Force of Nature by Jane Harper #bookreview

On my blog today, I’m sharing my thoughts on the second novel in the Aaron Falk series by Jane Harper, Force of Nature.

BLURB

Is Alice here? Did she make it? Is she safe? In the chaos, in the night, it was impossible to say which of the four had asked after Alice’s welfare. Later, when everything got worse, each would insist it had been them.

Five women reluctantly pick up their backpacks and start walking along the muddy track. Only four come out the other side.

The hike through the rugged landscape is meant to take the office colleagues out of their air-conditioned comfort zone and teach resilience and team building. At least that is what the corporate retreat website advertises.

Federal Police Agent Aaron Falk has a particularly keen interest in the whereabouts of the missing bushwalker. Alice Russell is the whistleblower in his latest case – and Alice knew secrets. About the company she worked for and the people she worked with.

Far from the hike encouraging teamwork, the women tell Falk a tale of suspicion, violence and disintegrating trust. And as he delves into the disappearance, it seems some dangers may run far deeper than anyone knew.

MY THOUGHTS

I loved Jane Harper’s debut novel, The Dry, when I read it a few years ago, so I’m really pleased that I’ve caught up on the second book in the series, Force of Nature. Aaron Falk is back, and this time, he is investigating the disappearance of a woman, Alice Russell, who has vanished while on a back packing trip with friends in the Australian outback. Aaron Falk has previously worked with Alice, who has worked with him on an investigation, so this adds a chilling note to Alice’s disappearance, particularly as the investigation was to do with the company she works for. This is especially the case when we learn that one of Alice’s last messages before she went missing was to Falk.

I loved the tension Jane Harper creates surrounding Alice’s disappearance. There is an immediate threat of danger, and you know from the outset, that the chances of the police finding Alice alive are very slim, especially given the terrain she has vanished in. But what happened to Alice? I really wanted to know, and I liked how Jane Harper went back in time, showing us what happened in the days preceding Alice’s disappearance as the group of friends set off together.

Jane Harper is a master at crafting landscapes in her novels, and she really captures the danger as the women set off. The way in which Jane describes the landscapes, making them feel so real in her writing, is what makes both of these two books unique. I’m kicking myself that it’s taken me this long to get round to reading Force of Nature. You get the sense that things can quickly change, away from the main towns and cities, and Jane Harper shows how experienced you need to be in exploring these routes. Falk and the police know how difficult their task is.

Falk is a brilliant character, and his voice draws you into the story, keeping you captivated. He isn’t a police detective; he is part of the financial investigation unit. From the moment when he is contacted by Alice Russell, when she leaves him a mysterious voice message, in the beginning of the book, you can sense the dread he is feeling. You can see that he is determined to find out what has happened to her.

I thoroughly enjoyed Force of Nature. It is another gripping read from Jane Harper and I will make sure that I catch up on her other books as soon as possible.

Publisher: Little Brown

Publication date: 26th September 2017

Print length: 334 pages

Force of Nature is available to buy:

Amazon UK Kobo Waterstones

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