Jane Harper’s debut novel was enjoyed by all – generally regarded as a real page turner – a quick read. Luke Hadler, his wife and child are found brutally murdered, and the assumption in the town is murder/suicide. Aaron Falk, a policeman has returned to the town he was driven from many years previously to attend the funeral, and in drawn into the investigation by Luke’s father who is convinced his son is not guilty. The opening scene is one of the best hooks read in a long time, although the ending was regarded by some as slightly wishy-washy. The drought felt like a major character in the action – powerfully portrayed in its impact on a small rural community dependent on farming for its livelihood – a community where everybody knows everyone else’s business. The characters were well drawn and it was easy to identify with them, although the sign posting to the culprit was possibly a bit obvious.
Discussion revolved around the effects of being an alcoholic on one’s perception of what had actually happened, and one’s ability to keep secrets.