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Publisher's Summary

Instant New York Times best seller

Winner of the CWA's Gold Dagger Award 

"A breathless page-turner, driven by the many revelations Ms. Harper dreams up...You'll love [her] sleight of hand...A secret on every page." (The New York Times)

"One of the most stunning debuts I've ever read...Every word is near perfect." (David Baldacci)

A small town hides big secrets in The Dry, an atmospheric debut mystery by award-winning author Jane Harper. 

After getting a note demanding his presence, Federal Agent Aaron Falk arrives in his hometown for the first time in decades to attend the funeral of his best friend, Luke. Twenty years ago when Falk was accused of murder, Luke was his alibi. Falk and his father fled under a cloud of suspicion, saved from prosecution only because of Luke's steadfast claim that the boys had been together at the time of the crime. But now more than one person knows they didn't tell the truth back then, and Luke is dead. 

Amid the worst drought in a century, Falk and the local detective question what really happened to Luke. As Falk reluctantly investigates to see if there's more to Luke's death than there seems to be, long-buried mysteries resurface, as do the lies that have haunted them. And Falk will find that small towns have always hidden big secrets. 

©2016 Jane Harper (P)2016 Macmillan Audio

Critic Reviews

"Debut author Jane Harper's fine prose and narrator Steven Shanahan's expert delivery combine for a transcendent Australian noir experience.... Shanahan's accent and speech patterns immerse listeners in the Australian countryside. He also consistently sprinkles in little touches - a stifled yawn, a burp after a swig of beer, a nasally voice for a man with a broken nose - that breathe vivid life into the story and characters." (AudioFile)

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What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    2,455
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    667
  • 2 Stars
    121
  • 1 Stars
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Performance

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Story

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  • 2 Stars
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Nothing dry here!

I'm surprised by how much I enjoyed this book. The concept is nothing new - man returns to hometown he left in disgrace, gets involved in mystery/drama, leaves a changed man - but this is done very well. Great cast of characters and the murder(s) confounded me the whole time. It was masterful the way Harper interwove the past with the present. It was almost like she brought the past to the present from an array of perspectives until both story lines crossed, and then, didn't. You have to read it to get that last comment. I recommend you do. I got so into it, I had to finish it in one day.

79 of 84 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

LOVED, LOVED, LOVED this one!

This is so-o-o-o-o very good! The narration is spectacular -- Shanahan's voice and characterization draws you right to the scene. Most of all, this is an outstanding story with great characters with whom readers can relate. I found the decades old question about the death of a young girl to be an intriguing mystery -- particularly when set against a more current bludgeoning of a young family in the same town. You will think about it after the lights are off, for certain and best of all, the mystery isn't solved until the very end. No cliff hanger, no silly "got it solved" in the first half event. Just a great story all around!

93 of 100 people found this review helpful

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

Outstanding!

It's been a long time since I have listened to a mystery suspense book that was so well written. Not a wasted word nor a dull sentence. I easily gave this book 5 stars all around.
Nothing sloppy or formulaic about this book. Just one hell of an enjoyable book.

55 of 60 people found this review helpful

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

Really good

I've listened to a couple annoying stories lately so this one was very refreshing, I'm hoping it turns into a series using the main character! Excellent narration too.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Dry, Indeed


A captivating title, high ratings and great reviews, featured as one of Amazon's Best Books of the Month, this debut novel by Harper had everything going for it until I came along. I was just not the right reader for this one, and I think I can blame some adrenaline from my last book still coursing through my veins. Dry has the underpinnings of a good story; it has good diverse characters that are bound together by a mystery and come together again as adults facing a bigger and more dangerous puzzle to solve. Australia as the setting is scenic, a parched land sucking the life out of the residents as well as the farms and businesses. But, I was a little bored, and felt I'd read it all before in a more lively version. Not only Kiewarra felt arid.

Dry felt slow to me, and shackled by too much dialogue that kept the story moving at a choppy pace. Transitions between time periods were confusing, requiring most of your concentration to leave the narration and figure out exactly *when* you are at the moment. The missed opportunities for the author to magnify the DRY instead of the lackluster created a story that felt only small in its hugeness instead of withered, shrunken, dried up and desperate. I experienced this as a hopeful bird trying to take wing (yes, I unfairly compared it to Colleen McCullough's Thorn Birds).

But I still recommend; this is a 2-3*'s for me and one I think will be 4-5 *'s for most. The novel won the $15,000 Victorian Premier Literary Award for An Unpublished Manuscript, and Reese Witherspoon is developing the novel into a screenplay. I finished, which means I didn't hate it, and I hope others enjoy this choice.

91 of 109 people found this review helpful

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

Best mystery I've read in years.

I am going to hate waiting for her next mystery. Beautifully plotted and executed. She is a master.

30 of 36 people found this review helpful

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

Bad editing

I enjoyed the story and liked the narration. My big issue was the way the narration was pieced together. They did a horrible job, it had long pauses mid-sentence like they didn't cut the recorded sessions together correctly. It was very off putting.

12 of 14 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Excellent!

Best book ever! Great storyline, characters and narration. Couldn’t put it down! Can’t wait to read her next book. 5 stars!!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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

Good story with sloppy audio editing

The Dry is a solid mystery with believable characters, a setting that becomes part of the story, and several surprises that are expertly managed.

The reader does a good job although it took a few minutes for my ear to adjust to his Australian accent.

The audio editing is awful though. There are frequent pauses of two or three seconds where there should be no pause at all. Sometimes the reader announces the book title before the chapter title, and sometimes he doesn't. These are little things, but they're distracting and they happen throughout the book.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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

Intriguing Aussie

I found both the characters and the place interesting to read about. I wasn't totally taken by the storyline being exposed by switching back and forth from the present to twenty years before, but I did enjoy the story.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful