Hi, everyone! Welcome back. Today I wanted to talk about two audiobooks that I finished recently. Both books are by Jane Harper and they are the first two books in what is being called the Aaron Falk Series. These books are The Dry and Force of Nature. Both books follow Federal Agent Aaron Falk. He works for the Australian Federal Police and both books are mysteries that Aaron gets involved with and eventually helps to solve. The Dry, which is the first book in this series, follows Aaron as he goes back to his hometown of Kiewarra, which is a fictional place that is about five hours outside of Melbourne, and he is going there to attend the funeral of his childhood best friend, Luke, who has been accused of a double murder-suicide.
Luke supposedly killed his wife and his son before killing himself and Aaron ends up getting involved in figuring out whether or not this is actually the case and because he is back in his hometown for the first time in many, many years, it dredges up a lot of old memories. He sees a lot of people that he has not seen in a long time. So, there is potentially something else from Aarons past that we are dealing with. Force of Nature, which is the second book, takes place about six months after the events of The Dry. Aaron and his partner Carmen are working this case together and there is a key player named Alice who goes missing. Alice goes missing while on a hiking work retreat in the Giralang Forest which, as far as I understand, is also a fictional location. Feel free to correct me if I am wrong, but it is apparently about three hours outside of Melbourne and Aaron and Carmen go there to figure out if maybe Alice just went missing, you know, hiked off the wrong trail or if there is something more foul at play. The first thing I want to say is that because I listened to these as audiobooks and the books take place in Australia, the narrator was Australian and it was so nice to listen to that accent.
Its not an accent that I hear every day and it was just... really nice. Obviously, it is not something you would experience if you were reading the books, but if you do choose to listen to them that is, in my opinion, a big highlight. Both books have a very similar style in which they are written where you follow Aaron in present day at that time as he is figuring things out but they also both have lots of flashbacks to when the mystery is occurring so you are following characters who were relevant to what is happening and so you are slowly learning things about other characters and you are figuring things out maybe as Aarons figuring them out. Sometimes you might- you are getting extra information that Aaron never knows but either way you are learning along the way with Aaron and I actually found that to be a really good way to do it. Sometimes flashbacks can just be like: okay now, you know, hurry through I want to figure out what is happening right now, but I really did enjoy the flashbacks for both of these.
I found them very handy. Those flashbacks lended themselves to one of the biggest compliments that I can give both of these and that is the characters. I loved a lot of the characters in these books, whether they were good characters or evil characters. I liked them because we got to know so much about them. The character development was excellent. Aaron is obviously the main character so we follow him and we learn a lot about him but we learned so much about the secondary characters, enough that I could understand their motivations, where they were coming from, and I think that is really saying something when you are working with one book.
This Is not a series where all of the characters carry over into the next one so these people that you meet in this one story you really get to know them and I-I just loved getting to get all the details about them and those flashbacks were key in getting those details. Theyre also- Both books are also fairly well paced. Those flashbacks, more particularly in The Dry, were a little slow at times. I did not find- I do not think I found any of them in Force of Nature to be slow, but with The Dry I did find some a little slow because there were flashbacks to Aarons past, like when he was a little kid, and I found some of those to be a bit slow.
Another thing that I loved about both of these books was how important the location was to the story. They both created such an interesting, intense atmosphere. With The Dry, Kiewarra is sort of out in the outback and it is experiencing a very severe drought. Its very hot. Its the Australian summer and people are just roasting. Theres sand and dirt whipping everywhere because the wind is this hot, hot wind is blowing across what feels like a desert even though it should not be and that was just, oh man, it felt so oppressive you could really feel it and it is quite the contrast when you go from reading The Dry, which is about the heat and just how oppressive it can be, there is no water, huge drought - to going to the other book, the next book in the series that it takes place in a very rainy environment where it is very cold and hypothermia is a real issue.
But the forest as well - having all of these gigantic trees just feel like they are squeezing you in on this trail and the- the different wildlife and how that kind of makes you feel uncomfortable even just being in this unknown location with all of these like birds and different sounds and whatnot and so both of the books, the actual location where the events take place is very important and I loved how it was written. It really helped you feel like you were part of the story, like you were in it. Though these books are part of the same series they deal with very different mysteries, different crimes. So in The Dry, I really liked the reveal of the actual whodunnit. I really liked that and then with Force of Nature I wasnt so much concerned with the whodunnit as the actual relationship that Alice has with the other employees that she is on this work retreat with. So there is a girls group and a guys group and although I liked seeing the interactions of, you know, whatever the very minimal interactions there were between the guys and the girls, I really loved being in with those five females.
So the flashback scenes with the five of them were key and I really enjoyed getting to understand all of their relationships with each other. Both of these books I would like to give four and a half stars to. I enjoyed both of them thoroughly. There were so many things that I loved about these books from the actual story line to the well-developed characters to the flashbacks, most of the time, and just the locations themselves.
Things I did not really enjoy as much were the slower pacing with The Dry in some of those flashbacks and there also was a development of a relationship in Force of Nature that I wasnt totally on board with. Like, I do not hate it but I wasnt- I was kind of hoping it would not happen and it did. So yeah, you know, but it was definitely not so serious that it really took away from my enjoyment of the story, so that is why I gave both of them four and a half stars. I would definitely recommend these books if you are looking for an atmospheric thriller or just a really interesting mystery with a lot of characters that are all very well developed. I will definitely be reading the next book in this series when it does eventually come out. Jane Harper actually has a standalone novel that is being released in October 2018. I think the October date is only in Australia. I do not think it comes out in the US or Canada until the beginning of 2019, but either way, I will definitely be reading that book as well.
I will be curious to see how she does with brand-new characters. This standalone book is called The Lost Man and it also takes place in Australia so hopefully I can look forward to listening to it on audiobook again and getting to hear that wonderful Australian accent. If you guys have read one, if not both, of these books definitely let me know what you thought of them down below. If you had particular characters that you really enjoyed you can tell me as well. I am curious to see who you guys might have really fallen in love with even though they are only secondary characters, just because there are so many well-written ones. As always, all of our links are the doobly-doo so you can go check those out if you feel so inclined.