Three people in the Hadler family are brutally murdered in a drought-ridden town in Australia, and policeman Aaron Falk is forced to return home to find the killer. This is a crime novel that will enthral you from start to finish, leaving you haunted by what you have learnt. The small community is filled with suspicion, resentment and distrust.
'Everyone is so angry……and this heat makes everything worse'
People believe Luke Hadler butchered his own wife and child before committing suicide. But Falk has his doubts, especially as he grew up with Luke and shared too many secrets with him. Ghosts from the past rise up to torment him. He has to face up to his own dubious actions following another traumatic event which took place twenty years previously.
'Luke lied. You lied'
As Falk digs deeper into the tragic deaths, he meets old friends and enemies who lead him to constantly changing possibilities. The reader is kept guessing as the action builds up to a height then drops down suddenly and unexpectedly. Memories of childhood jealousies and petty cruelties come flooding back, and Falk begins to wonder if his friend could have carried out such a heinous crime. But there are others who hated both Luke and Falk.
'The neighbour’s an aggressive old bastard. No love lost for Luke….Not at all keen to assist the police with their inquiries'
All the characters seem to have secrets that slowly unravel as the story unfolds. Falk uncovers many lies and some heart-breaking truths before he realises what really happened on that fateful day.
The heat and dust of the Australian outback is almost palpable. You can sense the vast, empty landscape with open sky and no one around.
'The space was the thing that hit them first. There was so much of it. There was enough to drown in. To look out and see not another soul between you and the horizon can be a disturbing sight.'
This gripping murder mystery will keep you sitting on the edge of your seat. The story moves at a fast pace, with tension mounting as the plot thickens. The author holds the suspense throughout the novel. A thoroughly exciting and compelling read.
Follow Jane Harper on Twitter: @janeharperautho