01 May 2018

Today's Read: Force of Nature by Jane Harper

Force of Nature by Jane HarperHow long could you live in the Australian wilderness if you became separated from your colleagues while on a corporate retreat? What if you were more used to power suits, high heels, and the city than you were to jeans and hiking boots? When a banking executive is reported missing while on a camping trip, search and rescue know they'd better work fast if they're going to find the woman alive.

Later, the four remaining women could fully agree on only two things. One: No one saw the bushland swallow up Alice Russell. And two: Alice had a mean streak so sharp it could cut you.
Force of Nature by Jane Harper (Flatiron Books, 2018, p. 1; Prologue)

Quick Facts
  • Setting: contemporary times; Australia: Giralang Ranges, Melbourne
  • Circumstances: Five men and five women from a corporate bank go on a three-day hiking retreat, which is supposed to strengthen bonds and trust. It's the men against the women, and the first group to emerge from the bush is entitled to bonuses and bragging rights. As the book opens, the men are already back at the pickup van waiting impatiently for the women. When they're finally spotted coming off the trail, only four women are in the group. Search and rescue ask federal agent Aaron Falk and his new partner, Cameron Cooper, to help find the missing banker.
  • Genre: mystery, thriller
  • Characters: Aaron Falk, 38, a federal agent in the financial sector; Cameron Cooper, 38, experienced agent, newly engaged; Alice Russell, corporate banker who was secretly cooperating with the agents as a whistleblower; the other nine people on retreat, all employees or executives at the bank and including two sets of siblings; various other people involved with the search and rescue
  • Why I want to read this: I really loved Harper's first book, The Dry, which took place in the small farming community where Falk grew up. The novel had the perfect mix of well-developed characters, a complex plot, a fully realized landscape, and a low buzz of tension. I have every hope that Force of Nature will be just as good.
  • What you need to know: I've only just started Force of Nature, but I can tell already that it's possible to start reading the Falk mysteries with this book, but because the series is only two books long (so far), I strongly suggest you start with The Dry. I say this not just so you'll be caught up with the Falk story but because the first book reveals Falk's background and childhood, which inform his character as an adult.
  • What about the audiobook? Ahhhh welllll, the audiobooks are both read by Stephen Shanahan, who has a very fluid, natural delivery. His performance is expressive and it's easy to tell the characters apart. I loved his Australian accent, which adds to the setting, and his pacing amped the tension. The unabridged edition of Force of Nature is from Macmillan Audio (8 hr, 56 min). I both listened to and read The Dry and plan the same with the second book.


(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea 5/1/18, 7:13 AM  

This sounds really good; I need to check it out in more detail.

Tina 5/1/18, 7:32 AM  

Fabulous! I certainly loved The Dry and look forward to this one. This author has my attention!

Catherine @ Book Club Librarian 5/1/18, 8:33 AM  

I've been eyeing this one for a while--hope you enjoy it.

rhapsodyinbooks 5/1/18, 8:59 AM  

I love an Australian accent too. I may have to find this on audio!

bermudaonion 5/1/18, 9:34 AM  

I struggle with accents so I'll go with print if I decide to read this.

Kathy Martin 5/1/18, 10:07 AM  

This does sound like a great thriller. I've been meaning to add The Dry to my stack for a while too. This week I am featuring Cake and Punishment by Maymee Bell. Happy reading!

Laurel-Rain Snow 5/1/18, 10:23 AM  

I enjoyed The Dry, and also downloaded Force of Nature. But I haven't read it yet. Now I am tempted to begin immediately.

Thanks for sharing...and for visiting my blog.

Booksarge 5/1/18, 12:57 PM  

Love the intro.Sounds like a book I would enjoy. Happy reading

Vicki 5/1/18, 2:15 PM  

Sounds good, and I'm happy to know that his narration makes it easy to tell the characters apart. I have a lot of books in my to read list right now but I might be looking for a copy of this soon.

Margot 5/1/18, 2:59 PM  

I've read very few stories set in Australia. I'm due one and this sounds a really good mystery.

(Diane) bookchickdi 5/1/18, 4:03 PM  

I have The Dry sitting on my shelf staring at me, I must read it and then Force of Nature.

Greg 5/1/18, 7:29 PM  

This sounds good, and I remember seeing something on it not too long ago (either that or it was the Dry). I like the sound of it.

CLM 5/1/18, 9:57 PM  

I was a bit disappointed in The Dry - perhaps overhyped? However, I am eager to read this one and have it on hold at the library.

sjhigbee 5/2/18, 6:35 AM  

This one has a really intriguing premise and I hope you're enjoying it:)

Les in Oregon 5/3/18, 11:26 AM  

I loved both of these and can't wait for her to publish #3!

Daryl 5/7/18, 11:00 AM  

i read a review of this a while ago ... it sounded intriguing .. i am adding it and the first book to my TBR list! thanks!

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