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Group Read - The Dry > Group Read - The Dry Chapters 1-10 Spoilers Welcome

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message 1: by Ann (new)

Ann (annrumsey) | 14623 comments This segment is for discussion of the first ten chapters of Jane Harper's The Dry. SPOILERS WELCOME
Does the book start off the way you expected?
The first to post please provide a brief summary of this set of chapters to guide the discussion. Thanks!


message 2: by Jack (new)

Jack | 179 comments Prologue
Bit of a creepy opening from the blowfly perspective finding a dead body in a field and two in a house with baby alive and starting to cry.

Chapter 1
Falk is at the funeral for Luke Karen and Billy Handler. The deceased father Luke was a friend who he grew up with in the town. there is a photo of luke, falk and two girls. A reference is made to one of the girls in a photo being dead a few weeks after it was taken.
Luke's father sent a letter to him to be at the funeral to speak with him a quote saying Luke lied, you lied be at the funeral. He and the grandmother are looking after the surviving family member, baby Charlotte.
People start to recognise Falk making him feel uneasy.

Chapter 2
Falk is recognised by Gretchen was part of their group as kids. We learn his name is Aaron Falk. Gretchen has a 5yo boy Lachie and a local sheep farm. they catch up, there is apprehension about people recognising him at the wake.
Gerry Hadler greets falk and explains that he wanted to know if Falk thinks Luke may have killed before.
Falk asks gretchen about Luke being suicidal and Gretchen explains the drought is having a bad effect on everyone. then there is a speech about Luke and a rough feller Grant Dow interrupts with a quip about him butchering his family.

Chapter 3
Falk is in his room above the pub when he gets a call from Gerry to come over to see him and his wife Barb
They catch up & we learn falk's dad died 6 years ago from cancer.
Barb doesn't believe Luke killed his family and wants Falk to investigate and clear his name.
Gerry thinks Luke may have done it. he knows Luke and Falk lied about their alibi when Ellie deacon ( the girl in the photo) died and kept quiet. He wants to know why they lied and who was protecting who. He feels guilty that he should have stopped Luke back then if he was capable of murder.
Falk remembers about a time with Luke as kids where he catches Luke after he looks to have killed a baby rabbit.

Chapter 4
Falk inspects the scene of Luke's families death. He has committed to staying until the weekend to look into the farms financials.
Sargent raco is there too and he lays ground rules for Falk.
They look for a spot for Luke to hide ammo. Raco explains The shotgun rounds found from the shootings were different to what he has for his gun.

Chapter 5
Still at the farm Raco explains the crime scene when he arrived. The local Gp was there as he was closest to the scene when the call came in.
Raco explains his reason for doubting Luke doing it. Karen was shot answering the door, Billy was searched for while hiding in his room, leaving Charlotte alive. Falk follows Raco's thoughts and has real doubts about Luke doing it and suspect the murderer left Charlotte as she wasn't a viable witness.

Chapter 6
Raco and Falk at the bar. Falk extends his stay with owner and is warned about being trouble.
Raco goes through more notes on the case. The scene where Luke was found in his Ute is explained. There are some odd marks in the blood. Falk is suspicious the finger prints are too clean to be naturally placed.
Luke was last seen by Jamie Sullivan when they were shooting for rabbits on his property.
They view cctv footage of the farm
Raco is committed to getting to the truth.

Chapter 7
At the pub with falk and raco. Grant Dow confronts them in the bar. He is Ellie deacons cousin and lives with his uncle mal deacon Ellie father.
Mal is old and confused and thinks Falk is his father. Raco steps in and they move on.
Falk recounts what happened with Ellie body being found while defending himself against deacons accusations.
After her body was found a note was found with her things. All it said was Falk. Luke came and thought up the alibi for them. Falk was fishing on his own and so agreed to go along with it.

Chapter 8
Falk recounts a scene at Ellies farm when they were 11. Her dad shearing quite cruelly. Her mum watches on drinking from the house. Grant came help with the farm then Ellies mum left a few days later.
Falk tells raco the truth about their alibi. He believes he's ok and won't say anything to anyone. They arrange to interview Jamie Sullivan.
In his room he decides to continue the case and organises a weeks leave from work.

Chapter 9
Raco and Falk are at Jamie Sullivan's place.
He explains Luke's visit that day. Luke was distracted and complaining about Karen. Was normal by the time he left. Falk a has a feeling that Sullivan lies about what he did after Luke left.

Chapter 10
They head from Sullivan's to the Luke's farm. Falk explains his feeling about Sullivan's alibi.
It took them 14 mins to drive but 30 mins on the day Luke died.
They talk through possible scenarios why.

In my book this is at page 84 of 339 or about 25% through.


message 3: by Jack (new)

Jack | 179 comments I really liked the opening chapters and secretive introduction of characters and their place in the town and history.

Gerrys fear about luke killing his family and falks memory of the rabbit make me feel luke may have have had a dark side that made him capable of murder. There is a bit of evidence either way that kept me bouncing from did he or didnt he.

I like that Falk and Raco make a good pair and hit it off. Raco seems genuine and a very capable cop even though he is not from the country and the town think he's a bit green.


message 4: by Jaime (new)

Jaime (absorbedinpages) I agree Jack. There was a bit of evidence pointing to Luke as the bad guy. The question of whether if he did it or not really stayed in the back of your mind.


message 5: by Russ (new)

Russ | 330 comments So whodunit? Doesn't make sense to kill yourself with a weapon that wasn't found at the scene.

Two theories. One is that Sullivan did it. Trapped in a miserable life with granny, he's jealous of Luke and kills his family.

Or, since it seems like financial breadcrumbs will play an important role in this book, maybe Luke was being blackmailed. (If you don't pay me, I'll tell them what you did to Ellie. Something like that.) But then he ran out of money because of the drought. The blackmailer kills the family.

Anyway, speculation aside, I'm enjoying this. Nice little small town intrigue. Although they are police, this almost seems like a rare male-dominated cozy mystery.


message 6: by Sandi (new)

Sandi (sandin954) | 1215 comments Thanks for the great summaries, Jack.

Usually I think prologues are a waste of time but thought this one was very effective. Like you stated Jack, very creepy.

I was immediately drawn in to the story and the various characters and I always enjoy this type of plot, when there is some sort of mystery from the past.

I'm glad that Raco seems to be a good guy who is interested in the truth and that he and Falk seem to be working together well at least so far.


message 7: by Jack (new)

Jack | 179 comments Russ there is a lot of scope for speculation in this book not only about the hadlers death but also ellie deacon amd then theres the speculation that they are linked.
I agree the small town and small pool of characters has a very cosy mystery feel.


message 8: by Ann (new)

Ann (annrumsey) | 14623 comments Jaime: It was subtle, but yes I agree - we are seeing that Luke may have had a side to him that was not easily seen or seen in glimpses.
Jaime wrote: "I agree Jack. There was a bit of evidence pointing to Luke as the bad guy. The question of whether if he did it or not really stayed in the back of your mind."


message 9: by Ann (last edited Feb 05, 2017 09:54PM) (new)

Ann (annrumsey) | 14623 comments Jack - Thanks for doing the great summaries! There is a lot of meat to this book, glimpses of the past giving us a bird's eye view of the scenes off stage or the history behind this very tight knit (but definitely unraveling) area.
The tone of the book is driven by an almost desperate need for water, for answers, and to lash out at someone they feel has done wrong. The opening scene in the prologue with the flies really stays in the back of your mind. While I wouldn't characterize this as a particularly gory scene, the descriptions are even more horrible because they vividly stick in your head. (and Aaron's and Raco's)


message 10: by Ann (new)

Ann (annrumsey) | 14623 comments I was nervous that there was going to be a confrontational attitude from the local cop and was so happy to have Raco turn out to be a partner to Aaron in the investigation and to genuinely want to find out the truth. It helps that Aaron is the kind of mild tempered guy that sees how to approach Raco initially And that means a lot as the reader forms opinions while the townspeople show their hatred and distrust of him even after decades have passed.


message 11: by Sherry (new)

Sherry  | 3693 comments finally reading this and totally enjoying it. not much to add- i agree with all of you about the introduction, the fact that raco seems to be a good cop who's trying to find out what really happened, and the questions about luke.


message 12: by Carol/Bonadie (new)

Carol/Bonadie (bonadie) | 8060 comments Jack wrote: "Gerrys fear about luke killing his family and falks memory of the rabbit make me feel luke may have have had a dark side that made him capable of murder. There is a bit of evidence either way that kept me bouncing from did he or didnt he. ..."

I'm thinking the same thing right about now. Luke seems like he has "bad guy" potential. Or maybe Harper just wants me to think so?


message 13: by Carol/Bonadie (new)

Carol/Bonadie (bonadie) | 8060 comments Ann wrote: "I was nervous that there was going to be a confrontational attitude from the local cop and was so happy to have Raco turn out to be a partner to Aaron in the investigation and to genuinely want to ..."

My nervousness about confrontation is less about the local cop -- though glad he and Falk seem to click -- as from the locals, who seem to be harboring deep resentment about Falk. I keep expecting him to get jumped and beaten up.


message 14: by Carol/Bonadie (last edited Apr 08, 2017 12:57PM) (new)

Carol/Bonadie (bonadie) | 8060 comments Very much enjoying this. I wouldn't describe it as a cozy because of the violent and despicable crime and the protagonist, who definitely has something dark in his past -- or at least he's connected to something dark. But I can see how the slow pace and small town locale might lead some to think so.


When I started listening to the audio at first I couldn't get into it. Probably a combination of the Aussie accent (usually I like accents but was hard to keep the characters straight), the flipping back and forth in time with no warning, and the fact that I was at the tail end of a Caribbean vacation and was distracted with packing and traveling. Luckily I had a hardcover version when I got home and went back and re-read/skimmed. Now am totally into it.


message 15: by Ann (new)

Ann (annrumsey) | 14623 comments Carol:
Glad you are getting into the book; print or audio it is a terrific book. I think Jack warned me of the abrupt time shifts beforehand so I was ready for them while listening and really enjoyed the audio. Of course I was not coming off a warm sunny Caribbean vacation! Lucky you!


message 16: by Ann (last edited Apr 08, 2017 05:56PM) (new)

Ann (annrumsey) | 14623 comments Carol: Yes perhaps too dark to be a standard cozy, but the closed off nature of the setting leads to an isolated feel that does seem darkly cozy. The questions from the past lend an ominous feel of what might be revealed.
Carol/Bonadie wrote: "Very much enjoying this. I wouldn't describe it as a cozy because of the violent and despicable crime and the protagonist, who definitely has something dark in his past -- or at least he's connected to something dark..."


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