Book Review: The Dry by Jane Harper

I secretly hate it when people notice I’m a reader and recommend me this “great thing I just read!” It sounds horrible, but reading is so subjective and I’ve got such a massive TBR list of my own full of things I’ve found and am interested in that the likelihood of what they’re recommending to me being up my alley is pretty slim. It also sort of quasi-forces you to read the thing, because otherwise you’re saying their taste is crap. Honestly, it’s all bad.

That was the case with this book. A co-worker recommended this book to me and I sniffed at it but decided: it’s a thriller set in outback Australia… these things are not usually my things no matter how much hype it’s getting and no matter how many times Reese Witherspoon has picked up the adaption rights.

Well, sometimes it’s nice to be wrong. Co-worker brought in a copy the book and I dutifully read it, but honestly, after about page 2 I wasn’t reading it because I was obligated to.

This book is a twisty pair of mysteries (one current and one twenty years prior) with some real-feeling characters and a compelling world. I don’t usually go in much for things that are Australian, because they feel cheesy or like an overblown, stereotypical version. This felt real – this town, those people, the drought and the utter dryness of it, the landscape, the attitudes and the environment and the way people interacted with one another and the environment were legit. Seriously, more books should have people casually calling each other ‘dickhead’, I took far too much joy in that element alone. It’s also quite an easy read, it’s a bit of a slow burn but at no point does it feel slow or drag. You keep turning the pages because it’s just so easy to do. It’s easier to keep reading it than it is to put it down.

I had one niggle about how Ellie’s storyline tied up, but it’s both minor and I can’t see a better way for Harper to have tied it all up in a satisfying way than how she did it.

Everyone’s saying this but it really is a fantastic debut, I’m looking forward to the next one in the series out later this year.

5 stars
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