A slow-burn mystery about a man's inexplicable death under the unforgiving outback sun that becomes a story of family dynamics, secrets, and loyalty.
I've now read all of Jane Harper's books. While I did find this newest book more interesting than the Aaron Falk novels, I don't think her books are really my style.
The Lost Man follows Nathan, estranged brother of the deceased. I would argue that he is the "lost man" of the title, not his brother. The story is much more about their family dynamics and events that happened long ago than about Cam's death, so there is a lot of dredging up the past, old relationships, moments gone wrong, and situations that perhaps seem different in retrospect.
This is one of those narratives that is so tied up in the past (i.e. events that the reader knows nothing about until given unwieldy flashbacks or the characters decide to remember them) that you can't really know what is going on until it is really obvious. While this narrative technique isn't necessarily bad, it does make for inactive storytelling as the reader can't be a part of the discovery and creation of the story. It can feel very static or stale to read because it feels like everything has already been predetermined and as the reader we are only privy to those past events (that are shared by the characters) when it becomes relevant to the story. It just makes me feel like I'm being spoon fed a narrative, and I find that boring.
What I did enjoy was reading a book set in the Australian outback. I'm not sure that is a setting I've read about before in a novel and I really like reading about new places, especially ones I've never been to. It's always a fun trip you can take in your head.
My thanks to Flatiron Books for sending me an advance copy of this one to read and review.
Associate editor, amateur photdographer, bibliophile, and occasional sleuth.