Today I’m thrilled to be part of the blog tour for the Force Of Nature by Jane Harper. I was a huge fan of the first book in the series THE DRY and it’s a book I would highly recommend. If you are looking for a different type of crime thriller that doesn’t involve a serial killer or gruesome scenes that you are going to love The Force Of Nature, so what’s it about? Read on to find out
FIVE WENT OUT. FOUR CAME BACK…
Is Alice here? Did she make it? Is she safe? In the chaos, in the night, it was impossible to say which of the four had asked after Alice’s welfare. Later, when everything got worse, each would insist it had been them.
Five women reluctantly pick up their backpacks and start walking along the muddy track. Only four come out the other side.
The hike through the rugged landscape is meant to take the office colleagues out of their air-conditioned comfort zone and teach resilience and team building. At least that is what the corporate retreat website advertises.
Federal Police Agent Aaron Falk has a particularly keen interest in the whereabouts of the missing bushwalker. Alice Russell is the whistleblower in his latest case – and Alice knew secrets. About the company she worked for and the people she worked with.
Far from the hike encouraging teamwork, the women tell Falk a tale of suspicion, violence and disintegrating trust. And as he delves into the disappearance, it seems some dangers may run far deeper than anyone knew.
Force Of Nature by Jane Harper is the second book in a series featuring Federal Police Agent Aaron Falk, yes it can be read as a standalone but if like me you prefer to start a series at the beginning I would highly recommend you read The Dry first. From the start this book has such a different feel to it, we leave the blistering heat and claustrophobic setting of a small town in the outback and move to the cold, wet and hostile environment of the remote Giralang Range. The author has a flair for describing her settings in great detail, so much so that you feel you are there amid the harsh terrain, the howling winds and the torrential rain, the sense of isolation the author evokes is palatable from the start.
Can you imagine trekking through the wilderness with your work colleagues? Putting your trust in them? Reliant on each other to survive? All in the name of “team building” no? well that’s pretty much the premise for this book. Aaron Falk and his partner Carmen are called to the Giralang Range, when Alice one of the team members goes missing. Force Of Nature is told in alternating timelines, you have chapters that take the reader back in time to follow the women on their hike, and then you have chapters featuring Aaron and Carmen in the present assisting the search and slowly revealing the details of Alice’s disappearance.
Force Of Nature reminds me very much of the traditional “whodunnit”, where the focus is more on the characters and guessing whose behind the skullduggery and the why, rather than the fast paced, gruesome crime thrillers many of us are use to reading. Jane Harper focuses her time on building on the tension and suspense, which some readers may find off putting, but personally I enjoyed the more sedate pace.
As Jane Harper reveals more details of the five women life’s I found myself scrutinising everyone of them with suspicion. The author very realistically portrays the woman’s behaviour and emotions set against the backdrop of an isolated environment where their instinct to survive far outweighs their allegiance to their work colleagues. Force Of Nature is a complex tale that explores themes such as grudges, bullying and family ties, shrouded in mystery and secrets, that draw the reader in making for an engrossing read. Force Of Nature is a book I would recommend to those who enjoy a crime thriller with a heart and aren’t a fan of the more gruesome crime thrillers that are on the market.
Print Length: 400 pages
Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group (26 Sept. 2017)
My thanks to the publishers for an ARC in exchange for an unbiased review.
About the author
Jane Harper is the author of The Dry, winner of various awards including the 2015 Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for an Unpublished Manuscript, the 2017 Indie Award Book of the Year, the 2017 Australian Book Industry Awards Book of the Year Award and the CWA Gold Dagger Award for the best crime novel of 2017.
Rights have been sold in 27 territories worldwide, and film rights optioned to Reese Witherspoon and Bruna Papandrea. Jane worked as a print journalist for thirteen years both in Australia and the UK and lives in Melbourne.