Today I’m absolutely delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for Jane Harper’s latest novel, Force of Nature. I absolutely loved The Dry (you can see my review here), and so I was thrilled to receive a copy of Harper’s follow up, which brings Federal Police Agent Aaron Falk back into our lives.
Is Alice here? Did she make it? Is she safe?
In the chaos, in the night, it was impossible to say which of the four had asked after Alice’s welfare.
Later, when everything got worse, each would insist it had been them.
Five women on a team building exercise head out into the Giralang Ranges with camping equipment and essentials for surviving in the wilderness for three days. Phones are left behind, not that they’d be much use in this remote area.
Three days later, only four women make it to the final checkpoint, arriving several hours late. No one knows where Alice Russell is, or how or why she disappeared. And survival in the wilderness with limited supplies and experience won’t be easy…
The Dry was always going to be a tough act to follow, but I think that Harper has succeeded in Force of Nature. I was swept away by this novel, eager to know what had happened to Alice, although I couldn’t really bring myself to care about her character – it was the mystery I wanted to solve.
Force of Nature alternates between the investigation in the days immediately after Alice goes missing, and what happened during the three days the women were out in the wild. Whilst exercises such as this are meant to build trust and to encourage team work and cooperation if not friendship, it’s clear from the beginning that these five women are never going to get along. Alice in particular is painted in a poor light – aggressive and cruel, she’d be a nightmare to get on with in any situation. Whilst I didn’t care for her personally, I did want to find out what happened, however, and I enjoyed the gradual reveal of what had taken place during their time in the great outdoors.
So where does Aaron Falk fit in? As a member of the financial crime unit, missing persons aren’t part of Falk’s jurisdiction, but Alice Russell was helping Falk and his partner, Carmen, in their latest investigation into BaileyTennants – the company that the five women work for. This raises questions as to whether Alice’s disappearance was a result of misadventure or foul play, and I love the way in which both options were kept open and entirely plausible, keeping the reader on their toes until the denouement, which did come as a surprise to me. I loved how the novel ended though – all the clues were there, but so subtly delivered that I missed them along the way.
Force of Nature follows on from The Dry, but can easily be read as a standalone, as the references to the previous novel are kept to a minimum. I would absolutely recommend reading both, however, as I’ve thoroughly enjoyed them, and I’m hoping that this isn’t the last we’ve seen of Aaron Falk.
Force of Nature is available to purchase in hardback and eBook. Many thanks to Grace Vincent and Little, Brown Book Group for my review copy, and to Kimberley Nyamhondera for the invitation to take part in the blog tour.
Rating: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Make sure you check out the other fantastic stops on the blog tour today: