Tuesday, 9 May 2017

'The Dry' by Jane Harper - SPOILER REVIEW

Way back in January, I took part in 'The Dry' blog tour, and I loved it so much that I told you I was going to be posting a spoiler-filled review.
Well, it might have taken me nearly four months, but HERE IT IS! This book has still been playing on my mind, but I haven't had the time to review it more thoroughly: hopefully this post is worth the wait...

Image result for the dry by jane harper

'The Dry' tells two stories at once. 
The primary focus is the deaths of Luke, Karen and Billy Hadler, who appear to have been wiped out by Luke in a murder-suicide. The Kiewarra townsfolk claim that Luke had a violent temper and that, combined with the fact that his farm was failing due to a two-year drought, caused him to kill the people closest to him from sheer desperation.
Federal Police Investigator Aaron Falk was best friends with Luke Hadler when they were younger, and he can't believe that the man he knew could do something that horrendous. But once upon a time Aaron was suspected of being involved in the death of their mutual friend Ellie Deacon, and looking back at the fact that Luke gave him an alibi Aaron starts to wonder if he was saving his own skin all along.
When Aaron gets back to Kiewarra, he reunites with Gretchen, the fourth member of their friendship group and the woman who used to be Luke's girlfriend. She also can't accept that Luke could have been responsible for killing his family: he wasn't that kind of person. Aaron and Gretchen grow close, but he has his suspicions.
Why did her and Luke break up? And just who is the father of her little boy?

If you haven't read 'The Dry' look away now! If you couldn't guess by the disclaimer in the title, it's about to get spoilery up in 'ere...

I was 100,000,000,000% convinced that Gretchen was the killer.
EVERY SINGLE HINT pointed in her direction. The way she focused on Aaron as soon as he gets back to town with an interest that made me instantly suspicious. Her dismissive attitude towards conversations about her relationship with Luke, and the murmurs around town that he was having trouble with a woman. The mystery of who fathered her child.
Then there was the fact that she had a rivalry with Ellie back when they were teenagers, and was the only person not suspected at the time...
From the moment we met Gretchen, I KNEW it was her. It was disappointing, because it was so obvious and totally cliched.
So imagine my surprise when I WAS WRONG! I'm NEVER wrong, so it was a huge shock and a brilliant twist that made me look at the book in a whole new light.
Everyone in town assumed that the murders were either committed by Luke or happened because of him: he was known for his regular arguments with the Deacons - tensions still simmering following Ellie's death - and was widely known to have issues with his temper.
That's what makes it even more shocking when you discover the family was destroyed because of Karen. She's described in such an inoffensive manner - always playing by the rules, nice and friendly to everyone - that it's difficult to comprehend she could have gotten on someone's bad side, but it happens BECAUSE she always plays by the rules.
She worked as a receptionist at the school, and she discovered that her gambling-addict of a boss had been stealing money. She couldn't let it slide, and after she'd spoken to him - notifying him of the fact that she knew what he's done - she told Luke who suggested contacting Aaron, who deals with finances in his role as police officer. Aaron didn't answer, but Whitlam knew Karen wouldn't be able to keep his activities to herself for long, so he had no choice but to kill her and Luke (and Billy, who stayed home ill, missing a playdate that Whitlam had orchestrated to get him out of the firing line).
The conclusion is climactic as HECK, with the cornered Whitlam threatening to start a bushfire to escape justice, putting the lives of every member of Kiewarra in danger - including his child and his wife. It's a brilliant exploration of the way desperation sends you extreme lengths, and how people can justify the most disgusting of acts to save their own skin.

If you're looking to read a thriller that not only keeps you gripped, but explores the human condition and has a realistically depicted setting, 'The Dry' is perfect for you.

I hope you enjoyed this spoiler-filled review. Do you prefer to get spoilers, or would you rather find out what happened for yourself?

1 comment:

  1. What in the heck does Whitlam mean by, "They'll save the kids. The fireys will go there first."?