Force of Nature

Force of NatureForce of Nature (Aaron Falk, #2) by Jane Harper
Published by Flatiron Books on February 6th 2018
Pages: 326
ISBN: 1250105633
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Five women go on a hike. Only four return…..

Another great one by Jane Harper! Five people go on a corporate retreat – they are going to hike and camp in the wilderness. They are to leave their cell phones behind and rely on themselves and each other. This is going to be team work at its best! Except, It’s NOT!. The women argue, quibble and are not very pleasant to each other. When they fail to return on time to the agreed upon rendezvous at the end of the retreat, the guides go looking for them. Eventually four of the women are found. The fifth one is missing. All the women have a similar story – similar- but not the same.

Has the tough and unforgiving terrain caused the woman to go missing? Did she make a wrong turn and get lost? This is the same terrain where serial killer, Martin Kovac, lured and killed young women. True, he was captured years ago, but he his legacy haunts the area. Could there be a copycat killer out there? Did he have any offspring? Just where is the missing woman and was foul play involved?

Federal Police Agent Aaron Falk (who we met in The Dry) and his partner, Cameron, have a connection to the missing woman. She is their secret informant on a case involving the Bailey Tennants financial firm where she works, and it appears she attempted to call Falk the night she went missing from the retreat. Wasn’t she supposed to leave her cell phone behind?

While Falk and his partner, Cameron try to figure out what happened on this retreat, Falk also wrestles with his past relationship with his father. Like the missing woman, Falk seems a little lost himself in this book. He needs to move on from a past romantic relationship and make peace with his own past, while trying to figure out who, if anyone, is telling the truth and who has something to hide.

As the women are interrogated and the pieces come together, the reader and Falk learn what happened at the same time. The story-line kept me guessing and I did not figure it out. I had my suspicions and just when I thought I had this mystery figured out, Harper threw in a curve ball.

I thought this book was great! Just like in “The Dry”, Harper uses the environment as a main character. This book is atmospheric, and the terrain feels very much alive and the characters are at its mercy. Harper pulls this off seamlessly. I will say that I wanted more Falk. We see more of his personality and personal issues in “The Dry”. I wanted a little more him personally and hopefully we get a little more of “him” in the next book ***please, fingers crossed for another book in this series***

I found this book to be wonderfully written, atmospheric, stimulating, beautifully crafted and full of dread and suspense. Harper does not disappoint, if anything, she knows how to suck the reader in and take them on a journey through the Australian bush, into the mind of her likable investigator and not so likable characters. Could this book be read as a standalone? ABSOLUTELY! But, seriously “The Dry” was fantastic. So, do yourself a favor and read that first!


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