Book Review: Force of Nature by Jane Harper

I got this book as an advanced reading copy from Pan Macmillan. You can read it in October 2017.

Five women go into the bush. Four come out. What exactly happened to Alice Russell?

Set in the mountainous bushland of the ACT, Force of Nature is a suspenseful page turner you’ll find hard to put down. Aaron Falk and his partner Carmen Cooper are working a money laundering case when their key witness disappears on a three day hiking trip with her workmates. No one seems to know what happened to Alice, but none of the stories quite make sense and as the search party begins to give up hope, the quiet menace of the bush builds and builds- what, or who, is out there?

The story runs in two time periods- the story of the women in the bush, told from various points of view (but never Alice’s), and the story of the police trying to unravel the mystery. There’s beautifully inserted counter-narratives (the tragic Rebecca, betrayed Margot, the strange dynamic between Aaron and Carmen, Aaron’s memories of his father), which prove a stark comparison to the violence that could have happened on the hike.

This is a well written, beautifully paced book that will remind you that sometimes it’s not the bogeyman in the woods we need to be scared of, but our own demons and the lengths we go to to keep them hidden.

4/5 stars

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