I received a copy of this novel from NetGalley in return for an honest review.
This is a mystery novel set in Australia about a Federal Agent called Falk who returns to his hometown to attend his best friend's funeral.
This is a great novel, it is well written and constructed. Harper cleverly and skilfully creates an atmospheric, brooding and tense tone to the novel, which she manages to keep up the whole way through the novel, in fact the novel gets more close and claustrophobic as the story progresses.
There are numerous strands running through this novel; a life changing event that occurred in Falk's childhood, and the "suicide" of his best friend in the present day. Falk tries to figure out the answer to both these puzzles through the novel, we as the reader puzzle over it with him.
The novel features a selection of great characters. Falk is our main character, and the character whose internal thoughts we follow through the novel, however there are a whole host of supporting characters that are very well crafted.
I enjoyed reading a novel set in Australia, it's a setting I don't read about enough, but I was extremely impressed with how well written the small town that the novel is set in was. The closely knit town is one where everyone knows everyone and there are no secrets. This oppressive and intrusive atmosphere was so tangible through the novel, it was a really intense feeling, which I thought Harper created brilliantly.
This novel uses flashbacks to show us the life changing event from Falk's childhood, and it becomes another puzzle that we have to figure out. The flashbacks really create the sense of mystery though, we are drip fed the answer to the mystery, and I thought Harper did a great job of creating the suspense, and juggling the two narratives in two different times.
I have seen some reviews of this novel which have been a little disappointed with the lack of romance in this novel, but I thought it was refreshing to not have very much romance. I think a romantic subplot would have distracted massively from the mystery and the intensity of the novel and actually there aren't any characters in my mind that would make a good romantic partnership anyway!
My only slight criticism of the novel was that the plot was a little slow moving. For a mystery novel I would have preferred a little more pace but the plot was interesting even if it wasn't the fastest moving!
Overall I really enjoyed this novel, it had an interesting setting, a very suspensive and intense tone, and some great twists towards the end!!