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I stumbled upon Harper's first book, The Dry, a police procedural mystery set in rural Australia and was hooked. As a matter of fact I practically listened non stop. I thought the characters were well developed and that the story was consistent and believable. Harper really captured the feeling of the location and the extreme drought. Shanahan's narration was perfect in the way he captured the nuances and the flashback time shifts. Had I written a review I would have given The Dry all five stars--I liked it that much.
The next day I snapped up book two, Force of Nature and jumped right in. I'll admit that I struggled with this second book in the series. There was something different with the writing this time around. Where The Dry had hard hitting descriptions and abrupt time shifts between past and present events, book two seemed almost vague. The storytelling felt hesitant in a strange way. At times, I had trouble keeping the five women coworker characters straight. For me, they were often just a sea of faceless names. Several times I resorted to rewinding and re-listening just to be sure that I hadn't missed something.
Shanahan's narration started out a bit flat and lacked some of the dynamics from book one. I don't know if this was just a case of the narrator mirroring the writing style or something else. But as the book progressed the writing improved and as the writing improved the narration also got better. Phew--I'm glad it worked out because I enjoy Shanahan's reading style.
In the end Harper pulled it together and I liked the book. Honestly, I didn't like it anywhere near as much as I liked The Dry, but the series has a balance I really look forward to. It has a level of kindness or maybe really a feeling of heart that I'd like to think exists in life but is often missing in this genre.
Recommended if you like police procedural/mysteries set in Australia with lots of local atmosphere. I definitely will be keeping an eye out for book three.
23 of 24 people found this review helpful
After The Dry I knew I wanted to read anything written by Jane Harper. Force of Nature is
focused on a group of women who are lost while on a hike/trip. It has many twists and turns and the guilty party was a surprise to me. Great story and well narrated by Stephen Shanahan. I enjoyed his accent! I recommend this mystery!
11 of 12 people found this review helpful