Wednesday 28 February 2018

Force of Nature by Jane Harper

This is how you do modern crime without the vicious twist. Harper plots like an Agatha, lures you in with the vivid imagery of the location and keeps you dangling on a string for the solution. It's well-plotted, has a steady pace and the solution isn't predictable.

Although Aaron Falk is the lead detective and main character Harper doesn't let him overpower the plot, which is a good thing. Sometimes the personal problems and attitude of a main character can completely consume an intelligent and captivating plot.

Five women go on a hike into the Australian bush, but only four come back out. What seems like an innocent exercise in team-building becomes a battle to survive the elements, and not to knock the living daylights out of each other.

Team-building is neither here nor there when you can't stand the people you are supposed to work together with as a team. So when difficulties arise you are more likely to turn on each other instead of helping each other to achieve a common goal.

Alice isn't really very popular with her colleagues. She looks out for herself in life and her career. She is the grown-up version of a mean girl. There are plenty of reasons to dislike Alice in general, there are plenty of reasons for the other four women to dislike Alice, so when they come back and she doesn't the suspicion falls on all of them equally.

Harper is adept at giving the reader the sense of being right there in the bush with those women. Every tree looks the same, every path looks like the one before, and it is easy to feel as if you're being swallowed alive by nature. This is an excellent example of how dangerous the Australian bush is, despite civilisation only being a spit away in this case.

The author writes a captivating read, and it certainly keeps the reader riveted until the end.

Buy Force of Nature at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.

Follow @janeharperautho @LittleBrownUK

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