Set over the course of a single day and night, Harmless is a tense, provocative, and psychologically astute first novel in the tradition of Herman Koch's The Dinner, Tom Perrotta's Little Children, and Christos Tsiolkas' The Slap, about a weekend reunion of old friends that takes a terrifying turn when two teenage girls go missing.
At a remote farm, a group of old friends gather to catch up, sit by the fire, and forget about their overworked lives. But a long weekend in the country is not Joseph's idea of a good time - not when he's promised his ex-wife he'll use the occasion to talk to their troubled 14-year-old daughter, and not when the farm belongs to his former lover and her husband, Alex. Once best friends, Joseph and Alex are now estranged, with much left unspoken between them.
As more guests arrive and the reunion unfolds, old rivalries, new pressures, and erotic tensions surface. But things take a terrifying turn when the adults return from a nostalgic drug-fueled bender at sundown to discover their two teenage daughters are missing. As night descends and the girls remain unfound, Joseph and Alex decide to enter the surrounding woods together in search of their daughters. What the two men encounter in the wilderness will push them to confront how far they are willing to go to protect the ones they love.
By turns blackly comic, thought provoking, and harrowing, Harmless introduces James Grainger as an unflinching observer of the way we live now and exposes the dark impulses we conceal beneath the veneer of our modern lives.