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Publisher's Summary

From Jane Harper, New York Times best-selling author of The Dry, comes a riveting new audiobook featuring Federal Police Agent Aaron Falk. 

Five women go on a hike. Only four return. Force of Nature begs the question: How well do you really know the people you work with? 

When five colleagues are forced to go on a corporate retreat in the wilderness, they reluctantly pick up their backpacks and start walking down the muddy path. 

But one of the women doesn't come out of the woods. And each of her companions tells a slightly different story about what happened. 

Federal Police Agent Aaron Falk has a keen interest in the whereabouts of the missing hiker. In an investigation that takes him deep into isolated forest, Falk discovers secrets lurking in the mountains and a tangled web of personal and professional friendship, suspicion, and betrayal among the hikers. But did that lead to murder? 

©2018 Jane Harper (P)2018 W.F. Howes Ltd

Critic Reviews

"Force of Nature bristles with wit; it crackles with suspense; it radiates atmosphere. An astonishing book from an astonishing writer." (A. J. Finn, author of The Woman in the Window)

"Narrator Stephen Shanahan puts his clear Australian accent to good advantage as he portrays Aaron Falk, the lead investigator in the search for the missing woman...Shanahan makes it sizzle to the very end. Both story and narrator are not to be missed." (AudioFile)

"All the novel's characters have been drawn with exceptional complexity, and none more so than Aaron Falk.... So much more than a conventional detective, the reflective and compassionate Falk provides the book's moral compass." (New York Times Book Review)

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Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Thankful this is a series!

The Dry was one of my favorite books of 2017. I didn't realize it was to become a series, but I couldn't be happier. Force of Nature is a great follow up. It does take a few chapters to get used to going from past to present. The story unfolds quickly and with a perfect amount of character development. The one slight disappointment, that is also why I liked it, is the mystery solves itself. It's not heavy on police procedures. It was different and I liked it even thought I was expecting something different.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Excellent New Series Continues

I stumbled upon Harper's first book, The Dry, a police procedural mystery set in rural Australia and was hooked. As a matter of fact I practically listened non stop. I thought the characters were well developed and that the story was consistent and believable. Harper really captured the feeling of the location and the extreme drought. Shanahan's narration was perfect in the way he captured the nuances and the flashback time shifts. Had I written a review I would have given The Dry all five stars--I liked it that much.

The next day I snapped up book two, Force of Nature and jumped right in. I'll admit that I struggled with this second book in the series. There was something different with the writing this time around. Where The Dry had hard hitting descriptions and abrupt time shifts between past and present events, book two seemed almost vague. The storytelling felt hesitant in a strange way. At times, I had trouble keeping the five women coworker characters straight. For me, they were often just a sea of faceless names. Several times I resorted to rewinding and re-listening just to be sure that I hadn't missed something.

Shanahan's narration started out a bit flat and lacked some of the dynamics from book one. I don't know if this was just a case of the narrator mirroring the writing style or something else. But as the book progressed the writing improved and as the writing improved the narration also got better. Phew--I'm glad it worked out because I enjoy Shanahan's reading style.

In the end Harper pulled it together and I liked the book. Honestly, I didn't like it anywhere near as much as I liked The Dry, but the series has a balance I really look forward to. It has a level of kindness or maybe really a feeling of heart that I'd like to think exists in life but is often missing in this genre.

Recommended if you like police procedural/mysteries set in Australia with lots of local atmosphere. I definitely will be keeping an eye out for book three.

36 of 42 people found this review helpful

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Terrible!

Struggled to finish. Terrible narrator and story lacked depth. Book suited to teenagers. Found it utterly boring.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Ann
  • United States
  • 02-17-18

CAN YOU FEEL IT?

The author cleverly uses extremes of nature for her backdrops -- oppressive heat and drought in "The Dry" and, in "Force of Nature", cold and dismal wetness, and snakes, and the bushland-- which one can almost feel while listening to the story. This well-written mystery, along with good narration, is definitely worth your time and money.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Another well done mystery down under!

After The Dry I knew I wanted to read anything written by Jane Harper. Force of Nature is
focused on a group of women who are lost while on a hike/trip. It has many twists and turns and the guilty party was a surprise to me. Great story and well narrated by Stephen Shanahan. I enjoyed his accent! I recommend this mystery!

11 of 13 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Another great story from Jane Harper

I enjoyed The Dry immensely when it came out, and was excited to listen to another story about Detective Aaron Falk. Although this mystery lacks the personal connection Falk had to the town and the victims in the first book (to its minor detriment), I was still drawn into the story and eager to learn about this group of ladies whose hike took a disastrous turn. This was definitely a book I was sad to have to turn off every day after my commute was over; I wanted to keep listening to the end! I telegraphed the ending quite a bit before it happened, but there were still some great surprises thrown in that I didn't anticipate.

You don't have to read The Dry first, although I recommend you do. There are some minor callbacks to that novel in this story, but they are either briefly explained or don't really affect the clarity of the plot. It does help deepen the story of Falk though, and helps explain his strained connection with his late father - something that is referred to a lot but not elaborated on.

Can't wait for the next one in the series!

14 of 17 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Too many red herrings

As with "The Dry", the most compelling element of this book is it's setting- this time, in the forested outback during a cold, rainy week. You will feel cold and damp just listening to the story. But the plot itself is just too dragged out. Seriously, it takes the last hour of the audio to come to a conclusion ! The narrator is ok, but the Aussie accent can be hard to understand.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Trudi
  • Seminole, Florida
  • 02-24-18

I liked it, but.....

This had a fairly intense story about a group of women sent on a hiking backpacking adventure as a form of building a better working relationship. From the get-go they were more adversarial than necessary - they should have had some bonds, they worked together! They were all a little snarky and not all that likable. That seemed rather harsh. So, they have to trudge through a wilderness, that we don't learn much about. I'd have liked a little more detail in the description - take me to the place where they hiked! I love a police investigator who has flaws, but is a good solid person, and Falk is that. The story had some gaps in it, but the characters were very well drawn. So, it was a good listen, but not a great story - a good story, though and well worth a listen.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Just kept hoping

I loved the Dry- I just couldn't sink my teeth into this one and kept hoping for something to happen. Great job weaving back and forth. But the plot just wasn't enough. It's sad because the writing is good, narrator perfect but I hoped for more mystery and plot.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Nothing like The Dry

Not anywhere as good as The Dry, the author's first novel. The bickering of the women hikers is quite long and tiresome, leaving little time for police investigation. The hiking narrative fleshes out the characters, but is not really suspenseful.

10 of 13 people found this review helpful