The Lost Man by Jane Harper

I was excited about The Lost Man because Harper’s previous two novels, The Dry and Force of Nature, were both very good.

This one didn’t disappoint. Since her debut with The Dry, Jane Harper has consistenly proven herself as a writer of gripping thrillers with strong psychological threads.

Set in the rurals of Australia, The Lost Man slaps you in the face with the stark reality of just how isolating life can be in the outback. I’ve moved around a lot, sometimes to what I’d call “rural” areas, but I’ve never lived outside the UK and, well, our “rural” just doesn’t cut it when you look at Australia. The sense of space, of being the only humans around for days, seeps into every corner of the story.

It begins with the news that a man has died. Out by an old gravestone, he seems to have become so dehydrated that his body just gave up. The marks of his feet in the sand make a sickening sundial around his corpse.

The ones who find him and have to deal with the fallout are his brothers: two of them, from a family that has its fractious relationships like any other, but out here in the middle of nowhere it’s paradoxically even less easy to find space to escape from those who might want to argue with us, or hurt us… or kill us?

Because there’s no way Cameron just got out of his truck and walked into the relentless Australian sun. Growing up on the land, he had a full awareness of how the outback would bake anything to death: animal, mineral or human. So what was he doing out at the stockman’s grave? Did the isolation finally get the better of him? As his brothers discover the truth of his relationships and business interests, they come to wonder whether they ever really knew Cameron at all.

In characteristic fashion, The Lost Man grips the reader all the way through and provides a twist so surprising that even I didn’t see it coming. And I read a *lot* of crime fiction.

Definitely recommended.

I received a review copy of The Lost Man from the publisher, but I have no problem with writing bad reviews if I don’t like something, so you can be secure in the knowledge that I really did enjoy this book.


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