Chelsea Humphrey's Reviews > The Lost Man

The Lost Man by Jane Harper
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it was amazing
bookshelves: from-publisher, netgalley
Recommended to Chelsea by: Flatiron Books

"He used to say the ones who wandered off called the loudest. For the rest of their lives, their mums would hear them crying out in the wind. Do you think that's true? That this place has ghosts? That the mothers would hear their lost children in the wind."

Guys, I'm blown away. I've been a colossal fan of Jane Harper since her debut novel The Dry was published, and more specifically a massive fan of her series protagonist Aaron Falk. Her lush, atmospheric way of writing makes me feel the heat of the Australian outback, and her character driven plots are more engaging than any high octane thriller, placing Harper squarely in the ring as one of the finest writers today. When I found out that The Lost Man would be a stand-alone novel, set apart from her police procedural series, I was a bit anxious due to the fact that I love those novels so much. Clearly, I had nothing to be concerned over, as I'm tempted to go so far as confirming that this is Harper's best work of fiction to date.

"Dead men didn't talk. Nathan must have thought that a hundred times over the years, but as he drove past the grave, the idea slipped slightly, taking on a strange and unfamiliar form. It was uncomfortable as it lodged itself in the darkest corner of his mind."

One of the most appealing aspects of The Lost Man is how it takes a traditional genre and puts the author's unique flair on the subject. If you've spent any time in the world of crime fiction, then you have likely read your fair share of police procedurals and may have even grown weary of their repetitive, familiar behavior. Here, Harper has inserted an amateur detective, the murder victim's brother, and made it read in a believable manner that feels neither contrived nor overdone. As we follow Nathan's journey in determining if his brother Cam was murdered or committed suicide, there are no fancy tricks or improbable action sequences where we shake our heads thinking, "No amateur would be able to pull that off!"

"Sometimes, the space almost seemed to call to Nathan. Like a faint heartbeat, insistent and persuasive... Life out here is hard. We all try to get through the best way we can. But trust me, there's not a single person here who isn't lying to themselves about something."

Is this a book that will shock you with unexpected twists and floor you with its unpredictable plot? Probably not. As someone who has read more "twisty" psychological thrillers than I can count, I'm finding it beyond difficult to pick up one of those that actually surprises me, or entertains me anymore. The Lost Man isn't that type of read though; this is a timeless tale of family dynamics, all-too familiar abuse, and perhaps a small enough cast that you will possibly guess the final outcome before the reveal. Let it be known, however, that I did NOT have it all nailed down before then.

This is the beauty of the book though; it's a small enough cast that your suspicion is cast upon everyone, and as the story progresses between past and present, the reader is brought to an emotional climax after a tense journey alongside of Nathan and his family. The excellence is in Harper's style of writing, her ability to captivate the reader, and talented way of transporting us to a place we may never have a chance to visit in person in our lifetime. If you enjoy emotionally charged, character driven stories, please do yourself a favor and pick this one up the second it lands in your hands. I feel privileged to have found one of my Top Ten reads of 2019 in the first month of the year, but I'll be thinking about this gem of a novel for a considerable amount of time.

*I received a review copy via the publisher.
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Reading Progress

October 1, 2018 – Shelved
January 4, 2019 – Started Reading
January 4, 2019 –
42.0% "I was nervous about this being a stand-alone (and just generally unrelated to Aaron Falk), but this very well may be Harper’s best work to date. 👏🏼"
January 5, 2019 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-48 of 48 (48 new)

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message 1: by Erin (new)

Erin Clemence Chelsea, great review! I keep trying to find time to read more of Harper's books (I have read "The Dry") but I never seem to! I really must get on this!


Chelsea Humphrey Erin wrote: "Chelsea, great review! I keep trying to find time to read more of Harper's books (I have read "The Dry") but I never seem to! I really must get on this!"

Thanks Erin! It’s worth your time; I think this one may be even better than her second book was. It’s heavily character driven, but I couldn’t put it down!


message 3: by Brittany (new)

Brittany I LOVE Jane Harper! So glad to see this one is great too!


Chelsea Humphrey Brittany wrote: "I LOVE Jane Harper! So glad to see this one is great too!"

I can't wait for you to read this one Brittany; you're in for a treat!


Paula Glad to see 5 stars for this fine author, Chelsea!


Chelsea Humphrey Paula wrote: "Glad to see 5 stars for this fine author, Chelsea!"

You won't regret reading this one Paula!


Ashley I just finished this last week - read it in a day and loved it!


Chelsea Humphrey Ashley wrote: "I just finished this last week - read it in a day and loved it!"

It really was a fast read! I finished it in about a day and a half myself.


message 9: by Lucy (new)

Lucy Langford Brilliant review, Chelsea! Can’t wait to read this 😊


Chelsea Humphrey Lucy wrote: "Brilliant review, Chelsea! Can’t wait to read this 😊"

Thanks Lucy; I hope you enjoy it as well!


Dorie  - Cats&Books :) great review Chelsea, I really enjoyed this one also, love Jane Harper :)


Chelsea Humphrey Dorie - Traveling Sister :) wrote: "great review Chelsea, I really enjoyed this one also, love Jane Harper :)"

Thanks Dorie! Loved your review as well. 💖


Brandice Great review, Chelsea! I haven’t ready Harper’s other books but am eager to read this one soon 🙂. Glad you enjoyed it!


j e w e l s Fab review Chelsea!! I’m in love with Jane Harper’s books—-Can’t wait to read this one 😊😊


Chelsea Humphrey j e w e l s wrote: "Fab review Chelsea!! I’m in love with Jane Harper’s books—-Can’t wait to read this one 😊😊"

Brandice wrote: "Great review, Chelsea! I haven’t ready Harper’s other books but am eager to read this one soon 🙂. Glad you enjoyed it!"

Thank you ladies! I hope you both enjoy it!


Andrew Smith Fabulous review, Chelsea. I love this one too.


Chelsea Humphrey Andrew wrote: "Fabulous review, Chelsea. I love this one too."

Thank you so much Andrew!


Elena L. Fantastic review!!!


Chelsea Humphrey Elena wrote: "Fantastic review!!!"

Thank you!


Bianca Great review. I loved it, too.


Chelsea Humphrey Bianca wrote: "Great review. I loved it, too."

Thanks Bianca!


message 22: by Matt (new) - rated it 4 stars

Matt Nice review Chelsea. I wish books like this would be more popular. We don't always need complicated twists for a book to be interesting.


Chelsea Humphrey Matt wrote: "Nice review Chelsea. I wish books like this would be more popular. We don't always need complicated twists for a book to be interesting."

Thank you Matt and I wholeheartedly agree!


message 24: by Jasmin (new) - added it

Jasmin Carrington Can't wait to read this book. I have pre-ordered it on my kindle :-)


Chelsea Humphrey Jasmin wrote: "Can't wait to read this book. I have pre-ordered it on my kindle :-)"

Can’t wait for you to read it Jasmin; enjoy! 🤗


message 26: by Deanna (new)

Deanna Awesome review!


Chelsea Humphrey Deanna wrote: "Awesome review!"

Thank you so much De!


AnneS Spillers I'm surprised at how many people described it as slow. I couldn't put it down and read it in about 36 hours. It was an amazing book and I would argue her best yet.


Chelsea Humphrey AnneS wrote: "I'm surprised at how many people described it as slow. I couldn't put it down and read it in about 36 hours. It was an amazing book and I would argue her best yet."

I completely agree! I think I read the second half in one sitting!


Holly I absolutely agree with you about how nice it was for this to NOT be a police procedural and yet still believable how the brother solves the mystery. Definitely a gem!


Chelsea Humphrey Holly wrote: "I absolutely agree with you about how nice it was for this to NOT be a police procedural and yet still believable how the brother solves the mystery. Definitely a gem!"

So glad you loved this too Holly!


message 32: by Lisa (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lisa Jordan It was so good!
Love your review.
This one felt more like a character driven family saga (with a mystery in need of solving) as opposed to a 'thriller' IMO, which works beautifully in this story.
An Aussie journalist suggested to Harper that this would be a movie perfect for the Hemsworth brothers (there are 3 of them). I couldn't agree more with that fantasy casting!


Chelsea Humphrey Lisa wrote: "It was so good!
Love your review.
This one felt more like a character driven family saga (with a mystery in need of solving) as opposed to a 'thriller' IMO, which works beautifully in this story. ..."


Thank you Lisa and I agree! How can we get the Hemsworth brothers on board? 🧐


message 34: by Lisa (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lisa Jordan *runs off to spam their social media*


Chelsea Humphrey Lisa wrote: "*runs off to spam their social media*"

🤣🤣🤣


Nancy Brilliant review,Chelsea! I agree totally with everything you said. Can’t wait for the next Jane Harper.


Chelsea Humphrey Nancy wrote: "Brilliant review,Chelsea! I agree totally with everything you said. Can’t wait for the next Jane Harper."

Thank you so much Nancy; so pleased that you enjoyed this one as well!


message 38: by Allen (new) - added it

Allen Batchelar I agree. I found her descriptions in The Dry to be so visual and they gave a real sense of place.


Chelsea Humphrey Allen wrote: "I agree. I found her descriptions in The Dry to be so visual and they gave a real sense of place."

Yes!!! I feel like I've been there.


message 40: by Phyl (new) - rated it 3 stars

Phyl My 1st Jane Harper book and I’m hooked. I will look for more. Suspenseful storytelling at its best and set in the unforgiving Australian outback.


Chelsea Humphrey Phyl wrote: "My 1st Jane Harper book and I’m hooked. I will look for more. Suspenseful storytelling at its best and set in the unforgiving Australian outback."

I'm so thrilled that you loved it! Definitely check out her other two published books. Excellent stuff!


message 42: by John (new)

John Johnston Another riveting read by Jane Harper and an excellent review by Chelsea. I like her comment how the author transports you to another place where you may never visit and how the harsh climate and landscape shapes the characters and influences their behaviour. Once I started reading this book, I couldn't stop and no doubt, this book will be in my top 5 of favourite reads in 2019


Chelsea Humphrey John wrote: "Another riveting read by Jane Harper and an excellent review by Chelsea. I like her comment how the author transports you to another place where you may never visit and how the harsh climate and la..."

Thank you for your kind words, John. I'm thrilled that you loved this book as well! Is it your first by Jane Harper? If so, I highly recommend checking out her Aaron Falk series as well.


message 44: by John (new)

John Johnston Hi Chelsea, I read all 3 of Jane Harper's book and all this year. I was introduced to this author when I met with a Aussie couple while skiing in Whistler BC in January. They introduced me to Jane Harper and to "Scrublands" by Chris Hammer. This was another enjoyable read about the Outback. (just realized that I drive a Subaru Outback by the way)


message 45: by John (new)

John Johnston Chelsea - what are some of your other enjoyable reads?


Chelsea Humphrey John wrote: "Chelsea - what are some of your other enjoyable reads?"

John wrote: "Hi Chelsea, I read all 3 of Jane Harper's book and all this year. I was introduced to this author when I met with a Aussie couple while skiing in Whistler BC in January. They introduced me to Jane ..."

Ah that is lovely! I tend to read a little bit of everything. Another favorite author of mine who writes solid, character driven mysteries is Harlan Coben. I highly recommend anything written by him if you haven't experienced his books!


Lindsey Clewett You nailed it with this review, Chelsea and I agree with everything you said. The charm of this book lies in its outback setting and rich characters. Rather than being a twisty crime thriller it’s a layered mystery with the depth coming from the characters rather than the mystery itself, with layers slowly being peeled away to reveal a little more about this person and another suggestion of what could have happened. And a few red herrings thrown in for good measure. Superb.


Chelsea Humphrey Lindsey wrote: "You nailed it with this review, Chelsea and I agree with everything you said. The charm of this book lies in its outback setting and rich characters. Rather than being a twisty crime thriller it’s ..."

Ah thank you so much! Kind of you to say, and so thrilled we both agree that this book was stellar!


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