Book Review: THE LOST MAN by Jane Harper

THE LOST MAN Jane Harper

Jane Harper once again brings to life a vivid and captivating sense of place in THE LOST MAN

There seems to be no stopping Australian author Jane Harper at the moment. Following the overwhelming success of her debut novel THE DRY and her fantastic follow-up FORCE OF NATURE, the award-winning author has knocked the ball out of the park again with the release of her brand new thriller THE LOST MAN.

Set in the harsh Australian outback, THE LOST MAN opens with two brothers – Nathan and Bub – visiting an isolated spot on their large cattle station where their brother Cameron lies dead. The police find nothing in Cameron’s death from dehydration to suggest foul play but it soon becomes clear that something had been troubling Cameron in the weeks leading up to his death. As elder brother Nathan begins to dig deeper, secrets that had been buried for a long time begin to surface and shocking truths start to emerge.

Fans of Harper’s previous books will know the author’s strength lies in her incredible sense of setting and THE LOST MAN is no different. Harper’s descriptive writing plays on the excoriating heat, dust and remoteness of the harsh Australian outback to bring to life a vivid and captivating sense of place. Here, the reader feels both isolated and claustrophobic at the same time as the brutal effects of living so remotely and being left in the harsh heat are laid bare.

The intriguing relationships between the characters are equally exquisite here. While Nathan acts as the narrator, the focus isn’t solely on him and it soon becomes clear that each of the characters, hardened by the life and the landscape, are all, in their own way, deserving of Harper’s title.

It’s worth noting at this point that THE LOST MAN is a slow burn and unlike her previous novels, can take a little time to fully engross you. The pace is slow and measured here with Harper building up layers of story, emotion and depth as the plot moves back and forth from the present to previous events.

That said, once the story finally does start to reveal itself, THE LOST MAN quickly becomes an all-consuming, immersive read. Add in an immensely satisfying ending and it’s easy to see why Harper is one of the most exciting and promising writers to hit bookshelves in a while.

4 out of 5 stars

THE LOST MAN by Jane Harper is released on 7 February 2019