Goodreads: Force of Nature (Aaron Falk #2)
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Publication Date: 06 February 2018
Genre: Mystery Thriller
FIVE WOMEN GO ON A HIKE.
ONLY FOUR RETURN.
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 nuddy path. After all, this retreat is supposed to take the office workers out of their air-conditioned comfort zone. It’s supposed to be abonding experience. It’s supposed to be a bonding experience. It’s supposed to build trust.
But it doesn’t work out that way.
One of the women doesn’t come out of the woods. And each of her companions tellsa slightly different story about what happened.
Federal Agent Aaron Falk has a keen interest in the whereabouts of the missing hiker. Alice Russell is the whistleblower in his latest case–and in just a matter of weeks, she was supposed to help him bring down both the company she works for and the people she works with.
In an investigation that takes him deep into isolated bushland, Falk discovers secrets lurking in the mountains and a tangled web of personal friendship, suspicion, and betrayal among the hikers. But did that lead to murder?
TL;DR: This was a very enjoyable thriller that I felt completely immersed in thanks to Harper’s ability to bring the setting so vividly to life. Harper pulls you in with her writing and weaves a story that will leave you itching to know more before you can put it down! It’s safe to say that I am a big Jane Harper fan and if she wasn’t already before, she would definitely be an auto-buy author for me now.
I read this book in less than a full day, which was much faster than I thought I would but once I started it, I didn’t want to put it down! I’ve now read all of Harper’s works and although I enjoyed the other mysteries more, Force of Nature is proof that Harper knows how to weave a compelling and unputdownable who-dun-it thriller that keeps you on your toes, with writing that sucks you in and sweeps you away for the full ride.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again now, Harper’s writing is wholly atmospheric. I felt the chill envelop me while a cold clammy sweat drips down my back as I followed these women into the dense brush. The trees, the creatures, the wind, and shadows, came vividly to life as the story unfolds. Harper’s writing makes the natural environment feel menacing and with the sinister past of the location also thrown into the mix, there’s a pervading sense of eeriness that surrounds the writing. Her ability to make a setting come to life is one of my favourite things about Harper’s writing and she does a fantastic job of it again in this book.
The story is told through alternating perspectives and timelines, and so we get to see through the lens of all of the women leading up to the present, as well as the perspective of lead detective Aaron Falk as he and his partner, Carmen Cooper, unravel what happened. The overall pace moved at a decent rate but there were parts that felt repetitive and I felt it slowed the story down. I loved Falk’s character just as much in this book and I’m glad we get to learn even more about his personal story as it made it that much easier to care for him. There were hints at romance between him and his partner that I wasn’t sure I was feeling but I’d be very curious to read more about him (and Cooper too) if Harper decides to bless us with more!
I’m not good at figuring out “whodunit” most of the time and the various perspectives made that more challenging as all the characters seemed very suspect! I didn’t feel much for them and although there were moments of empathy it wasn’t enough to rule any of them out. That said, I have to admit that the reveal was a bit anticlimactic for me. I did eventually catch on to who the killer was towards the end, and once I did the reasons for why almost immediately fell into place; and although the shock factor was there, it was also a little underwhelming. I expected a bit more of a punch after the build up!
Have you read Force of Nature or is it on your TBR?