Book review: The Lost Man, by Jane Harper
In a remote part of the Australian outback, farmer Cameron is found dead. It looks as though he was caught out somehow and died from exposure in the blistering heat.
But his brother Nathan is uneasy.
Cameron grew up in on the isolated farm that he now runs and he knows better than to get stuck alone in the outback. His car was found close to his body, apparently in working order and fully stocked with supplies.
Could it be that Cameron took his own life?
Staying with his family over Christmas in the wake of Cameron’s death, Nathan slowly uncovers the truth about his brother’s life and secrets that were long buried come back into the light.
When I was offered an advance copy of Jane Harper’s latest book, I was really excited. Her debut novel, The Dry, is one of the best crime novels I’ve read in ages, full of atmosphere and evocative descriptions of the small outback town in which it was set.
So I was a bit surprised to realise that The Lost Man isn’t a continuation of the Aaron Falk series, following the Melbourne detective, as least not outwardly.
Instead this book is minutely focused on Nathan and his family and doesn’t stray far beyond their incredibly isolated farm and the people who live on it. That means the book has a slower pace, but that’s not a bad thing.
The characters are drawn out, each with their own desires and secrets. Their relationships are often tense and full of issues going back years.
But Aaron Falk does make a very brief appearance, as this story is tied to the other books in Harper’s universe. Nathan and Cameron’s mother is from the small town in which The Dry is set, and she’s a relative of one of the families who feature in that story.
This book is about family, but also how our memories can change over time and things we once believed can change as we grow and our perspective shifts.
It’s a slow burn of a read, but one with plenty of insights into its characters and their behaviour offering an engaging narrative that unfolds to a shocking, but not entirely unexpected conclusion.
I’m interested to see where this series goes next.
Find out more
N.B. I received a complimentary copy of this novel from the publisher, in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.