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Ratings and Book Reviews ()

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  • Great mystery

    I inhaled this book today because I needed to know! The characters are engaging and the descriptions of place are so evocative of that part of the world. The structure is really clever and kept me guessing until the end. Apologies to all the characters I accused along the way!

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    29 person found this review helpful

    29 people found this review helpful

    29 of 29 people found this review helpful

  • Another great Australian regional mystery

    Having thoroughly enjoyed her earlier work, I have been looking forward to getting my hands on a copy of Jane Harper's latest book, The Survivors for quite some time. Readers have come to associate Harper with complex character-based mysteries set in strongly evocative and quintessentially Australian settings. In The Survivors, the action takes place in a (fictional) small coastal town in Tasmania. Kieran Elliott, his wife Mia and baby daughter Audrey have travelled to their home town, to assist his mother to pack up the family home prior to sale. Kieran's father is suffering from advancing dementia and this may be the last opportunity they have to spend time with old friends in Evelyn Bay, as it's not a place Kieran would otherwise choose to visit. He's haunted by events that occurred during a wild storm twelve years earlier, when his brother and another man were killed at sea and a local girl went missing. The morning after Kieran and Mia's arrival in town, an art student who'd been living and working in Evelyn Bay over summer is found dead, apparently forcibly drowned, at the town beach. Kieran, Mia, his parents and their friends are all drawn into the police investigation, having met the victim and spent time on or near the beach the previous evening. Could there be a connection between this recent violent death and the events of twelve years ago? The atmosphere in the normally friendly town becomes immediately charged, with suspicions, rumours and long-held resentments quickly rising to the surface. Readers of Harper's previous novels will notice a certain correlation of themes with her earlier work - this is the third of her four books to feature a central character who is (somewhat unfairly) treated as a pariah in a small community. Like both The Dry (2016) and The Lost Man (2018), The Survivors is also built upon the concept that past decisions, actions or traumatic events, left unresolved, can poison close relationships and send unanticipated reverberations years into the future - old sins cast long shadows. And, as in all her books, her characters come off second best when they pit their wits against the widely varying but universally unforgiving Australian climate. Harper also explores themes of parent-child relationships, grief, anger and guilt. As always, her characters are three-dimensional and their interrelationships complex and evolving. The narrative is well-paced, languid at first, reflecting the pace of the small-town coastal setting, then gathering pace as both the police and Kieran hone in on the truth. Harper skilfully uses red herrings and misdirection to leave the reader guessing, right up to the dramatic conclusion. The setting of the fictional Evelyn Bay is well-imagined by the author, and brought to my mind several settlements around Tasmania's coastline, including Sister's Beach, Boat Harbour, Adventure Bay and Eaglehawk Neck. I was interested to read that the author had spent some time in the latter area, researching cold-water diving for the book. The Survivors is another strong addition by Jane Harper to the wonderful Australian crime genre. Highly recommended. My thanks to Jane Harper, Pan Macmillan Australia and NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review this title in advance of its publication on 22 September 2020.

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    13 person found this review helpful

    13 people found this review helpful

    13 of 13 people found this review helpful

  • a brilliantly-plotted piece of Australian crime fi

    The Survivors is the fourth novel by award-winning Australian author, Jane Harper. When Keiran Elliott returns to his small Tasmanian hometown of Evelyn Bay to help his parents pack up their house, not everyone is pleased to see him. While everybody knows what happened during the big storm, twelve years earlier, not all regard him with sympathy; blame radiates from certain eyes. Mere hours after he and Mia and their baby arrive, though, a young woman is dead on the beach. The town is shocked at the loss of this sweet young woman: a temporary summer waitress and art student, she was well-liked. It soon becomes apparent that there are some parallels with the disappearance of a young girl during that fateful storm, with some of the same bystanders present in the town. The Evelyn Bay Online Community Hub is a hotbed of rumour and comment. Over the next few days, as police from Hobart arrive to investigate, Keiran is not the only one whose thoughts go back to that awful time when his own brother and his best friend’s brother lost their lives. As well as the stress of his wandering, dementia-affected father and his frazzled mother, Keiran is being coerced by a friend into something he’s not quite comfortable with. Harper easily evokes her setting: for anyone who has spent a summer in an Australian coastal town, this will feel familiar. The dialogue is exactly what one hears in such a place, and the characters are multi-faceted and believably flawed. Once again, Harper produces a brilliantly-plotted piece of Australian crime fiction, with red herrings and diversions that will keep the pages turning and the reader guessing right up to the final pages. This unbiased review is from an uncorrected proof copy provided by NetGalley and Macmillan Australia

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    0 person found this review helpful

    0 people found this review helpful

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

  • Absorbing

    A family story where one brother dies and the other has the guilty Thoughts that he was the cause plus a murder mystery. The

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    0 person found this review helpful

    0 people found this review helpful

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

  • The survivors

    Excellent storyline with believable Characters. Just love your books Jane

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    0 person found this review helpful

    0 people found this review helpful

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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