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The Dry by Jane Harper

It has been some time since I have come across a book that has been so widely read and talked about. There seem to be very few people who have not read The Dry, and just as few who didn’t like it.

And so, I came to the book with a sense of inevitability, that I would have to read it and that it would be good.

The Dry is set five hours from Melbourne, in a dusty town in which the lack of rainfall has corroded the community. Resentments are rife, as neighbours blame each other for tragedies past.

One of these tragedies was the death of a young girl whose family drives those who they believe to be to blame out of town.

But more recently, the town is again rocked by death – this time of a young family, seemingly at the hand of the father.

However, not everyone is so sure that events unfolded in they seemed, and a former resident stays in town after the family’s funeral to investigate.

Harper expertly details the investigation, and at the same time, exposes the many tensions and lies that fester within the struggling community. Personalities and fraught relationships are laid bare, and she evokes a town in crisis, full of small town prejudices and historical resentments.

While my mind was always sifting through the information that Harper revealed to try to guess who might have been responsible for the deaths of the family, I never guessed the outcome of the investigation.

As expected, The Dry was as engaging, entertaining and seamlessly written as everyone else said that it was. I’m glad I finally listened to them all and read it.

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