By Lynn Willoughby
The Dry ~ Jane Harper
This is a book that has sat on my shelf for some time. Now that I’ve read it, I have ordered another by the same author. It was a really good read.
There are two story lines here – present day, where Aaron Folk, a Federal Agent, returns to his home town to attend the funeral of his best friend, Luke. The setting is Krewarra, in Australia, where a drought has lasted several years, and brought the community to it’s knees. Luke is not the first to snap, but he killed his wife and young son before his own suicide.
The second story line deals with Luke and Aaron as young teens. Elle and Gretchen make up this foursome of typical teens, who share everything, ride bike, swim in the river, help each other with homework. Then, Elle’s dead and bloated body is found in the river. Aaron had been fishing, alone. But he is the prime suspect. Luke announces that he and Aaron were shooting rabbits together and no one is ever convicted for the murder.
I like Aaron and the other characters. But it is the ongoing drought that is always the evil, the breaking point for this community. Farmers are going bankrupt or just walking away from family farms. Stores close as there are no customers. There is no credit any more at the local watering hole where the few cents men have are spent on beer. It is an entire community in crisis.
Aaron ends up extending his stay in Keiwarra and working on his own rogue investigation into Elle’s death. The local cop, Raco, has only been in town a month, but has fresh eyes that Falk quickly comes to respect.
This is a good read. And …”if you enjoy being hoodwinked by writers…” this is a book for you.
The extended drought in Australia from 1996-2008 is said to be the worst drought recorded since European settlement. It did lead to the construction of six major desalination plants to provide water to Australia’s major cities.