Force of Nature by Jane Harper

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“Five women go on a hike. Only four return. Jane Harper, the New York Times bestselling author of The Dry, asks: How well do you really know the people you work with?”

Five women compose one of two teams taking part in a corporate retreat, which has them setting off into the wilderness to navigate their way to the finish line. One of the women never makes it back, and the slightly different accounts told by her colleagues deepens the mystery of her disappearance. Federal Police Agent, Aaron Falk has a connection to the case and finds himself swept up in the investigation that takes him into an isolated region, which holds many secrets from both past and present.

“Later, the four remaining women could fully agree on only two things. One: No-one saw the bushland swallow up Alice Russell. And two: Alice had a mean streak so sharp it could cut you.”

Force of Nature is a follow-up to Jane Harper’s wonderful debut novel, The Dry. Once again we meet Agent Falk—who we got to know in the first novel—and follow his investigation of the disappearance of Alice Russell. I was a big fan of The Dry and very much looked forward to reading this next release, which is part of a series following the character of Agent Falk. As with the first novel, Force of Nature is well-written, suspenseful, and kept me guessing throughout. In fact, twice I was sure I had it figured out but that turned out to definitely not be the case. The author does a great job of creating suspense and slowly unraveling the mystery, which had me eagerly turning the pages and not being able to put the book down until the very end. The story switches between past and present to show the ongoing investigation, while providing glimpses of the group and their actions during the excursion, all of which leads to the final conclusion. This is a well-paced and a well-executed mystery that is a worthy follow-up to The Dry, and one that leaves me eagerly anticipating the next release. 

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