Looking for a well written, straightforward mystery novel? “The Dry” might just fit the bill.
Federal agent Aaron Falk returns to his hometown to attend the funeral of his boyhood friend, Luke. Luke has apparently perpetrated a murder-suicide, killing his wife and young son before turning the shotgun on himself. It’s not the first first time Aaron and Luke have been involved in a tragedy in this small farming town. Twenty years earlier, their friend, Ellie, drowned under suspicious circumstances. Aaron was briefly implicated but cleared when Luke provided him with an alibi. Despite that, Ellie’s family ran Aaron and his father out of town and some people still doubt his innocence.
Now Aaron’s back and Luke’s distraught parents ask him to look into what happened. Aaron teams up with the new, local police sergeant and together they begin to uncover information that makes them question what really occurred on Luke’s farm. In parallel, we learn what happened to Ellie twenty years earlier through haunting flashbacks.
Aaron’s job is made more difficult by towns people who are still suspicious of him and very on edge due to an extreme drought that is devastating their farms and killing their town. Ms. Harper skillfully creates a hot, dry atmosphere, which is an effective backdrop for the sad events in this novel. In fact, she convinced me that it was hot outside where I live and I was surprised when my husband opened a window and let in a cool breeze. Now that’s some good writing!
I liked “The Dry”. The author is good at writing dialogue as well as narrative. She created a solid mystery plot without trying to be too clever or gimmicky. And she created an atmosphere that was melancholy at times, but never too maudlin or dark. Overall, it was a satisfying and quickly read mystery.
Have you read “The Dry” or any other good mysteries recently? Please share your thoughts below.