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Ratings and Book Reviews (3 38 star ratings
3 reviews

Overall rating

4.6 out of 5
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  • 4 person found this review helpful

    4 people found this review helpful

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    Great setting, mediocre plot

    When Cameron Bright is found dead in the Australian wilderness miles from his car, his brother Nathan is determined to find out what happened. But what secrets are lurking in the outback? I was really eager to read The Lost Man. It’s had a lot of pre-release excitement, 5 star reviews and even was a LibraryReads selection for Feb 2019. I was quite disappointed therefore, to have to give it a low star rating. I’ll start with the positives; the setting is a great choice. Deep in the cattle fields of rural Australia, Jane Harper is able to capture both the crippling isolation and also the claustrophobic air of being trapped with those around us with no escape. The writing style is a great accompaniment to this and the descriptions and feeling portrayed within the book made you feel like you are there with the characters. That said I found the book incredibly slow-paced and drawn out which ruined my enjoyment of it. Although the family dynamics are interesting and I wanted to find out what happened to Cameron the sheer amount of time it took to get to anything concrete was far too long. There’s so much backstory and flashback that actually you only really start to find out what was going on right at the end, making all of the rest of the story feel a little irrelevant. The reveal in the ending left me with unanswered questions – mainly as to how it took so long for the truth to come out and surely most characters already knew or could guess what had happened? This is actually my first Jane Harper book and it sounds like other books of hers are similar in style so perhaps if I had known what I was getting into to start with I could have enjoyed it a little more. Overall it’s a setting that will stay with you long after you put the book down – I just wish it had a plot to match. Thank you to NetGalley and Little Brown Book Group UK for a chance to read the ARC in exchange for an honest review.
  • 1 person found this review helpful

    1 people found this review helpful

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    Absolutely amazing

    In the vast Australian outback stands a lonely grave known locally as ‘The Stockman’s Grave’. It has stood alone for over 100 years, until now. Cameron Bright lies dead at the side of it, seemingly killed by the heat and from dehydration. His car is a few kilometers away hidden from plain sight and fully stocked with food and drink and a working engine and radio. His body is discovered by a helicopter pilot passing overhead and the police, local medic and his brothers have been called to the site. Bub and Nathan, plus Nathan’s son Xander arrive at the grave just ahead of the solo police officer and local medic. None can understand why Cameron would be at the grave and none can figure out why he would leave his working car full of water and food and wander off to his ultimate death. This is the third Jane Harper novel I have read and whilst the first two involved Federal Police Agent Aaron Falks, I was expecting this one to do too, but alas he does not feature in this book. This is more of a family saga surrounding the mystery of why a man brought up in the outback, who ran a cattle farm and who knew the dangers of being out during the day, especially without water, would walk to his own death. Told through the eyes of Cameron’s older brother Nathan the book moves back and forward in time as Nathan captures the present whilst having flashbacks to the past that would appear at random times but brought the family and their story to life. As the book progressed I started to get a sense of unease with certain people and wondered if they had a part to play in Cameron’s death but the truth about what actually happened to him wasn’t revealed until right near the end, by then I’d put two and two together about Cameron as a person, but not the actual events. This is a book looking at the family as a whole, from Cameron’s widowed mum Liz to a man they grew up with who they called Uncle Harry. There is also Cameron’s wife Ilse and their young two daughters, as well as two backpackers who have been paid to help out on the farm and of course Nathan and his son who is home from college for the Christmas period. The scenery and the brutality of living in such a vast open place were brought to life by Ms. Harper’s superb writing. She also managed to catch the essence of the family just right, especially with all their lies and secrets, yet a bond that ran deep. There were also a few revelations both past and present. This is a book that you will find yourselves getting involved in the characters lives. It is one that will teach you so much about the inhospitable Australian outback too. I can see this being a favourite with book clubs who will find plenty to analyse between the pages.
  • 1 person found this review helpful

    1 people found this review helpful

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    Exquisite Outback Noir - even better than The Dry

    There’s a taut elegance and quiet intensity to Harper’s prose as she surveys the pressures of Outback farming and the darkness that can hide within families and isolated communities. The Lost Man is a superb tale, brimming with subtext and subtlety. The Dry was a special book, but this one may be even better; Harper is a special writer.

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