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The Dry (Aaron Falk, #1)
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Archive - Group Reads > The Dry by Jane Harper - (Spoilers Permitted) - October 2019

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message 1: by Jenny (last edited Sep 10, 2019 11:26PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jenny (diggensjenny) Hello fellow Crime, Mystery & Thriller readers! This discussion is about The Dry by Jane Harper, your discussion leader is William
about spoilers

Please note: If you have not finished reading the book spoilers are permitted in this discussion from the start.
The Dry (Aaron Falk, #1) by Jane Harper The Dry by Jane Harper The Dry (Aaron Falk #1) by Jane Harper The Dry by Jane Harper


A small town hides big secrets in this atmospheric, page-turning debut mystery by award-winning author Jane Harper.

In the grip of the worst drought in a century, the farming community of Kiewarra is facing life and death choices daily when three members of a local family are found brutally slain.

Federal Police investigator Aaron Falk reluctantly returns to his hometown for the funeral of his childhood friend, loath to face the townsfolk who turned their backs on him twenty years earlier.

But as questions mount, Falk is forced to probe deeper into the deaths of the Hadler family. Because Falk and Luke Hadler shared a secret. A secret Falk thought was long buried. A secret Luke's death now threatens to bring to the surface in this small Australian town, as old wounds bleed into new ones.

William Cain | 19 comments Hi everyone,
Bill here. I'm the moderator. This is the spoiler channel ... so I'll just tell you ... the butler did it. Tell me YOUR thoughts. Happy reading!

Aditya | 1865 comments Just wondered what people thought about the two most controversial/ far-fetched parts of the books. Both these issues were iffy areas for me but not deal breakers though a few GR friends were pretty pissed with them.

1. The attitude of the townspeople towards Aaron Falk. Their actions were not consistent with their motives. They were criminally harassing a federal investigator for something he was only suspected of doing. And it happened too many years ago for it to hold so much significance to them. I thought it was a rare misstep and showed after all The Dry was Harper's debut. What saved it from being really outlandish was that Harper had made the village so parochial, an attitude like that did not stand out as much as it would under normal circumstances.

2. The ending to the past mystery. Falk essentially figures out his girlfriend was molested by his family members but did not do anything about it. As a conclusion it works even if it is a bit obvious. Actually it was surprising because of the exact fact that it was so glaringly obvious and Harper still went for it, sort of reverse psychology. It was like as Bill says making the butler the murderer. Anyway the problem being it was such a strange place to end the story without any sort of information provided what happened to the perpetrators.

Jenny (diggensjenny) I loved this book. However, I can see that some of the Australian attitudes in this book would be hard for others to understand.

Aditya - read book two in this series. It might help you to answer some of your questions.

Aditya | 1865 comments Jenny I did read Force of Nature and liked it too but don't remember it tying into The Dry in anyway. Aaron Falk returns but is completely extraneous to the narrative. He could have been replaced by any generic cop character. Anyway I like these books for an atmospheric well plotted mystery rather than great characters, so still really enjoyed both the books.

William Cain | 19 comments When something happens in life, like the sudden death of a young girl in a small town, with your name name on a note, then it is as fresh as yesterday. Remember, he and his dad had to leave, beaten. That's very heavy stuff. It's not a stretch to me that when Falk returns he's beset by this dark cloud.

Yes, there are some holes, but that's fiction. It wasn't unbelievable, but rather left some things out, like Karen Hadler's reluctance to send her son over to the principal's house. That was just marginalized. However, I've seen (read) other, very good, works that used the same approach. To not follow up on something so obvious. And, yes, that really ticks me off.

William Cain | 19 comments I'd be interested to know at what point in the book you, the reader, began to suspect who the real killer was?

Jenny (diggensjenny) I started to suspect who the killer was about halfway into the book.

William Cain | 19 comments Me too. But I thought the reason was that he was having an affair with Karen Hadler, and she rejected him. Crimes of passion!

Anyone else in this discussion figure things out early?

Aditya | 1865 comments I was pleasantly surprised by the reveal, specially the motive. Harper keeps making us think it was such a personal crime and then the twist reveals it was all about the money.

message 11: by Nida (new) - rated it 4 stars

Nida Kazi (nidudiiii) | 11 comments I finished the book. I liked it. But didn't find Aaron that interesting.

William Cain | 19 comments hmmmm ... yes, his character could have been more developed. He's a financial investigator. kind of bla. He was made out to be some really blonde type guy, that didn't want to be in his home town. Maybe his relationship with Gretchen should have been made more dramatic, and him made more strong, more interesting, maybe with a dark side.

message 13: by Nida (new) - rated it 4 stars

Nida Kazi (nidudiiii) | 11 comments I couldn't help but compare him to Will Trent (from Will Trent series by Karin Slaughter) I really find him interesting. With his personality and dark past

Barbara K | 326 comments I made the leap to who-done-it when the note with “Grant” and Falk’s phone number first appeared. Maybe it’s my personal association with academics and the world of grant funding that immediately made the financial connection, cancelling out all the other red herrings Harper said deftly provides.

And I thought the general explanation for the death from 20 years ago was pretty obvious early on. Although suicide would also have fit the facts neatly, it wouldn’t have explained the intensity of the father’s/cousin’s venom both at the time and 20 years later. They clearly hadn’t cared enough for the girl prior to her death, except as slave labor and a target for abuse, to justify their campaign of persecution against Falk absent some other motive.

One last thing - I think the idea of the drought putting everyone on edge, almost as if it was a character in the story, was better done in Scrublands. I definitely agree with Aditya that for the most part the characters in The Dry were one dimensional.

Those criticisms aside, the plotting was good and those red herrings were especially well executed. I enjoyed it, but not sure yet whether I liked it enough to read the next in the series.

MadProfessah (madprofesssah) | 41 comments Will Trent is waaay more interesting that Aaron Falk.

˜”*°•.˜”*°• Sheri  •°*”˜.•°*”˜ | 1453 comments Mod
It was an okay read. I thought it was weird how the ending was written in the POV of the dead and it took me a while to get over the fact that the town was mad at Aaron after 20 years.

PattyMacDotComma | 166 comments I absolutely loved this book when I read it. I thought she captured the small-town small-mindedness perfectly. If a kid is suspected of something, it sticks, and the fact that the family (he and his dad) had to leave town would have made returning extremely uncomfortable, no matter how many years later. Imagine all the conversations that would have been carried on about him by the others over the years, just reinforcing the suspicion.

I did review it here.

William Cain | 19 comments Great review Patty! Largely I feel the same way. A great debut work. There are instances for improvement, but all books fall into that category. Again, great review.

PattyMacDotComma | 166 comments William wrote: "Great review Patty! Largely I feel the same way. A great debut work. There are instances for improvement, but all books fall into that category. Again, great review."

I was shocked it was a debut, William. I think that's what prompted the gushing - that and because she depicted the circumstances of regional Australian weather, people and town so well.

MadProfessah (madprofesssah) | 41 comments It’s a movie starring Eric Bana coming out on
January 2020.

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