The Lost Man by Jane Harper

First lines 2. Publisher: Pan Macmillan 3. Desert grave By Nels P Olse Licence [CC BY-SA 2.0] via flickr 4. Red desert landscape By Desertrose7 via Pixabay
I liked this book.
Family secrets as big as the great Australian outback.

Nathan Bright, a station-owner in outback Queensland, is called to the site of his brother Cameron’s death. He had died near an old gravestone in a remote spot away from his car and supplies. Why would Cameron walk away from his car? … unless he did it deliberately, and no one is quite convinced that he would have done that.

“From above, from a distance, the marks in the dust formed a tight circle. The circle was far from perfect, with a distorted edge that grew thick, then thin and broke completely in places. It also wasn’t empty.”

“The headstone threw a small shadow. It was the only shade in sight and its blackness was slippery, swelling and shrinking as it ticked around like a sundial. The man had crawled, then dragged himself as it moved. He had squeezed into that shade, contorting his body into desperate shapes, kicking and scuffing the ground a fear and thirst took hold. He had a brief respite as night fell, before the sun rose and the terrible rotation started again. It didn’t last long on the second day, as the sun moved higher in the sky. The man had tried though. He had chased the sun until he couldn’t any more.””

Quotes from the book.
  • Sydney Morning Herald: “Like the country it describes, this is a “big” book, and one likely to cement Harper’s place as one of the most interesting Australian crime writers to emerge in the past decade. Her sense of place is acute, but it is her attention to the relationships that are shaped by this unforgiving, magnificent landscape that will linger long after the mystery of stockman’s grave is finally revealed.”
  • Kirkus: “Harper’s masterful narrative places readers right in the middle of a desolate landscape that’s almost as alien as the moon’s surface, where the effects of long-term isolation are always a concern. The mystery of Cam’s death is at the dark heart of an unfolding family drama that will leave readers reeling, and the final reveal is a heartbreaker. A twisty slow burner by an author at the top of her game.”

Awards: 2019 Longlisted ABIA General Fiction Book of the Year; 2019 Shortlisted Indie Book Award for Fiction.

Author website: Jane Harper

Also published by Little, Brown

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