I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for The Lost Man¸ the latest novel from Jane Harper.
He had started to remove his clothes as logic had deserted him, and his skin was cracked. Whatever had been going through Cameron’s mind when he was alive, he didn’t look peaceful in death.
Two brothers meet at the remote border of their vast cattle properties under the unrelenting sun of the outback. In an isolated part of Australia, they are each other’s nearest neighbour, their homes hours apart.
They are at the stockman’s grave, a landmark so old that no one can remember who is buried there. But today, the scant shadow it casts was the last hope for their middle brother, Cameron. The Bright family’s quiet existence is thrown into grief and anguish.
Something had been troubling Cameron. Did he choose to walk to his death? Because if he didn’t, the isolation of the outback leaves few suspects…
I absolutely adore Harper’s Aaron Falk series which started with The Dry and continued in Force of Nature, but I was thrilled to learn that The Lost Man, her third novel, would be a standalone. It differs a little to her previous novels, in that this isn’t a police procedural, and while there is a police investigation (there is a dead man, after all) the story is not told from the perspective of an investigating officer who is at most a peripheral character. Instead, the novel is told from the perspective of Nathan Bright, Cameron’s eldest brother, who sets out to solve the mystery surrounding his brother’s death. There are many unanswered questions and the plot goes in unexpected directions as Nathan and the reader learn more about the events surrounding Cameron’s final moments, and it’s a mystery as intriguing as any detective novel I’ve come across.
It’s clear from the beginning that the three Bright brothers – Nathan, Cameron, and Bub – didn’t always see eye to eye. Their relationship goes a long way beyond sibling rivalry, and the reasons for this are revealed over the course of the novel as we get to know the Bright family in more detail – the good, the bad, and the downright ugly. As the novel is told from Nathan’s perspective, the reader quickly learns that he is essentially banned from town – ostracised and largely ignored by all but his immediate family for the last ten years. As a result, he spends a great deal of time alone, his ex-wife and son living in Brisbane, and even though he believes that he is fine, there are clearly cracks in the façade. I found Nathan’s character to be fascinating, and it was interesting to learn about his banishment, and whether this fate was deserved or not.
The mystery surrounding Cameron’s death is also incredibly intriguing. He’s grown up in the outback, and so is fully aware of the dangers of being caught out without supplies, and yet his body is found 9km from his car, with no water, food, or shade. There is no logical explanation, and while it becomes clear that Cameron maybe wasn’t as happy as is initially assumed, it’s a difficult way to go, and the question of whether he chose his fate or whether it was forced on him is one of the main questions to be resolved.
Life out here is hard. We all try to get through the best way we can.
This a harsh landscape to survive in, and Harper captures the difficulties brilliantly, bringing Australia to life as she has in her previous novels. It’s not a lifestyle for the faint of heart, not just for the isolation, but also the difficulties in ensuring that nothing runs out as well as the health implications of being exposed to the sun so much.
The Lost Man is another stunning read from Jane Harper. Excellently plotted and beautifully written, this is a story that pulls you in and doesn’t let go.
The Lost Man is published by Little, Brown and is available in digital and hardback formats. Many thanks to the publisher and to Caolinn Douglas for the early copy and the opportunity to take part in the blog tour.
Make sure you check out these other fab bloggers taking part in the blog tour today!