pool of characters to choose from) you likely won't guess why. I had missed a tiny clue, just as our characters did, which caused me to go down the wrong path and find myself just as shocked as the police officers. I adored the way the author chose to slowly unravel the plot and how she really ramped up the tension and action near the end where I felt my heart about to beat out of my chest. I'm attaching a footnote regarding the triggers in this book, so feel free to browse it at the end of this review if it's a concern for you.

As I was browsing on Goodreads, I noticed this is set to be the first installment in a series featuring our main character Falk. I'm really torn on this, as I felt the ending was perfect as it was. I'm one of the few who doesn't like everything neat and tidy, and while The Dry gave us plenty of closure, it left a few things open which I felt gave the book that final umpf of power to shine above the rest. I'm a little worried that a series will continue to focus on beating that particular "openness" to death to the point nothing is left vague. On the other hand, I'm dying for more Aaron Falk! I'd love to see him handling more cases and I would really love to see a return of many other characters like Raco and Gretchen, but also some minor ones like Jamie and the doctor. Rambling now, but needless to say highly HIGHLY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. Please put this on your radar folks if you haven't yet. If you enjoy an excellent mystery that is a police procedural not heavy on the mundane details, this is for you. Incredibly well done and I'm absolutely FLOORED that this is a debut novel. I believe we'll be seeing much more of Harper to come.

Thanks Lisa Jordan for sending me your personal copy last year. She mailed it all the way from Australia and it's been a blast discussing the creepy crawlies (read monsters) that live (read prowl) in the area there. You all are brave souls!

*Trigger warning- if you've read the plot summary then you know the premise is a father shooting his family and then himself-the mystery is whether he truly was the guilty party or if someone else was and framed it to appear that way. While the author did a fantastic job of writing with respect and caution on such a disturbing subject, there is brief discussion of the shooting of the young son that may be disturbing for some readers. Overall, the story isn't graphic and the violence is mainly implied.
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Reading Progress

June 28, 2016 – Shelved
January 14, 2017 – Started Reading
January 14, 2017 –
page 118
35.98% "The pacing is pretty steady but I'm totally captivated. It's books like this one that make me question if I'm a sociopath for enjoying such dark and twisted stories. \n*confers with husband* \nMr. H says yes. I'm a sociopath. But I'll remind you that I'm not the one who farts on people in my sleep."
January 15, 2017 –
page 215
65.55% "So, this book keeps talking about a spider called a huntsman, and Mr. Humphrey decided to show me a picture against my will and clearly I retaliated by claiming it would bite his nipple off in his sleep. *please don't have dreams about human eating spiders*"
January 16, 2017 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-50 of 182 (182 new)


Margitte It's my next read. Cannot wait to start!


Chelsea Humphrey Oh yay! So far it's fabulous!


message 3: by Tad (new) - rated it 5 stars

Tad This was my favorite book from last year. Hope you'll love it!


Chelsea Humphrey Thanks Tad!


Margitte Wonderful read for me as well, Chelsea. Hope you love it too.


Chelsea Humphrey Thanks Margitte!


Monnie Loved this one, Chelsea - hope you do too!


Chelsea Humphrey Thanks Monnie! Hoping to make major headway tonight; I'm about halfway through and loving it!


message 9: by Kim (new) - rated it 3 stars

Kim Kaso Got it this weekend.


Chelsea Humphrey Oo Kim pick it up immediately! I can't recommend this enough. This is how a police procedural should be written!


message 11: by Melanie (new) - added it

Melanie Nice review Chelsea!


Chelsea Humphrey Thanks guys! You'll want to invest in this one. I'm not sure this story will ever leave me. I'm absolutely floored that this was a debut.


Kendall I'm reading this as well right now! I'm about 50 percent in and can't wait to finish it now!!!!


Chelsea Humphrey Ah Kendall hope you love it!!


Suzanne Great debut, hey? So old here by now, definitely a fave for 16'!


Chelsea Humphrey True Suzanne!


Maureen Glad you enjoyed it too Chelsea.


Chelsea Humphrey Thanks Maureen!


Taryn I agree with your thoughts completely! I was surprised it was a debut too. It was so well-done from beginning to end!


Chelsea Humphrey Thanks Taryn; I'm glad to see this has had such a great liking!


message 21: by Hari (new) - rated it 3 stars

Hari Prasad M This one is available in eBook! Yay! :D Just finished the sample, and I am hooked! Buying it for sure!


Chelsea Humphrey Oh I'm so glad to hear that Hari!


Sam (Clues and Reviews) Awesome review! I loved this one too!


Chelsea Humphrey Thanks Adam! ;)


Karen Great review! It's on my list :)


Chelsea Humphrey Thanks Karen!


Monnie Love, love, loved it - glad you did too. Terrific review, Chelsea!


Chelsea Humphrey Thanks Monnie! Working on the full on review now; just realized this is meant to be the beginning of a new series!


message 29: by Lucy (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lucy Hay The shootong of the little one is truly horrifying but like you say, handled without gratuitous or sensational violence. If I had one gripe about this book it would be that a certain element of the plot was 'backended' to the resolution - I suspect to set up the series with Falk.


Chelsea Humphrey I agree Lucy! It'll be interesting to see how it goes from here out!


message 31: by Kerry (new)

Kerry Great review!


Chelsea Humphrey Thanks Kerry!


message 33: by Lisa (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lisa Jordan I'm so glad you loved it! I too am on the fence about a follow up to this one, it was so perfect all on its own. I read somewhere that though Aaron Falk will return, the next book will not be in Kiewarra, so will have to wait and see where we go from there. I'm certainly willing to let Jane Harper lead me just about anywhere! Great review Chelsea


Chelsea Humphrey Oh Lisa that eases my fears for sure! I'm excited about the series now! Seriously can't thank you enough for the book; it might not have made it to my TBR if it weren't for you!


message 35: by Melissa (new)

Melissa Spiders aside . . . I'm even more intrigued now! Great review. :)


Chelsea Humphrey Thanks Melissa!


Diane S ☔ Excellent review, I loved this one too. Going to make a great series.


Chelsea Humphrey Thanks Diane; I must have been late to the party in not realizing this would be a series!


Brenda Well, Chelsea, after we just talked about Becky Masterman's books, I find your review of The Dry. I have that book sitting here, too! So glad to see 5 stars from you! Tempted to change my plan, but think I'll stick with Becky first. LOL!


Chelsea Humphrey Oh Brenda I'm so glad to hear that! I hope you enjoy both and I don't think you can go wrong either way.


message 41: by Mike (new) - added it

Mike Wonderful review, Chelsea. This is a book I am most eager to get my hands on.


Chelsea Humphrey Thanks Mike! I can really see you enjoying this one. I can't get it out of my head!


message 43: by Anne (new) - rated it 4 stars

Anne I agree with your comment about feeling you really know the characters well. I couldn't put the book down until finished. I could see myself watching what was happening and trying to solve the possible ending, as if seeing it in a movie. Great read! Need to unwind now before I begin another book.


Chelsea Humphrey Thank you Anne! I 100% understand the feeling.


message 45: by Kelly (new) - added it

Kelly Anne Thanks for the review! It's going to be my next book!


Chelsea Humphrey Oh Kelly, can't wait for your thoughts!


Victoria Those ARE powerful opening lines as are those in your review! I really enjoy police procedurals, but what seems to put this one over the top is the characterization. Sold!


Chelsea Humphrey Thank you Victoria! I'm still thinking about this book; I can't wait to see where her next book takes us. :)


Leslie Ann I'm reading this one now. I'm halfway through and I just can't put it down! I'm dying to know what happened in both the present day plot AND the storyline of Ellie!


Chelsea Humphrey Oh leslie I hope you love it! Be sure and let me know what you think!


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