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After the extremely highly rated The Dry Jane Harper's follow-up is more of a gentle push of nature than a genuine force. Harper does write well but this is a tried and trusted plot albeit with some neat contemporary twists. It does develop slowly though and this slow pace is not improved by the narration. Stephen Shanahan's accent does of course add authenticity and he actually carries the narrative very well. However a voice actor he is not and it wasn't even always possible to tell a female character from a male. Given that the majority of the characters are indeed women this is a serious disadvantage. It's not often I say this but I might have enjoyed this a little more as a physical rather than audio book. So a decent enough story coupled with narration that could have been improved on.
17 of 21 people found this review helpful
This is Jane Harpers's follow-up to her very successful novel The Dry (reviewed here by me last year).
Five female colleagues are on a break from the office on a bonding team-and-resilience-building hike in the wilds of the Guralong Ranges near Melbourne. But it has all gone terrifyingly wrong: they're lost. There's no signal on the mobile and the single torch has a fading battery. We know only four of the women will return.
Harper is excellent on the mounting vitriol between the women the reasons for which are explored in the alternating chapters as the narrative flips between present and past, notching up tension and suspense as well as explaining the resentment concerning Lauren and Alice's children, and Beth's past as an addict. After an explosion of violence, Alice goes missing just where a hiker had been murdered years before...
It's a great listen - Harper creates the forbidding and dangerous Australian terrain brilliantly and suspense is taut. There's another strand to the story involving Alice as the whistle-blower in the business the women work for. It is not very convincing and merely distracts. The whole would have been more powerful without it.
The great narration accentuates the rough toughness of the story.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
The Dry was one of my favorite books when it came out. I was really looking forward to Jane Harper's latest book, but it was a real disappointment.
The bickering among the female characters was not only irritating, but it made each of them so unlikeable, you really didn't care what happened to any of them.
Not enough about Aaron Falk and Carmen, who at least have an interesting dynamic with each other.
I also found the whole hiking narrative b-o-r-i-n-g. (Yawn!) If I had been reading this instead of listening to it, I would not have made it to the end.
Loved the first book and this is also very good. Creepy, great characters that seem so real, various and interesting story lines. Can't wait to hear from this author.