Force of Nature

Force of Nature

Book - 2018
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Goodreads Choice Award Finalist (Mystery & Thriller, 2018)
BookBrowse Best Books of 2018
Winner of the Prix Polar Award for Best International Novel
BookRiot's 25 Best Suspense Books from 2018
Davitt Awards shortlist for Adult Crime Novel 2018
Dead Good Reads shortlist for Best Small Town Mystery 2018

Five women go on a hike. Only four return. Jane Harper, the New York Times bestselling author of The Dry, asks: How well do you really know the people you work with?

When five colleagues are forced to go on a corporate retreat in the wilderness, they reluctantly pick up their backpacks and start walking down the muddy path.

But one of the women doesn't come out of the woods. And each of her companions tells a slightly different story about what happened.

Federal Police Agent Aaron Falk has a keen interest in the whereabouts of the missing hiker. In an investigation that takes him deep into isolated forest, Falk discovers secrets lurking in the mountains, and a tangled web of personal and professional friendship, suspicion, and betrayal among the hikers. But did that lead to murder?

" Force of Nature bristles with wit; it crackles with suspense; it radiates atmosphere. An astonishing book from an astonishing writer."
--A.J. Finn, author of The Woman in the Window

Select praise for The Dry :
"One of the most stunning debuts I've ever read. Every word is near perfect. Read it!"
--David Baldacci, #1 New York Times bestselling author

"A breathless page-turner ... Ms. Harper has made her own major mark."
--The New York Times

Publisher: New York : Flatiron Books, 2018.
Edition: First U.S. edition.
Copyright Date: ©2017
ISBN: 9781250105639
1250105633
Branch Call Number: HARPER J
Characteristics: 326 pages ; 25 cm

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f
finn75
Mar 06, 2021

A suspenseful read that I couldn't put down. You can feel the hysteria rising as five women get lost in the Australian bush during a team building exercise. When they are finally found with one of their number missing secrets and long held betrayals emerge. Look forward to reading more by this author.

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gloryb
Jan 04, 2021

A company retreat in an Australian mountainous wilderness takes a turn for the worst when only 4 of the 5 women meet up with the rest of members. Told in alternating chapters between the rangers/sheriffs and the women, the story describes what happened on the trail and how the rangers tried to track the missing woman. Expect to read about the trials and joys of camping out and about petty outbreaks among the women about who should have the flashlight, the mobile phone, the compass, or the final say on the route to get back to the meeting point. None of the women turn out to be sympathetic characters. The story has a slow line of rising tension after the women become stranded knowing there won't be any outside help and that they must find their own way out of the wilderness. Only towards the very end, are there clues about the complicated relationships among the women and their many misunderstandings. Midway, I just wanted the story to end so I could understand what had happened on that weekend outing. The attraction of this mystery novel probably is its setting.

w
wcbind421
Dec 28, 2020

Jane Harper's second book is also a Federal agent Aaron Falk investigation, this time teamed with partner Carmen Cooper. They are part of a large search team on the trail of a woman missing in the bushland who has been their informant in a secret investigation. The woman disappeared during a weekend-long corporate team-building exercise with four other women. Will the missing woman be found alive? Did she meet with an accident or foul play? The book's chapters alternate between what Falk and Cooper discover about the missing woman's disappearance, including a motive any of her 4 companions might have to do her in, and the outing in flashback as it unfolded, revealing a labyrinth of relationships, tensions, and grievances, old and new. It's not until the final pages that we learn what happened and why.

Harper writes well; the narrative is clear and builds suspense. The characters are well-drawn and believable. The threat of the bushland in which the five women lose their way is palpable. However, I didn't find these characters particularly interesting or appealing. So the book was not nearly as compelling as her maiden effort "The Dry"

r
RubyHocker
Nov 26, 2020

I loved The Dry and The Lost Man and I was hoping for something on that level of character development, description of setting and pacing. FoN just isn't as good in those respects. The characters are more like shells and I found myself not really rooting for anyone. Aaron Falk is also written weaker in this one and Carmen the new partner is very flat, I actually didn't think she needed to be in the story at all. There are actually a few side stories and characters that aren't really necessary but and never pull you into suspicion and that added to the watered down feeling for me.

That said, I whipped through it in 3 days so it was worth a read if you are cool with fluff characters.

c
CabiriCat
Aug 28, 2020

I really enjoyed this second book in the series....not realizing at all after I read 'The Dry' that it was becoming a series. The first book was so well done I thought it was a stand alone.

That said, I actually like this book slightly better only because it was less gruesome. The plot works for me...four women go hiking and only one comes back...and I like mysteries that reveal themselves through different viewpoints. And Jane Harper is not a light weight writer in my opinion. Her characters are developed and it adds to the psychology of the plot. The detective was clearly essential to the main plot in book One, but here he played the more traditional detective role.

m
maipenrai
Jun 22, 2020

Perhaps if I had read "The Dry" first, I might have been more involved with the main characters. As a person who reads more than 150 "mysteries / thrillers" a year, I am difficult to impress. For me this book was simply just OK. Kristi & Abby Tabby

Cas22 Dec 07, 2019

This was an OK book. Not as good as The Dry. Again, it was a murder/mystery, but this time involving a group of female colleagues who were sent on a corporate retreat that involved walking for several days in the rugged Giralong Ranges. They get hopelessly lost, underlying tensions escalate, and then one of them goes missing. The firm they work for is also under secret investigation for money laundering and the missing woman is helping the police by providing incriminating documents. All good stuff, I guess, for a mystery novel but, in truth, the female characters, their issues and their interactions were not particularly authentic. Everything was a bit cliched and superficial and, at times, the storyline strained credibility. The author is obviously not a bush walker! The best moments in the book were the conversations between the male and female detectives who were investigating the money laundering. It’s a pity some of this clever, perceptive dialogue couldn’t have been applied to the women.

t
talf
Nov 19, 2019

I can't remember if I finished this or not.

e
EljayJohnson
Jul 07, 2019

Excellent! I liked it even better than The Dry, which I liked a lot. Very happy to have found a new mystery series.

e
EmilyEm
Apr 13, 2019

Aaron Falk has a new partner Carmen and travels to a remote Australian national park when whistleblower Alice Russell, who’s been helping them, goes missing on a company team-building retreat.

The park’s remoteness and dense vegetation, along with the rainy weather, make for an atmospheric setting. [It was disappointing to learn the park was fictional!] If I had to sum this up in a sentence, I’d say one doesn’t know what they’d do for their family. All the characters carried years-old interpersonal baggage with serious trust issues. Interesting reading. A little contrived.

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