Last year, when the #cjsreads trio was formed, our first novel was The Dry by Jane Harper which was an atmospheric thriller starring Federal Police Agent, Aaron Falk. Pretty much as soon as we finished reading, we unanimously decided we needed more of this series and our dreams came true with Harper’s sophomore novel, Force of Nature.
This novel follows Aaron Falk and his partner, Carmen, as they investigate a missing informant from their latest investigation into some corporate money laundering. A group of five ladies went into the woods, four came out and the only one missing is the whistleblower set to testify against her employer and colleagues. There is no doubt that betrayal and deceit were present in this work place but could it have led to murder?
From the first pages, when the women emerge from the wilderness missing a member of their crew, it had a The River At Night by Erika Ferencik vibe and I was all about this. I am not a nature girl myself so anything that has to do with people fighting through the elements and battling mother nature totally creeps me out. Adding the extra layer of personal relationships and the struggle of who to trust was icing on the cake for me. I think one of my favourite features of a Harper novel is the atmosphere. She does such a fantastic job at creating the setting as an entire character and throughout my read, ng I couldn’t help but feel fascinated by how INVESTED I was in the descriptions of the bushlands. There is no doubt that Harper’s prose excels in this landscape.
Told in back and forth between the women in the bush, fighting for their lives and trying to survive, and Aaron Falk with Carmen, investigating in the present was entertaining even though I didn’t find there too be very many twists and turns. It was a very straightforward story: this is who went missing and this is why it happened. Very blunt. No time wasted.
Overall, did I enjoy this novel? Absolutely! Will I read more in this series? Absolutely! Did I LOVE it as much as The Dry? No, but it was still a fantastic read!