The Dry – Jane Harper, An Exciting Thriller

The Dry is Jane Harper’s first book, and the author has achieved an excellent reputation as well as many awards with this first book. If you like thriller and detective novels, I think you might like this novel as well, but if you don’t have a close relationship with the genre, I’m not sure you will enjoy The Dry very much. And of course, if you have an inexplicable bond of love with Australia, I guess you can love it despite everything.


The Dry - Jane Harper

The Dry begins when federal detective Aaron Falk arrives at his best friend’s funeral years later. Although Falk is eager to leave since he stepped into this small and thirsty town that he abandoned years ago with awful memories, his childhood friend Luke’s family persuades him to stay.

Of course, a small but essential note written on a small piece of paper significantly impacts this persuasion. As he encounters his old acquaintances and former enemies in the town, Falk takes short journeys into the past while focusing on how, why and by whom Luke Hadler and his family were killed. Something is wrong, missing in this case.

Luke’s family is also having a hard time both after another incident in the past and while Luke is accused of killing himself and his family. In addition to all these, a town that is scorched with thirst and is about to go crazy with a lack of money appears as a character in its own right in The Dry. The Dry may be an excellent thriller to read in summer to feel the thirst. Enjoy!

The Dry - Jane Harper

The Dry

‘One of the most stunning debuts I’ve ever read…Read it!’ David Baldacci

The Gold Australian Book Industry Award for Book of the Year
Australian Book Industry Award for Fiction Book of the Year


‘Packed with sneaky moves and teasing possibilities that keep the reader guessing…The Dry is a breathless page-turner’ Janet Maslin, New York Times


I just can’t understand how someone like him could do something like that.

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

After getting a note demanding his presence, Federal Agent Aaron Falk arrives in his hometown for the first time in decades to attend the funeral of his best friend, Luke. Twenty years ago when Falk was accused of murder, Luke was his alibi. Falk and his father fled under a cloud of suspicion, saved from prosecution only because of Luke’s steadfast claim that the boys had been together at the time of the crime. But now more than one person knows they didn’t tell the truth back then, and Luke is dead.

Amid the worst drought in a century, Falk and the local detective question what really happened to Luke. As Falk reluctantly investigates to see if there’s more to Luke’s death than there seems to be, long-buried mysteries resurface, as do the lies that have haunted them. And Falk will find that small towns have always hidden big secrets.

Jane Harper

Born in Manchester in the UK, Harper moved to Australia with her family when she was eight. There, she lived in the outer Melbourne suburb of Boronia, and eventually acquired Australian citizenship. As a teen, Harper returned to the UK with her family and resided in Hampshire. Later, she attended the University of Kent and studied English. After spending time working on her career, she moved back to Australia.

After graduating with a degree in English and history, Harper went on to gain an entry level journalism qualification. She got her first job at the Darlington & Stockton Times as a trainee in County Durham. Later in her journalism career, she earned the title as a senior news journalist for the Hull Daily Mail. In 2008 she returned to Australia to take up a reporting job at the Geelong Advertiser in Victoria, then 2011 became a journalist for the Herald Sun in Melbourne. Harper worked as a print journalist for 13 years before writing her first novel, The Dry, which was published in 2016.

The Dry, Harper’s first novel, is a thriller set in a fictional town five hours west of Melbourne. A Federal Agent, Aaron Falk, returns to his old hometown to attend the funeral of his childhood best friend, Luke. Falk teams up with a local detective and tries to uncover the truth behind Luke’s sudden mysterious death, only to find more questions than answers.

Harper’s second thriller is set in the thickly forested mountains north-east of Melbourne, again featuring Federal Agent Aaron Falk. A group from a Melbourne company go on a retreat in the mountains, where one of the women disappears. Falk has been investigating the company for financial irregularities, and the woman was his secret informer.

The Dry - Jane Harper

In 2014, Big Issue published one of Harper’s short stories. Soon after, in the Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards in 2015, Harper won an award for an unpublished manuscript (The Dry). In 2017, Harper won the Gold ABIA for Book of the Year and the Davitt Award for The Dry, and the Gold Dagger awarded by the Crime Writers’ Association of the United Kingdom for the best crime novel of the year. Harper became a New York Times bestselling author for The Dry. Reese Witherspoon bought the rights to The Dry to turn it into a movie, which was released in January 2021.

Reading this book contributed to these challenges: 

Read Around the World, A Great Journey

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