Book of the Day


20180206CoverForceofNatureJaneHarper 1

By Jane Harper

Flat Iron Books
ISBN 978-1250105639
Publication Date:  February 6, 2017

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We spend 8 hours a day with our co-workers. In some cases, that’s more time than we spend with our families, at least while we are awake. We think we know a lot about them… but do we? Would you trust them with your life?

Force of Nature by Jane Harper is her latest psychological thriller featuring Federal Agent Aaron Falk, a tough but likable character. He and his partner, Agent Carmen Cooper are in the final stages of a money-laundering investigation. All they need are the documents from their informant, Alice Russell, an executive at the firm of BaileyTennets. But Alice is missing. She left a mysterious voicemail on his mobile at 4 am the morning of her disappearance. It was mostly static, but at the very end, barely audible are the words “hurt her”.

The employees of BaileyTennets are on an executive retreat in the Australian bush. The ten employees are split into two groups; the men’s group is comprised of five men and is led by the head of the firm, Daniel Bailey. The women’s group is led by his sister, Jill and included Alice Russell, Lauren Shaw, and twin sister, Bree and Beth McKenzie. They have three days to make their way through the mountains (unguided) to a rendezvous point on the other side. With only a map, compass and basic camping supplies and no way of contacting the outside world, the most inexperienced teams set out. Three days later, cold, tired, and hungry, the men make it to the rendezvous. But, the women are late. As the day goes on their irritation becomes worry and the retreat guide finally calls in the search crews. After nightfall, when the crews are packing it in for the day, Jill, Lauren, Beth, and Bree stumble out of the woods. They are injured, dehydrated, exhausted and Bree has a nasty snake bite. The women thought for sure Alice would have made it out first. She broke off from the group after the second night. Falk and Carmen are desperate to help find Alice and it is critical that they find her alive.

Jane Harper has created a very intense psychological thriller. But there is more to the story than just the mystery of the missing woman. The relationships between the women, their histories, and hang-ups, their children–it all plays a part in their survival both in the woods and in the office. And to add just a bit more tension, there is the shadow of a decades-old serial killer that might play a part… It is a great read, with plenty of twists and turns and an ending that is unexpected-but satisfying. Told in alternating points of view from the women as the events unfolded and from Falk and Carmen’s side trying to piece the bits together. This is the second book in the Agent Falk series, but it read well as a stand-alone. I have already started to read the first book, The Dry. I just love the characters and the setting. I sincerely hope there will be more from Ms. Harper.


Many thanks to Amelia Possanza and Flat Iron Books for providing Killer Nashville with the advance review copy.