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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)

"Set against the fascinating backdrop of a wild, rural location in south Australia, Harper's sequel to her acclaimed Ned Kelly Award-winning debut, The Dry, presents an intriguing crime that might not actually exist and potential suspects with realistically complex and possible motives." (Library Journal)

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What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Story

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.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

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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.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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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!

2 of 2 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!

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Not as good as The Dry

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

It was worth listening to because I had faith in the author. It was difficult to follow the shift from past to present when listening. Might be better with text. I didn't love the story-line either. More female conflict - kind of frustrating.

Would you be willing to try another book from Jane Harper? Why or why not?

Yes. I think she's just beginning to find her niche and will grow in depth and development of her novels.

What about Stephen Shanahan’s performance did you like?

I loved the narrator. I think he could narrate just about anything an capture my attention.

Was Force of Nature worth the listening time?

I did listen all the way to the end, but it was a challenge.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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A Solid 5 Star Story of Suspense!

I’m a big mystery fan and I’m always looking for the next great listen. My last couple of books were disappointing so I was really hoping for a book that would draw me in and keep my attention. Force of Nature was exactly what I was looking for - strong characters, genuine suspense, interesting setting, and a story with multiple layers. Even better - Force of Nature isn’t plagued with gratuitous violence, no shootouts or car chases, just a good solid mystery with a decent likable hero who isn’t perfect- but is worth getting to know. This is the second book featuring Aaron Falk and while the author’s first Falk mystery- The Dry - is also well worth reading- Force of Nature stands on its own. The narrator is perfect for the story. I couldn’t stop listening and I’m only sad that it will likely take me a while to find another book this good!

5 of 8 people found this review helpful

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You can feel the energy seeping out of the story

What disappointed you about Force of Nature?

The story feels stilted and bending over ways to make "small" points.

What could Jane Harper have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

Stay clear of the small psychological points and develop one central storyline more concisely.

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tedious

Struggled to finish. It was so spelled out that it left nothing to the reader.

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The Camping Trip to H*ll!

Not ladies I want to go camping with! The most incompatible group of women go on a trust building survival retreat!