The Lost Man by Jane Harper

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“Life out here is hard. We all try to get through the best way we can. But trust me, there’s not a single person here who isn’t lying to themselves about something.”

Jane Harper has fast become one of my favourite mystery/thriller authors, and each book I have read so far has left me eagerly anticipating her next release. The Lost Man is a standalone novel that takes the reader to the Australian outback, where a death that occurred in the unforgiving heat brings to light many long buried secrets. The discovery of Cameron Bright’s body brings shock to a town that held him in good regard, and most troubling is the fact that he was found dead of dehydration nine miles away from his truck. As someone who knew better than to wander out on his own in the scorching heat, it is assumed that the death is a suicide. However, his older brother Nathan is not convinced. Only by facing his past and their troubled childhood will he find the answers he is searching for.

“They lived in a land of extremes in more ways than one. People were either completely fine, or very not.”

This is an incredibly atmospheric novel that brings to life every aspect of the Australian outback and its harsh conditions. As with her previous novels, the author focuses on the characters and the dynamics of the relationships, which is what truly connects the reader to the story. The mystery itself feels somewhat secondary, acting as an underlying current that moves the story forward. I personally love character-driven novels, and I love mysteries, so this has been a perfect marriage of the two. I found myself so absorbed in these characters’ lives and their shared history that I would have happily read an entire book just about that, mystery not required. I feel that this is why I have loved Jane Harper’s novels so much; I connect to the characters and get so swept up in the setting that I am never disappointed in the outcome of the mystery. It always all concludes in a quiet and dignified way that feels natural to the story. The Lost Man is a thoroughly compelling novel, and one that has left me eagerly awaiting Jane Harper’s next release, yet again. 🙂

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