He had started to remove his clothes as logic had deserted him and his skin was cracked. Whatever had been going through Cameron’s mind when he was alive, he didn’t look peaceful in death.
Two brothers meet at the remote fence line separating their cattle farms under the relenting sun of the remote outback. In an isolated part of Western Australia, they are each other’s nearest neighbour, their homes three hours’ drive apart.
They are at the stockman’s grave, a landmark so old that no one can remember who is buried there. But today, the scant shadow it casts was the last hope for their middle brother, Cameron, who lies dead at their feet.
Something had been on Cam’s mind. Did he choose to walk to his death? Because if he didn’t, the isolation of the outback leaves few suspects…
The Lost Man is the highly anticipated new book from the bestselling and award-winning Jane Harper, author of The Dryand Force of Nature.
Jane Harper author of two of my favourite books of this year The Dry and Force of Nature is back with a new standalone thriller set in the Australian Outback. It’s a tense and atmospheric read with the wonderful descriptions and characterization we’ve come to expect from Harper. The setting of the story is once again the highlight with the writing so brilliant that it’s all too easy to imagine yourself in this hostile and unforgiving place. The intense heat, barren flat ground with nothing for miles creates a real sense of isolation that make this a gripping read despite a relatively slow paced story.
There are very few characters in this story with the focus very much on Nathan as he comes to terms with, and tries to solve, the mystery of his brother’s death which it soon becomes clear was not an easy one. How did he end up miles from his car (which was fully loaded with supplies and running perfectly) in blistering heat when he knew better? Did he deliberately head out there knowing it would mean his death or did something (or someone) happen to him? And why is it these brothers haven’t really spoken in years?
I thought Nathan was a very likeable character, there was something about him and his history that reminded me of Aaron Falk the lead in the author’s other series. He’s an outcast in town due to something that happened in the past, he had a difficult relationship with his father but generally seems like a decent bloke. I found myself very intrigued by him and loved the way his backstory was gradually revealed over the course of the book. It was difficult to imagine just what he could have done that would be so terrible the whole town would turn against him.
There are very few other characters and those there are are predominantly Nathan’s family. Each and every one however is well developed and complex. The relationships between them are similarly complicated. They have a shared history that goes back a long time and know each other incredibly well, or at least think that they do. I loved the way that the dynamic between them shifted and developed over the course of the story and I was particularly fascinated by Nathan’s relationship with his son Xander.
This isn’t an action packed story but with such a tense atmosphere and the hostile environment in which it takes place it still makes for a gripping read. The little reveals and twists are spaced out perfectly, making it difficult to put down. There are also more than a few red herrings thrown in to keep you guessing until the very end, and when the ending does come it’s absolutely perfect.
Overall this is a great read and one I’d recommend to anyone who loves a good mystery with a setting that’s just as compelling as the story.
Thanks to the publisher for providing me with a copy of this book. As always all views are my own.