Atmospheric, absorbing and packed full of suspense, FORCE OF NATURE is a worthy follow-up to THE DRY

Force of Nature by Jane Harper Banner

Atmospheric, absorbing and packed full of suspense, FORCE OF NATURE is a worthy follow-up to THE DRY

Following the success of her debut novel THE DRY, Jane Harper returns with her second book in the Agent Aaron Falk series, FORCE OF NATURE.

Set in the rugged Australian outback, FORCE OF NATURE tells the story of five female work colleagues who reluctantly set out on a hike as part of a team building weekend. The trip is meant to teach resilience, bonding and teamwork but when only four of the women come out the other side, a tale of suspicion, violence and disintegrating trust begins to surface.

Federal Police Agent Aaron Falk has a particularly keen interest in the whereabouts of the missing bushwalker. Alice Russell is the whistleblower in his latest case and knew secrets about the company she worked for and the people she worked with. Was Mother Nature really responsible for Alice’s disappearance or does the danger run far deeper?

Intelligent, engaging and packed full of suspense, FORCE OF NATURE is an atmospheric, absorbing and disturbing tale of a hike gone horribly wrong. Told in alternating timelines, one in which the reader is taken back in time to follow the women on their hike, and the other in present day as Aaron and Carmen assist with the search, Harper keeps the intrigue and suspense high by slowly revealing the pieces of the puzzle, layer by layer.

Written more like a traditional “whodunnit” than a modern day crime thriller, the focus is on the characters and their motives rather than the crime itself, with Harper slowly revealing little details about the five women to make everyone a suspect.

Following his introduction in THE DRY, Agent Aaron Falk once again takes centre stage in FORCE OF NATURE. Harper easy and intelligent writing style also makes a welcome return. In FORCE OF NATURE, the hot setting of THE DRY turns into the wet and cold Australian outback, with Harper once again showing a nature flair for describing her settings in great detail, with the harsh terrain, howling winds and torrential rain in the Australian outback vividly brought to life.

Yet, while there are enough red herrings to keep you guessing until the end, when the finale is finally revealed, it falls a little flat and isn’t hugely surprising. Those who haven’t read THE DRY may also feel the two main detectives aren’t fleshed out hugely, with Falk in particular less rounded than in the first book.

That said, this is a worthy follow-up to THE DRY and another sinister and intriguing thriller from Harper.

4 out of 5 stars

FORCE OF NATURE by Jane Harper is released on 8 February 2018 via Little, Brown Book Group UK