The Dry

  • by Jane Harper
  • Narrated by Stephen Shanahan
  • 9 hrs and 46 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

A small town hides big secrets in The Dry, an atmospheric, captivating debut mystery by award-winning author Jane Harper.
After getting a note demanding his presence, Federal Agent Aaron Falk arrives in his hometown for the first time in decades to attend the funeral of his best friend, Luke. Twenty years ago, when Falk was accused of murder, Luke was his alibi. Falk and his father fled under a cloud of suspicion, saved from prosecution only because of Luke's steadfast claim that the boys had been together at the time of the crime. But now more than one person knows they didn't tell the truth back then, and Luke is dead.
Amid the worst drought in a century, Falk and the local detective question what really happened to Luke. As Falk reluctantly investigates to see if there's more to Luke's death than there seems to be, long-buried mysteries resurface, as do the lies that have haunted them. And Falk will find that small towns have always hidden big secrets.

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What the Critics Say

"Debut author Jane Harper's fine prose and narrator Steven Shanahan's expert delivery combine for a transcendent Australian noir experience.... Shanahan's accent and speech patterns immerse listeners in the Australian countryside. He also consistently sprinkles in little touches - a stifled yawn, a burp after a swig of beer, a nasally voice for a man with a broken nose - that breathe vivid life into the story and characters." (AudioFile)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

LOVED, LOVED, LOVED this one!

This is so-o-o-o-o very good! The narration is spectacular -- Shanahan's voice and characterization draws you right to the scene. Most of all, this is an outstanding story with great characters with whom readers can relate. I found the decades old question about the death of a young girl to be an intriguing mystery -- particularly when set against a more current bludgeoning of a young family in the same town. You will think about it after the lights are off, for certain and best of all, the mystery isn't solved until the very end. No cliff hanger, no silly "got it solved" in the first half event. Just a great story all around!
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- Paula "Enjoying one good listen after the next!"

Dry, Indeed


A captivating title, high ratings and great reviews, featured as one of Amazon's Best Books of the Month, this debut novel by Harper had everything going for it until I came along. I was just not the right reader for this one, and I think I can blame some adrenaline from my last book still coursing through my veins. Dry has the underpinnings of a good story; it has good diverse characters that are bound together by a mystery and come together again as adults facing a bigger and more dangerous puzzle to solve. Australia as the setting is scenic, a parched land sucking the life out of the residents as well as the farms and businesses. But, I was a little bored, and felt I'd read it all before in a more lively version. Not only Kiewarra felt arid.

Dry felt slow to me, and shackled by too much dialogue that kept the story moving at a choppy pace. Transitions between time periods were confusing, requiring most of your concentration to leave the narration and figure out exactly *when* you are at the moment. The missed opportunities for the author to magnify the DRY instead of the lackluster created a story that felt only small in its hugeness instead of withered, shrunken, dried up and desperate. I experienced this as a hopeful bird trying to take wing (yes, I unfairly compared it to Colleen McCullough's Thorn Birds).

But I still recommend; this is a 2-3*'s for me and one I think will be 4-5 *'s for most. The novel won the $15,000 Victorian Premier Literary Award for An Unpublished Manuscript, and Reese Witherspoon is developing the novel into a screenplay. I finished, which means I didn't hate it, and I hope others enjoy this choice.
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- Mel

Book Details

  • Release Date: 01-10-2017
  • Publisher: Macmillan Audio