Force of Nature by Jane Harper

This is the second book by Jane Harper I have read in the past six months.

I was going to put a bit more time between reads but I just couldn’t help myself.  I loved Harper’s first novel,  The Dry, and I’m very happy to report I burned through this one like a raging fever too.

This author has it all going on, Readheads.

As with The Dry, our main character is Federal Police Officer Aaron Falks.  He is still investigating financial crimes and in this tale he is tracking a shady organisation with the help of an inside whistleblower, Alice Russell.

Before Alice can get all the relevant documents to Falks, she joins an outdoor adventure team-building weekend with four of her female work colleagues (five male colleagues do the same trek but a different route) and, as we know about such things,  the experience is designed to bring the group closer by ripping them out of their comfort zones.

On the final day of the trek, the women walk out of the wilderness late, worse for wear, one with a snake bite and all of them without Alice.

They report Alice stormed off before them, fed up after a disastrous trek where they were lost, without food and water and warmth for two days. They are emphatic they fully expected Alice to be waiting for them at base camp – but she has disappeared without a trace.

Enter Falk who had received a strange and muffled call in the middle of the night from Alice, while they were on the trail and the only words he can make out on the message are …’hurt her’.   He desperately needs the information from Alice to prosecute the company, so he and his partner arrive at the camp to assist the state police in their search.

And so it begins.

He starts by quietly investigating the group of walkers and what Falks uncovers is the dangers did not exist in the wild terrain, but within the group themselves.  You are kept guessing, trying to figure out who-is-who, who did what and was Alice’s betrayal discovered or was it something completely different that got her into serious trouble?

Simply put, this is a pearler crime novel and I am not alone in singing Jane Harper’s praises because every fancy book reviewer around the world is happily singing in the same choir.

If you haven’t read The Dry, maybe pick it up with this one as a box-set.  Start with The Dry and when you hit the last page,  open this one immediately. You could just read this book of course, but if you want the whole Jane Harper experience, I would go for broke.

But that is just my two cents worth.