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Group Read - The Dry > Group Read - The Dry Chapters 21-30 Spoilers Welcome

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message 1: by Ann (new)

Ann (annrumsey) | 14293 comments This segment is for discussion of Chapters 21-30 of Jane Harper's The Dry. SPOILERS WELCOME
We think this will cover the third quarter or so of the book.
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 Chapter 21
Falk drives to the pub. Gretchen and Whitlam are there and see the damage to his car. Notices have been put up all around town of Falk and his dad asking for info about their involvement in Ellies death.
The pub is full and mcmurdo signals for Falk to stay away. Whitlam invites him to his house.
At Whitlam house his wife Sandra and daughter Danielle are there. Sandra doesn't like country life. She has strong feelings about the case and recounts her chats with Karen setting up and then cancelling the play date.
Alone with Falk Whitlam explains their move to the country to avoid city violence after he was mugged and someone he was with got stabbed to death.

Chapter 22
Back in his room thinks about his last meeting with Luke 5 years ago in the city.
He picks a library book from the handlers he was going to return for them and the receipt fall out. On it is written 'Grant??' and Falk's phone number.

Chapter 23
Next day Falk has shown Raco and the find grant Dow to question him. They try to find motive but he denies it all and turns it back on Falk with what happened with Ellie.

Chapter 24
At school Whitlam, Falk and Raco go through security footage.
Nothing on it helps with the investigation.
Falk, Barnes and Raco look through more footage Whitlam had given them and then footage from cameras in the town centre.
They find Sullivan on camera and know he's lied about where he was. The store refuses to serve Falk and Raco invites him to dinner.

Chapter 25
Raco's wife Rita is pregnant 4 weeks until due. We learn some background on raco.
There's a flash back to when Falk and his father left town.

Chapter 26
Falk back to his room, bar fight erupts and Mcmurdo gets him to help. The fight is between Dow, Sullivan and Whitlam.
Raco drives Sullivan home and Falk takes Whitlam home.
Raco messages Falk to say he knows what Sullivan was doing on the CCTV footage.

Chapter 27
Dr Leigh the town doctor meets Falk and Raco at the station.
Turns out he and Sullivan are gay and met up. The doctor gives his opinion on deacons heath and prognosis.
They're at a dead end and Falk looks into Ute's in the area when Ellie was killed. There's a long list.

Chapter 28
Falk visits the cemetery. Sees Luke, Karen and Billy's graves then his mother's. She died in giving birth to Falk
He stops at Ellies grave. Deacon is there, he realises Falk is the boy not his dad. Deacon blames Falk's dad for his wife leaving. He goes on to say his dad thought Falk was involved with Ellies death and laughs while standing on Ellies grave as Falk walks off without responding.

Chapter 29
Falk visits Gretchens farm. They shoot rabbits. Gretchen thinks Ellie committed suicide and was being abused.

Chapter 30
Back in his room Falk tries to find a new lead in the case notes but can't. He calls Raco and tells him he thinks Ellie was being abused.

He's woken up by Mcmurdo because his cars been covered and filled with manure.

He goes to the station to report it and finds out Deacon is filling a complaint for harassment. While Deacon is putting in his complaint, Raco hits back about him being a person of interest in the Hadler's murder. Deacon goes through what he remembers but this time includes a phone call to the pharmacy when the shots were fired.

In my book this is page 264/339 or 78%

message 3: by Jack (new)

Jack | 179 comments The whitlams show how hard it is to adjust to a small country town life.
The sullivan alibi was a shock but understandable how hard it would be to come out in a small country town.
Finally a fresh lead with the note in the book even if it is cryptic. The past and what happenened seems to keep creeping into this investigation with dow and deacon making trouble falk.

message 4: by Sandi (new)

Sandi (sandin954) | 1189 comments I thought Ellie was probably being abused too since she was alone there with her father Dow after her mother left and that Deacon pretty much knew that she committed suicide but needed someone to blame. I also wondered though if she was pregnant since she had given up drinking and was maybe trying to run away which would mean she was murdered. So I guess I am still not sure what happened and hope it is resolved in the end.

I can see how the Doctor and Jamie would be reluctant to share about their relationship but have to agree with Raco that it made them spin their wheels and slowed down the investigation.

Still lots of unanswered questions at this point but I am enjoying the journey and hope the ending is as good as the rest of the book has been.

message 5: by Ann (new)

Ann (annrumsey) | 14293 comments I also suspected Ellie was abused from the start, wondered if she had been pregnant by her father or cousin and suspected Deacon and Grant probably drove her to suicide. Surely she killed herself if the options were Luke, Aaron or Aaron's father doing her harm.
It is very effective to have the small flashbacks give background to the conversations with the characters of the present. It makes me pause to wonder if they really occurred there must have been some tremendous pauses in conversations.

message 6: by Ann (new)

Ann (annrumsey) | 14293 comments Aaron's visit to the cemetery was very moving. His laying down next to his mother's grave and telling her all that had transpired was so sweet; then visiting the Hadler family's graves was so sad that most people shunned Luke while it looked like he really hadn't harmed his family. Then to visit Ellie's grave and run into her father was stunning and maddening. The man wants to come across as a victim, as a sympathetic character but his earlier history seems to belie that and his bluster and attitude is offensive.

message 7: by Jack (new)

Jack | 179 comments I really liked the cemetary scene too ann. A chance for Aaron to reflect and find peace then the confrontation with mal deacon destroyed that. I like that aaron stood up to him and i think that scared him into putting a complaint to the cops. Mal standing on ellies grave and laughing makes you think whether he actually cared about her at all or is it just a front.

I liked the flashbacks too but wondered if they were memories or actual truthful replays of what actually happened for the readers benefit.

message 8: by Ann (new)

Ann (annrumsey) | 14293 comments Jack: Yes I thought the flashbacks were quite effective. Since I was forewarned to expect them they were easier to follow than I expected on the audio. They did add depth to the story.
Jack wrote: "I liked the flashbacks too but wondered if they were memories or actual truthful replays of what actually happened for the readers benefit.."

message 9: by ???!!! (new)

???!!! | 6 comments Couldn't agree more. Especially now with a trend of using different character's perspective and different time stamp it could be very confusing sometimes.

message 10: by Russ (new)

Russ | 330 comments Sandi, I wish you could see me smack my own forehead for not detecting that Ellie could've been pregnant! Good call. That would explain a lot.

I like this book. It's sad and mixed with poignant memories, regrets, secrets that families keep. But strong on action & the investigation too. Quite effective.

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