The Lost Man by Jane Harper

The Lost Man

OK I confess I am disappointed.

Not about The Lost Man or Jane Harper’s writing, oh no, but because when reading the brilliant The Dry and it’s follow on Force of Nature I always knew I had another Harper book in the bag awaiting me. Now however I am all caught up and find myself slightly bereft that there is no longer a sub waiting on the bench.

“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 border of their vast cattle properties under the unrelenting sun of Outback Queensland.

They are at the Stockman’s Grave, a landmark so old, no one can remember who is buried there. But today, the scant shadow it casts was the last hope for their middle brother, Cameron.

The Bright family’s quiet existence is thrown into grief and anguish.

Something had been troubling Cameron. Did he lose hope and walk to his death? Because if he didn’t, the isolation of the outback leaves few suspects…”

We say a (temporary?) adieu to Falk, the star of the show in The Dry and Force of Nature, and hello to Nathan Bright, a troubled farmer in the Outback that we know Harper can write oh so well. Yet whilst all three books are based in the Outback, each book is very different. This time round Harper illustrates just how isolating life in the middle of nowhere can be. The necessity of supplies, the air schooling, the flying doctor’s airstrip being the only well tended piece of road for miles. Hard enough to deal with without Nathan’s additional problem of being banned from town!

I loved how the book (and Nathan’s story) unfolded. How suspicion built and built around all the central characters and how you really weren’t sure of what was what until right up to the end. I loved the characters and felt a strong sense of anger on behalf of Nathan for the way he was treated. Nathan was hands down my favourite character and I wanted more than anything for him to be OK. He was not a hero, he was not perfect yet that was OK. His relationship with Xander was particularly well written and Xander ended up being my second favourite character. Behind Nathan of course.

I’m not really a book series kind of girl, there are not many authors I will actively seek out when they release a new book. I prefer to buy a book on merit rather than familiarity. But I will be watching for Harper’s next release, I will purchase it and I know I will read something original, well rooted to its setting and suspenseful. Just like The Lost Man. Keep breathing your fresh air into this genre Harper, it’s exhilarating.